Ginger is known for its healing properties and this knobby rhizome is becoming quite popular in the kitchen. In the early 80s, ginger was thought to be an exotic seasoning and it was only available in specialty stores. It was predominantly used as a ground, dried seasoning used to flavor desserts and sweet confections. Today that is no longer the case. American chefs and home cooks alike are embracing ginger for its vibrant flavor, adding it to both sweet and savory dishes for its ability to elevate dishes from mundane to exceptional.
Ginger’s appeal has broadened since medical and scientific research has confirmed its health-giving properties. By including ginger in your dishes you are adding a powerful anti-inflammatory and potent antioxidant to your diet. Researchers have identified the volatile oils gingerol and shogaol as the main active compounds in ginger responsible for its flavor, odor, and healing properties. Its anti-inflammatory properties help in alleviating pain caused by osteoarthritis and other joint issues. It is also credited as an excellent aid in soothing different types of gastrointestinal issues.
A number of controlled clinical studies using 1,000mg per day of powdered dried ginger supplements proved effective in preventing nausea and vomiting due to motion sickness, pregnancy, and chemotherapy. Preliminary studies even suggest that ginger may help prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol and preventing blood clots, which can lead to heart attack or stroke. If you’re thinking of adding ginger supplements to your diet, please consult your doctor about any health concerns or questions before adding it to your diet!
In traditional use, fresh ginger is excellent in Asian stir-fries, meat and seafood marinades, curries, dressings, and dipping sauces. Crystallized ginger is also delicious when added to fruit salads, cookies, cakes, or tarts.