The second spice that I’d like to talk to you about in my spice series is ginger. And, no, I don’t mean this Ginger Spice. I’m referring to the super spice that adds a bit of zing to sauces and teas and is infamous in Asian cooking.
(Side note: Now I have that song, “Spice Up Your Life” stuck in my head. God, I miss the ’90s!).
Let’s jump in, shall we?
Ginger is a root that was originally cultivated in South Asia and has spread to East Africa and the Carribean. It’s available year round at your local market or grocery store.
- Gastrointestinal relief. Prevents symptoms of motion sickness and seasickness. It also reduces other symptoms including nausea, dizziness, vomiting and cold sweats. It’s even safe to consume while you’re pregnant to aid with morning sickness.
- Anti-inflammatory. It contains very potent anit-inflammatory compounds called gingerols. Studies have shown that it reduces pain for those suffering from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. If you are suffering from Candida, like I was, ginger has a soothing effect on any inflammation that the candida growth may have on your intestinal tract.
- Protection against colorectal cancer.
- Induces cell death in ovarian cancer cells. The extracts in the ginger have been shown to have anti-tumour effects on cancer cells
- Immune booster. This spice promotes healthy sweating which is very useful when you’re trying to fight off a nasty cold or flu. Usually, it’s used in ginger teas or hot drinks.
Fresh or dried?
Personally, I choose fresh whenever possible. Not only does it pack in more flavour but it contains higher levels of gingerol (that amazing element of ginger that gives us so many of those great benefits that I was telling you about). With that said, dried is useful if you’re making sauces or baking as it easily dissolves in the liquid.
I’ll admit it, ginger isn’t the most attractive thing you’ll see in the grocery store, but don’t be put off by its nubbiness (if that’s even a word). Before you throw
one in your basket, make sure that it’s firm, smooth and free of mold.
Ginger is often used in teas or hot drinks, especially if you aren’t feeling well. If I’m suffering from the flu or I’ve eaten something that isn’t quite agreeing with me, I’ll cut off a quarter inch of ginger, peel it, chop it into smaller pieces and either throw it my green tea or make a hot honey, lemon and ginger drink. It usually does the trick!
Tell us, what’s your favourite way to cook with ginger?
*** Stay tuned for my Asian inspired recipe using this zesty spice!