Ginger: Giving It a Kick

Ginger is now cultivated in great quantities in Jamaica and comes into this country dried and preserved. The root from the West Indies is considered the best. Also imported from Africa, there are several varieties known in commerce. Jamaica or White African is a light-brown colour with short rhizome, very pungent. Cochin has a very short rhizome, coated red-grey colour. ‘Coated or Uncoated’ is the trade term for peel on or skinned. Green Ginger is the immature undried rhizome. Preserved Ginger is made by steeping the root in hot syrup. Ratoon is uncultivated Ginger.

What to look for:
Ginger produces clusters  of white and pink flower buds  that bloom into yellow flowers. Because of its aesthetic appeal and the adaptation 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, about a meter (3 to 4 feet) tall.

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 .Whenever possible, choose fresh ginger over the dried form of the spice since it is not only superior in flavor but contains higher levels of gingerol as well as ginger’s active protease (it’s anti-inflammatory compound). Fresh ginger root is sold in the produce section of markets. When purchasing fresh ginger root, make sure it is firm, smooth and free of mold. Ginger is generally available in two forms, either young or mature. Mature ginger, the more widely available type, has a tough skin that requires peeling while young ginger, usually only available in Asian markets, does not need to be peeled.

Ginger is the underground rhizome of the ginger plant with a firm, striated texture. The flesh of the ginger rhizome can be yellow, white or red in color, depending upon the variety. It is covered with a brownish skin that may either be thick or thin, depending upon whether the plant was harvested when it was mature or young. The flesh of the ginger rhizome can be yellow, white or red in color, depending upon the variety. It is covered with a brownish skin that may either be thick or thin, depending upon whether the plant was harvested when it was mature or young. The ginger rhizome has a firm, yet striated texture and a taste that is aromatic, pungent and hot.

How  Mother nature loves it:
Ginger is a perennial root which creeps and increases underground, in tuberous joints; in the spring it sends up from its roots a green reed, like a stalk, 2 feet high, with narrow lanceolate leaves; these die down annually. The flowering stalk rises directly from the root, ending in an oblong scallop spike; from each spike a white or yellow bloom grows

How to use it:
A variety of uses are suggested for ginger. Tea brewed from ginger is a folk remedy for colds. Three to four leaves of Tulsi taken along with a piece of ginger on an empty stomach is considered an effective cure for congestion, cough and cold. Ginger compounds are active against a form of diarrhea  which is the leading cause of infant death  in developing countries.

To remove the skin from fresh mature ginger, peel with a paring knife. The ginger can then be sliced, minced or julienned. The taste that ginger imparts to a dish depends upon when it is added during the cooking process. Added at the beginning, it will lend a subtler flavor while added near the end, it will deliver a more pungent taste.

Sonya Lee

Since a child, Sonya has been traveling from the corners of Canada to the far east Asia. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, she led a normal family life with her brother, mother and dad. A well received job opportunity in Hong Kong for her father put the compass in action from a young age. Sonya loves good food, and I mean GOOD simple food. She loves an occasional drink, be merry and enjoy the good times. Having recently healed herself from a large ruptured cyst, her favorite foods include fresh carrot juice, grilled vegetables, sauteed portabello mushrooms and truffle french fries. Her philosophy? Healthy food makes a healthy body. Read more on the Editor page. When she's not fretting over WAFT, she runs a small design agency called mowie media and shares the good times with her dog, Monster and 3 cats Sabi, Kaeli & Misty.

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