Ginger is a flowering spice whose rhizomes serve as a spice. It is cultivated nationwide but mainly in tropical areas. The plant takes about 8-10 months to fully mature and be ripe for harvest.
Following it’s origination from Southeast Asia, ginger has been used for many purposes including medicinal purposes. The roots can be used fresh, dried or powdered.
Powdered ginger is gotten from drying and grinding ginger. This can be done by cutting ginger into small pieces, leaving it to dry under the sun or in a dehydrator. Once they are completely dry, you grind them in a blender or food processor till it becomes powder. It is usually pale yellow and with a pungent spicy smell. It is also called ground ginger.
An old Chinese proverb states that “Everything good is found in Ginger.” Ginger serves a lot of purposes from its culinary uses to its use in hair and skin care. Some of its uses are detailed below:
1. Ginger Ale:
Ginger ale is a carbonated soft drink flavored in ginger. Commercial ginger ale contains other ingredients such as carbonated water, syrup, lime, lemon while traditional ginger ale is made from yeast, sugar, ginger root, and water.
It was first invented in Ireland in 1851 and is now sold in shops, supermarkets, and restaurants. It is also made at home for personal consumption.
Ginger is a spice and its pungent taste is used to bring out the flavor in food. Finely grated ginger can be added to chicken, pork, beef, stew, or soups and it can also be used as food dressing.
The spice is often added towards the end of the meal to retain its pungent flavor. If you’re however trying to get a mild taste, it can be added in the beginning.
In cooking, ginger can be used sliced, minced, striped, or powdered. It is usually used with other spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg and rosemary. Although marked safe for consumption, ginger can cause heartburn and should be taken in moderation.
3. Ginger Beer:
Ginger beer is a sweetened, carbonated, beverage. Despite its name, ginger beer usually doesn’t contain any alcohol.
It was first made in England in the 1800s and originally had alcohol.
While both ginger beer and ginger ale are non-alcoholic drinks, the major difference between them is that ginger beer is brewed (fermented) whereas ginger ale usually isn’t.
This makes ginger beer have a stronger, and spicier taste than ginger ale.
You may have heard of the gingerbread man. It is a biscuit or cookie made from gingerbread. Gingerbread refers to a category of baked goods flavored with ginger and other spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg.
The foods include cakes, biscuits, cookies, and other desserts. Although fresh ginger can be used for gingerbread, powdered ginger is best for baking since it has no extra liquid. However, it doesn’t have the same bright flavor as fresh ginger.
Spices and herbs such as garlic are good sources of antioxidants and ginger is no exception. Antioxidants are substances which counteract the deterioration of food products.
Ginger serves as a useful food preservative and kills salmonella. Ginger serves as an alternative and healthier preservative in place of chemicals.
6. Ginger Oil:
Ginger oil is derived from the root of ginger. It is usually yellow in color with the pungent ginger aroma.
Although industrially made and sold in supermarkets and pharmacies, ginger oil can also be made at home using ginger roots and olive oil.
The oil is used for hair and skin care and can also be added to massage oils. It is nicknamed “The oil of Empowerment” because it is an aromatherapy which eludes feelings of confidence.
7. Ginger Bath:
Ginger works as a detoxifying agent. It can be done at home or in spas and beauty care centers. It is usually done by adding freshly grated ginger or ginger powder to hot or warm water and allowing it to soak for 20 minutes.
The baths are usually hot and will leave you sweating after. Sweating is one of the most important ways the body eliminates waste. Ginger baths are considered an effective and less expensive stand-in to infrared sauna experience.
However, some people might have an allergic reaction to ginger and it could cause itching. Ginger baths are not recommended for children.
8. Ginger Tea:
Ginger tea is an herbal beverage made from ginger root. It’s history as a herbal medicine can be traced to Asia. It is made by boiling ginger roots and extracting the liquid from it.
It can be drunk on its own or served with orange or lemon slices. It is usually taken early in the morning, before bed, or during cold weather. However, excessive consumption of ginger tea may also lead to heartburn due to its spicy nature.
9. Fresh breath:
Yes, one of the surprising uses of ginger is that it can be used to maintain fresh breath. The pungent compound in it stimulates an enzyme which breaks down foul smells.
Studies have shown that adding ginger to curries and stews or taking ginger tea can help fight bad breath. This however doesn’t mean that ginger should be taken in excess to combat bad breath.
Ginger can be used for investments. You can start up small-scale or large-scale ginger farm and yield profit. The good thing about ginger plants it that they only grow to about 1-3 inches tall so it can be planted inside.
Ginger cultivation major condiment in the kitchen, the demand for ginger is high and thus profitable.