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"Your Holiday Directory"
  The Spice Ginger (root ginger)!
Are you celebrating one of the National Holiday?  This page will help make all your celebrations a delicious experience; by learning the facts about spices!

What is Ginger? Ginger is a Spice!
"Ginger is a spice which is used for cooking and is also consumed whole as a delicacy or medicine. It is the underground stem of the ginger plant, Zingiber officinale."

"The ginger plant has a long history of cultivation, having originated in Asia and is grown in India, Southeast Asia, West Africa and the Caribbean. Its actual name is Root Ginger. However, it is commonly referred to as ginger, as the meaning is well known."

Chemistry
"The characteristic odor and flavor of ginger root is caused by a mixture of zingerone, shogaols and gingerols, volatile oils that compose about one to three percent of the weight of fresh ginger. In laboratory animals, the gingerols increase the motility of the gastrointestinal tract and have analgesic, sedative, antipyretic and antibacterial properties."

"Ginger contains up to three percent of a fragrant essential oil whose main constituents are sesquiterpenoids, with (-)-zingiberene as the main component. Smaller amounts of other sesquiterpenoids (β-sesquiphellandrene, bisabolene and farnesene) and a small monoterpenoid fraction (β-phelladrene, cineol, and citral) have also been identified."

"The pungent taste of ginger is due to nonvolatile phenylpropanoid-derived compounds, particularly gingerols and shogaols, which form from gingerols when ginger is dried or cooked. Zingerone is also produced from gingerols during this process; this compound is less pungent and has a spicy-sweet aroma. Ginger is also a minor chemical irritant, and because of this was used as a horse suppository by pre-World War I mounted regiments for feaguing."

"Ginger has a sialagogue action, stimulating the production of saliva, which makes swallowing easier."
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Culinary Usage
"Young ginger rhizomes are juicy and fleshy with a very mild taste. They are often pickled in vinegar or sherry as a snack or just cooked as an ingredient in many dishes. They can also be stewed in boiling water to make ginger tea, to which honey is often added as a sweetener; sliced orange or lemon fruit may also be added. Mature ginger roots are fibrous and nearly dry. The juice from old ginger roots is extremely potent and is often used as a spice in Indian recipes and Chinese cuisine to flavor dishes such as seafood or mutton and vegetarian recipes. Powdered dry ginger root (ginger powder) is typically used to spice gingerbread and other recipes. Fresh ginger can be substituted for ground ginger at a ratio of 6 parts fresh for 1 part ground, although the flavors of fresh and dried ginger are not exactly interchangeable."

"Ginger is also made into candy, is used as a flavoring for cookies, crackers and cake, and is the main flavor in ginger ale—a sweet, carbonated, non-alcoholic beverage, as well as the similar, but spicier ginger beer which is popular in the Caribbean."

"Fresh ginger should be peeled before eaten. For storage, the ginger should be wrapped tightly in a towel and placed in a plastic bag, and can be kept for about three weeks in a refrigerator and up to three months in a freezer."
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Regional uses
"In India, ginger is called "Adrak", in Gujarati, "Shunti" in the Kannada language of Karnataka, Allam (అల్లం) in Telugu, Inji in Tamil (இஞ்சி) and (enchi)Malayalam, Alay in Marathi, "Aduwa" in Nepali. Fresh ginger is one of the main spices used for making pulse and lentil curries and other vegetable preparations. It is used fresh to spice tea especially in winter. Ginger powder is also used in certain food preparations particularly for expecting women and feeding mothers, the most popular one being Katlu which is a mixture of gum resin, ghee, nuts, and sugar."

"In South India, ginger is used in the production of a candy called Inji-murappa ("ginger candy" from Tamil). This candy is mostly sold by vendors to bus passengers in bus stops and in small tea shops as a locally produced item. Candied or crystallized ginger (ginger cured with sugar) is also common. Additionally, in Tamil Nadu, especially in the Tanjore belt, a variety of ginger which is less spicy is used when tender to make fresh pickle with the combination of lemon juice or vinegar, salt, and tender green chili peppers. This kind of pickle was generally made before the invention of refrigeration and stored for a maximum of 4-5 days. The pickle gains a mature flavor when the juices cook the ginger over the first 24 hours. Ginger is also added as a flavoring in tea. Dried ginger ("sukku" சுக்கு) is used in tea or coffee and also in siddha medicine."

"In Bangladesh, ginger is called Aadha and is finely chopped or ground into a paste to use as a base for chicken and meat dishes alongside onion and garlic."

"In Burma, ginger is called "gyin". It is widely used in cooking and as a main ingredient in traditional medicines. It is also consumed as a salad dish called gyin-thot, which consists of shredded ginger preserved in oil, and a variety of nuts and seeds."

"In Indonesia a beverage called Wedang Jahe is made from ginger and palm sugar. Indonesians also use ground ginger root, called jahe or djahe, as a frequent ingredient in local recipes."

"In Southeast Asia, the flower of the Torch Ginger (Etlingera eliator) is used in cooking. The unopened flower is known in the Malay language as Bunga Kantan, and is used in salads and also as garnish for sour-savory soups, like Assam Laksa."

"In China, sliced or whole ginger root is often paired with savory dishes such as fish. However, candied ginger is sometimes a component of Chinese candy boxes, and a herbal tea can also be prepared from ginger."

"In Japan, ginger is pickled to make beni shoga and gari or grated and used raw on tofu or noodles. It is also made into a candy called shoga no satozuke."

"In the traditional Korean kimchi, ginger is finely minced and added to the ingredients of the spicy paste just before the fermenting process."

"In Western cuisine, ginger is traditionally used mainly in sweet foods such as ginger ale, gingerbread, ginger snaps, ginger cake (Parkin Cake) and ginger biscuits. A ginger-flavored liqueur called Canton is produced in Jarnac, France. Green ginger wine is a ginger flavored wine produced in the United Kingdom, traditionally sold in a green glass bottle. Ginger is also used as a spice added to hot coffee and tea."

"In the Caribbean, ginger is a popular spice for cooking, and making drinks such as sorrel, a seasonal drink made during the Christmas season. Jamaicans make ginger beer both as a carbonated beverage and also fresh in their homes. Ginger tea is often made from fresh ginger as well."

"In the island of Corfu, Greece, they produce a traditional drink called τσιτσιμπύρα (tsitsimpira), a type of ginger beer. The people of Corfu and the rest of the Ionian islands picked up the drink from the British, during their occupation of the islands."

"In Arabic, ginger is called zanjabil and in some parts of the Middle East ginger powder is used as a spice for coffee."

"In the Ivory Coast, ginger is ground and mixed with orange, pineapple and lemon to produce a juice called Nyamanku."
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Medicinal uses
"The medical form of ginger historically was called "Jamaica ginger"; it was classified as a stimulant and carminative, and used frequently for dyspepsia and colic. It was also frequently employed to disguise the taste of medicines. Ginger is on the FDA's 'generally recognized as safe' list, though it does interact with some medications, including warfarin.
See Healing with Ginger for more information:
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Horticulture
"Ginger produces clusters of white and pink flower buds that bloom into yellow flowers. Because of its aesthetic appeal and the adaptivity of the plant to warm climates, ginger is often used as landscaping around subtropical homes. It is a perennial reed-like plant with annual leafy stems, three to four feet high."

"Traditionally, the root is gathered when the stalk withers; it is immediately scalded, or washed and scraped, in order to kill it and prevent sprouting. Scalding, applied generally to the older and poorer roots, produces Black Ginger; washing and scraping gives White Ginger. The natural color of the "white" scraped ginger is a pale buff; it is often whitened by bleaching or liming, but this generally reduces its value."

See also:
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Resources:
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses some material from Wikipedia/article ginger/ and other related pages. Top photo: homestead stock
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Culinary Use of Ginger
"Young ginger rhizomes are juicy and fleshy with a very mild taste. They are often pickled in vinegar or sherry as a snack or just cooked as an ingredient in many dishes. They can also be stewed in boiling water to make ginger tea, to which honey is often added as a sweetener; sliced orange or lemon fruit may also be added."
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