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Ginger

ginger

The characteristic fragrance and flavour of ginger result from volatile oils that compose 1-3% of the weight of fresh ginger, primarily consisting of zingerone, shogaols and gingerols with [6]-gingerol (1-[4′-hydroxy-3′-methoxyphenyl]-5-hydroxy-3-decanone) as the major pungent compound

  1. The history of Ginger goes back over 5000 years when the Indians and ancient Chinese considered it a tonic root for all ailments
  2. While ginger originated in Southeast Asia, it has a long history of being cultivated in other countries. At an early date it was exported to Ancient Rome from India
  3. In the 16th century, the Spanish took the spice to West Indies and S. American states, where they had colonies and authorities in a bid to diminish the distance of voyage from China back to Europe
  4. While it was used extensively by the Romans, it almost disappeared from the pantry when the Roman Empire fell
  5. After the end of the Roman Empire, the Arabs took control of the spice trade from the east. Ginger became quite costly like many other spices. In the Middle Ages, a price of a half a kilogram of ginger was the same as of one sheep
  6. It also became a popular spice in the Caribbean where it could be easily grown. In the 15th century, ginger plants were carried on ships which is probably how they were introduced to the Caribbean as well as Africa
  7. Widespread use in foods did not occur until roughly 200 years later when ginger was used in cooking meats and in ginger pastes
  8. It is said the Queen Elizabeth I of England invented the gingerbread man, which became a popular Christmas treat

Scientific Name: Zingiber officinale

Other Names: Adrak (India), Jengibre (Spain), Gingembre (France), Ingwer (German), Gengibre (Portugese)

Ginger Facts

  1. Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a flowering plant whose rhizome, ginger root or simply ginger, is widely used as a spice or a folk medicine
  2. Ginger is in the family Zingiberaceae, to which also belong turmeric (Curcuma longa), cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), and galangal
  3. The plant is indigenous to southern China, from whence it is spread to the Spice Islands and other parts of Asia, and subsequently to West Africa and to the Caribbean. India is now the main producer and exporter

Health benefits:

  1. Ginger is known to have many medicinal and therapeutic qualities including reducing inflammation in arthritic joints, lowers cholesterol, blood thinner, eases stomach cramping, diarrhoea and sea sickness
  2. Ginger Tea, when drunk regularly, aids a healthy alimentary canal and digestive system whilst the fresh root is jam-packed with beneficial anti-oxidants
  3. Research also suggests that Gingerols, the main active components in ginger may also inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer cells. Ginger has shown anti-tumor effects on ovarian cancer cells
  4. Recently, studies have suggested it is of value as an anti-emetic

Common uses in Indian cuisine:

  1. In Indian cuisine, ginger is a key ingredient, especially in thicker gravies, as well as in many other dishes, both vegetarian and meat-based
  2. It is an ingredient in traditional Indian drinks, both cold and hot, including spiced masala chai
    Fresh ginger is one of the main spices used for making pulse and lentil curries and other vegetable preparations
  3. In south India, “sambharam” is a summer yogurt drink made with ginger as a key ingredient, along with green chillies, salt and curry leaves
  4. Ginger is also consumed in candied and pickled form
  5. Finely chopped or ground ginger is the main ingredient of a paste that is mixed with onions and garlic and added to chicken dishes in Bangladesh


Sources

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