Ginger is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale, consumed as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. It lends its name to its genus and family (Zingiberaceae).
Other notable members of this plant family are turmeric, cardamom, and galangal.
Ginger is native to India and China. It takes its name from the Sanskrit word stringa-vera, which means with a body like a horn, as in antlers.
Ginger cultivation began in South Asia and has since spread to East Africa and the Caribbean.
It is available in various forms, the most common of which are as follows:
Whole raw roots are generally referred to as fresh ginger.
Whole fresh roots provide the freshest taste.
The dried root is available whole or sliced.
Powdered ginger is the buff-coloured ground spice made from dried root Preserved or stem ginger is made from fresh young roots, peeled and sliced, then cooked in a heavy sugar syrup. The ginger pieces and syrup are canned together. They are soft and pulpy, but extremely hot and spicy.
Crystallized ginger is also cooked in sugar syrup, and then air dried and rolled in sugar.
Pickled ginger has the root sliced paper-thin and pickled in a vinegar solution.
Ginger is essential to Asian and oriental cookery. It is used in pickles, chutneys curry pastes and in many curry powders. Tender young ginger can be sliced and eaten as a salad. Powdered dry ginger root is typically used as flavouring for recipes such as gingerbread, cookies, crackers and cakes, ginger ale, and ginger beer.
Medicinal use :
The medical form of ginger historically was called Jamaica ginger; it was classified as a stimulant and carminative and used frequently for dyspepsia, gastro paresis, slow motility symptoms, constipation, and colic.
Ginger has been important in Chinese medicine for many centuries. In China, ginger is included in several traditional preparations. A drink made with sliced ginger cooked in water with brown sugar or a cola is used as a folk medicine for the common cold.
Fiery and pungent.
Other names :
East Indian Pepper.