An Introduction To Spice Ginger, Scientific Name - Zingiber officinale - Ginger comes from a similar family as of turmeric and cardamom; having called Zingiber officinale in scientific terms. Ginger is the roots of ginger plants that looks like horns; that's why the name ‘Ginger' which is derived from the Sanskrit name ‘singabera’ which means ‘horn body.'
Ginger is used as a food ingredient, spice as well as medicine since ancient times.
The Detailed Morphology Of Ginger Plant
Ginger is a perennial plant grown in the tropical and semi-tropical regions. The ginger plant grows about a meter tall with a thin green stem. The ginger plant has thin blade-like leaves of length about 12 to 15 cm and has the rough texture.
The plant grows from the ginger rhizome which we consider as ginger. Pale yellow-colored flowers bloom on separate shoots. The ginger rhizomes are harvested as soon as the plant withered. The rhizomes are scaled (killing with hot liquid or steam), washed and scraped to stop them sprouting.
The Details About Taste & Smell Of Ginger
Ginger has a pungent and minty taste; sometimes it tastes hot if added more than proportion. A tiny portion of ginger tastes sweet and peppery. Ginger smells warm and peppery when fresh and turns spicy when dried.
Ginger is used as the spice in cooking curries, as the taste enhancer in sweets and sometimes as medicine.
Ginger Use And Cooking Techniques In Various Cuisines
# Hot Beverages: Ginger is added to hot beverages like milk tea, spice tea, green tea, and black tea for its essence, taste, and warmness as well as its medicinal properties.
# Preserved As Pickles: Ginger is sliced into thin chips and is pickled in vinegar which turns pinkish. This ginger pickle is loved for its warmness and taste in Japan served with Sushi.
# Mulled Wine: Ginger is fermented with some sugar and lime juice in water for approximately 21 days to make a nice, warm, and sweet mulled ginger wine.
# Spice In Curries: A paste of fresh ginger is used in Tadka of Indian curries to give a spicy taste; sometimes mixed with garlic paste. The dried ginger powder is also used to make some spicy dishes.
# Meat Marinade: Meat for curries and Biryani is marinated in a marinade made with ginger paste or dry ginger powder and other hot and sweet spices.
# An Ingredient In Sweets: In European countries, ginger is added to many sweet dishes Panna Cota, chocolate mousse and fruit salad. Pumpkin pie also contains fresh ginger.
# Mouth Freshener: Ginger candies are famous for its sweet and hot taste chewed for nausea and sometimes added on salads to make it crunchy and chewy. Ginger candies are very easy to make. Ginger cubes and sugar is boiled in water for some time, and extra water is drained. These boiled ginger cubes are sprinkled with crystallized sugar and dried well.
# Baking Cuisine: Ginger is one of the essential ingredients in many baked delicacies like ginger pear bread, pumpkin nut cookies, pear cobbler, zucchini bread, and pumpkin-ginger scones.
# Indian Bread: Indian bread like ginger Naan, ginger-garlic Naan is made with ginger kneed in wheat flour dough.
# Soup: Ginger is added to some soups like carrot-ginger soup, tomato-ginger soup to enhance the taste and to give gingerly warm fragrance.
Nutritional Facts Of Ginger
Ginger contains the right amount of vitamin B6 and minerals like manganese, magnesium, and dietary fibers. Ginger is 79% water when freshly harvested but loses water content to 9% when dried for making ginger powder. The nutrients and mineral contents also degrade when dried.
It is better to use crushed fresh ginger in curry and spicy recipes instead of using a dry ginger powder which also called ‘Sonth’ in Hindi.
Ginger As A Medicine & Remedy
# Cough & Cold: Homemade syrup of ginger is good medicine for cold and cough. For this, you need to boil some crushed ginger in a cup of water and add one tsp of sugar for taste. The syrup when drank before bedtime clears a cough and nose nostrils.
# Remedy for Nausea: Ginger is an excellent herbal remedy without any side effects of nausea, seasickness, pregnancy-related nausea, and morning sickness.
# Repels Fungus: Ginger contains anti-fungal properties which help to kill any disease-causing fungi in our body. Fungal diseases caused by yeast in the mouth can be kept on the watch by consuming ginger.
# Good Intestine Health: Ginger blocks the ulcer-causing enzyme growth; protects intestine lining and helps to cure indigestion, stomach discomfort and heartburn.
# A Friend In Menses: Ginger consumption lowers the menstrual pain, muscle cramps, and headache without any side effects.
# Restricts Carcinogenic Growth: The ‘gingerol' found in ginger is proved to be restricting the growth of carcinogenic cells in the body.
# Sour Throat: A concoction of ginger extract with honey is an excellent remedy for sour throat and dry cough.
What Is The History Of Ginger In Human World
Ginger is originated in South Asian countries like India and China; where it has been used for two millennia for medicinal purposes. Ginger got popularity in western countries when traders introduced it to Roman.
Soon it entered Roman cuisine where ginger is used in sweets and desserts. It is said that with the fall of Romans, ginger use gets eloped in Europe. In this period ginger got expensive, and ginger trade got transferred from European traders to Arabian traders.
Ginger got introduced to America with European writers.
Soil, Atmospheric Conditions Required To Cultivate Ginger & Commercially Producing Countries
Ginger is cultivated in clay loam, sandy, red soil with good drainage. Ginger thrives well in dusty loam which is reached in humus. The ginger crop requires high nutrition from the soil, so it is advisable not to cultivate ginger in the same soil for consecutive years.
Ginger grows well in the shade, but for mass production, it should be cultivated in the open area. Warm and humid environmental conditions are profitable for the good growth of a ginger crop. Moderate rains or regular irrigation is required at the time of sprouting.
Ginger is produced commercially in South Asian countries like India which contributes maximum in global production which is followed by other South Asian countries like China, Nepal, Indonesia, and Thailand.