Aromatic and expressive, ginger adds a special flavor to fried Asian dishes, as well as many fruit and vegetable dishes.
Ginger is the root of the ginger plant that grows underground and has a firm, striated texture. The inside of the root can be yellow, white or red, according to its variety. It is covered with a brown crust, which, depending on whether it is picked ripe or not, can be thick or thin.
The scientific name for ginger is Zingiber officinale and is believed to be derived from the Sanskrit name "singabera", meaning "horn-shaped" as per the appearance of the root.
Origin of ginger
Ginger comes from Southeast Asia, whose cuisine still commonly uses this spice. It is mentioned in the writings of the ancient Chinese, the Indians and the countries of the Middle East. After the Romans carried ginger from China more than 2 000 years ago, its popularity was centralized in the regions of the Mediterranean, in the Middle Ages it was known and revered in other parts of Europe too.
Today, the commercial producers of ginger include Jamaica, India, Indonesia and Australia.
Benefits of Ginger
- Relieves gastrointestinal pain. Ginger is able to reduce all the symptoms associated with travel sickness (eg sea), such as dizziness, nausea and killing cold sweats.
- Safe and effective relief from the feeling of nausea during pregnancy. It has been shown that ginger is very useful in reducing the symptoms of nausea during pregnancy, even in the most severe form, called hyperemesis gravidum - a condition that requires hospitalization.
- Has anti-inflammatory effects. Ginger contains very potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols, which explains why many people who suffer from osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, are relieved after eating ginger.
- Protects us from colorectal cancer. Gingerol, the main active components of ginger that is responsible for a distinct taste, being able to reduce the growth of colorectal cancer cells. This property of gingerol became clear after studies in mice.
- Ginger induces cell death in ovarian cancer cells. Laboratory studies have shown that gingerols - active phytonutrients in ginger, kill cancer cells by causing apoptosis (programmed death) and auto phagocytosis (assimilation).
Furthermore, the extract of ginger has anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor effects on cells.
- Improves the immune system. Ginger can not only warm you in the cold days, but it can also help us to induce a healing sweat, which is often helpful during colds and flus. German scientists have found that perspiration creates a kind of protection against certain microorganisms, including against E.coli, Stahhylococcus aureus (a common skin inflammation) and Candida albicans.
Selection and storage of ginger
- Whenever you possible, choose fresh ginger - not only because it has a more palpable flavor than dried, but also due to higher levels of gingerol contained therein.
- Fresh ginger should be stored in the refrigerator, in a paper towel. This will keep for about three weeks.
- Dried ginger is stored in a glass container with a lid in a cool, dark place. You can leave it in the refrigerator, where it will retain its flavor for up to one year.