Originally from Southeast Asia, ginger (zingiber officinale) is a root, or more correctly a rhizome, essential in Asian cuisine, where its presence is almost obligatory (in fact it is one of the base ingredients when preparing infinity of curries). Also well known in Europe for centuries, although with a more medicinal than gastronomic use, its name is derived from Sanskrit (in that language it was called shringavera, which means horn body, named for its appearance).
We are going to tell you a little more about why to use it and how to incorporate it into your diet.
Nutrients provided by ginger rootGinger is rich in amino acids, calcium, essential fatty acids, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6 and C. And in different amounts, substances as beneficial as beta-carotene, capsaicin (responsible for itching), curcumin and gingerols.
In addition, ginger root contains 4-7.5% oleoresin, in which essential oil and spicy substances stand out, each representing around 25% of oleoresin. Ginger also contains antioxidants, and a digestive enzyme that aids in protein digestion, called zingibain, which helps to relieve arthritis pain by reducing inflammation.
a) Digestive properties
Its digestive properties are also known: ginger begins to work already in the mouth, stimulating the flow of saliva, and once in the stomach it promotes bile secretions from the liver and gastric secretions from the stomach. It also relaxes the stomach by softening gastric contractions. In the intestines, ginger increases muscle tone and peristalsis (intestinal contractions), thus promoting better digestion.
b) Anti-inflammatory properties
Ginger also stands out for its anti-inflammatory properties by reducing the production of leukotriene and prostaglandin in the body. It also inhibits the production of thromboxane, which can be useful for people suffering from migraine. These anti-inflammatory properties can also be beneficial in reducing muscle inflammation, especially after exercising.
Like everything, there are certain situations where its use is not recommended and that it is convenient to know: avoid consuming ginger if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you are taking medication for hypertension or diabetes.
Some ideas to incorporate ginger into your diet
You can use ginger both fresh and dry, and in both cases you can grind, grate or chop it, although when it is dry it is considerably harder. Also, it is not necessary to prepare exotic recipes. The current recipe book is full of recipes where ginger is already incorporated as an ingredient in them. It can also be confit, used in pastries, in homemade soft drinks and infusions ... It can also be added to a sauce to accompany tender and tasty meats. Ginger is very versatile and blends well with other flavors like citrus or pepper.
a) Ginger tea
I particularly like to enjoy it as an infusion. Simply grate or even crush a piece of ginger root (about the size of a thumb) in a mortar and place it in an infuser along with the tea you usually use, and let it steep for five minutes and enjoy. If you feel like you can sweeten it with a little honey, it gives it a special taste, although the first time I advise you to take it as pure as possible, simply to learn to recognize the flavor.
b) Peach and ginger poles
Mix orange juice, peach juice and grated ginger and put them in containers to make homemade ice cream. Delicious.
c) Ginger and citrus soda
We simply leave you the link to this recipe that we already told you about at the time, and which is ideal for the summer by providing, thanks to citrus and ginger, a very refreshing touch. Of course, we anticipate that it does not usually excite children.
d) Pancakes flavored with ginger
Just add a teaspoon of ground ginger (better dry) to the pancake batter. In this way you will vary the recipe giving it a fresh and original touch.
e) Baked vegetables
Sprinkle with ground ginger your vegetables before roasting: you will give a special and slightly spicy touch to those roasted vegetables. And one last tip for using ginger. I always have the doubt of the proportions of ground and fresh ginger, so I give you a mini table of proportions between ground and fresh ginger to make it easier to use at home.
And one last tip for using ginger. I always have the doubt of the proportions of ground and fresh ginger, so I give you a mini table of proportions between ground and fresh ginger to make it easier to use at home.
|And remember that if you want to take full advantage of its properties, like turmeric, ginger is best eaten raw .|
How to use ginger
According to the use that we are going to give it, we will be interested in one format or another.When incorporating ginger into your diet, you may have some doubts about the best way to use it. Here we bring you this summary table that we hope will help you clarify a little more:
- A) Fresh ginger root. Suitable for all recipes where the amount of water naturally present in the root is not a problem. It is usually cut into small pieces, for example, to incorporate it into teas and infusions.
- A1) The fresh root can be easily grated at home with a conventional grater. If you are going to use it fresh and grated in a recipe, a good idea may be to keep a little to incorporate it at the end, so that it is even visible.
- B) Dry root is a perfect option when we can't get it fresh or if we want it to last and not have to buy it every time we need it.
- B1) It can be grated at home, but be careful with your fingers. This allows us to leave it more whole or grainy, thus giving it a more rustic touch.
- B2) Ground dry ginger allows us to prepare mixtures that we will then save for when we need them, or for those dishes where it is mixed with flour or other ground products.
A separate chapter deserves the use that ginger is made in Japanese cuisine, where it is one of the most common and most important ingredients.
One of these preparations includes pickling ginger, obligatory accompaniments in sushi dishes, sashimi, etc. To do this, fresh ginger is peeled (with a teaspoon or with a small scraper) and cut very finely (although some people prefer to pair it first and then cut it) and marry it in a mixture of rice vinegar, sugar and salt. But the elaboration of this recipe deserves a chapter appart.