Ginger is the root of a plant, also called ginger, that belongs to the Zingiberaceae family, a group that also includes other well known spices like turmeric, galangal and cardamom. It is considered one of the first spices to arrive in Europe from Asia, with its use dating back to Greek and Roman times. Nowadays, ginger is a very common spice, used worldwide in many different cuisines and many different forms: it can be peeled, blended, grated, chopped, fresh, dried, powdered, as an oil or juice, pickled, used in teas, turned into candy and even processed into ginger beer. India is responsible for over 32% of the world total production of the flavourful root.
Ginger is a very common spice in Indian cuisine. It has a spicy aroma and a pungent flavour and it is seen as a cooling ingredient according to Ayurvedic principles, and it’s commonly used in vegetable dishes to bring some refreshing zing to the table. It is not in vegetable dishes that ginger really shines though: together with onion and garlic, ginger completes the meat curry trinity. Every Indian curry starts with these three ingredients as a foundation, to the point which ginger is almost not even considered a spice. It is also used in a variety of Indian chutneys, both sweet and tangy ones.
Ginger plays a unique role in many different cuisines all over the world not only for its flavour and aroma, but also for its incredible health benefits. It has recognised antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and it is a great remedy for nausea and morning sickness. It’s widely used as a digestive aid, as joint pain and arthritis relief, and to combat the common flu symptoms if consumed as tea.
Ginger can be kept fresh for three weeks if stored in the fridge. You can also peel it before refrigerating it to prolong the freshness of its flavour.