The other day I was seeking something healthy and so I went to my local juice bar and ordered an apple, carrot and ginger blend. It was divine. The ginger completely warmed my body. Inspired, I went to my local grocery store and bought some ginger root and beginning researching the power behind this herb.
Most eastern medicine contains ginger in the mixture for several compelling reasons. Using ginger for medicinal purposes can be traced back 2500 years, and can be found in both ancient Chinese and Indian medicine. In ayurvedic medicine, it is believed that ginger can help prevent heart disease and aid arthritis. Ginger is also widely used to assist with any illness where your body is either immune compromised or cold (due to its warming properties).
Additional health properties of ginger:
- Preventing nausea (healthy alternative for pregnancy)
- Used as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis
- Clears lung of congestion
- Warms up the body (internal)
- Intestinal pain
- Reduces the risk of blood clots
- Boosts energy levels
If you’ve ever seen a chunk of ginger root, it can look fairly intimidating. Its hard, tangled root reminds me of the twisted trees that are abundant in Halloween. However, there is nothing creepy about this food. This video is an excellent, simple demonstration on how to peel ginger: geared towards cooking novices like myself.
Getting Read to Cook with Ginger
Ginger is available in many forms: fresh, dried, powdered and even as a candy. However, almost everywhere I read states that fresh is best. In fact, when it comes to ginger the other forms vastly changes both the taste and the health properties of the herb.
Don’t worry; you don’t have to use the entire ginger root in one setting. There are a few options available: I usually make a juice or a salad dressing. Other options for preserving ginger are:
- Freezing the root (lasts for six months) or freezing the grated herb
- Preserving it in either sherry, white vinegar (both are natural preservatives or olive oil. Just a note about olive oil, it is not a preservative so if you choose this option, use the dressing/ginger fairly quickly.
- Grounding it and mixing a small amount with almond oil for a topical massage/healing massage oil
- Juice it up: Make your own warming juice. My favorite combination is apple, carrot and ginger. The fresh juice stores for about 3 days.
Let’s Get Cooking
Ginger is an extremely versatile herb that can be used to spice up any meal from baking delicious cookies, breads and cakes, to stir fries, marinating meat and even spicing up a beverage. Yes, I found a ginger martini recipe, actually several, but my favorite was the Zentini. I just love the name.
In fact on the food network website alone, there were over 800 recipes that used ginger as one of their ingredients. If you are looking for quick and simple: stir fries, soups and juices are probably the easiest way to add some more ginger to your diet. But I’m warning you, once you start spicing it up you won’t be able to stop. Have fun.