Ginger is a spice popular throughout the world, obtained from roots of Zingiber officinale. It is popular mainly in exotic cuisines thanks to its powerful taste and smell, but thanks to its effects it is also sought-after for medicinal use to remedy a wide range of health problems.
Ginger Has Been Known For Its Effects Since Ancient History
Ginger and its beneficial effects were used in India and Chine more than 3000 years ago; however its origins are unknown. Seafarer voyages helped spread the spice all over the world and in the Middle Ages ginger even became one of the most popular seasonings in Europe.
Ginger and Its Effect on Our Health
Ginger gets its typical powerful smell from essential oils, but apart from these, ginger contains a wide range of vitamins, e.g. vitamin A, B1, B2, C, E, a mineral substances – sodium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and iron. One of the hundreds of substances beneficial to our health is gingerol which represents the typical sharp ginger taste. In its chemical composition, gingerol is very similar to capsaicin, i.e. substance contained in chilli peppers. During thermal processing, gingerol turns into zingerone which is abundantly used e.g. in the food industry or perfume production.
Ginger in its myriad forms has positive effects on our digestive system (alleviates heartburn and flatulence, supports metabolism and appetite), it is used to prevent the common cold and flu, helps against nausea and migraine and last but not least it supports organism's fight against cancer. Hot ginger poultices alleviate neck pain and help release stiff muscles.
Ginger and Its Other Benefits:
• acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and strengthens the immune system
• stimulates circulation, reduces cholesterol
• helps in weight reduction
• warms up the entire body and helps us relax
• prevents the occurrence of chronic respiratory diseases
• alleviates nausea during travelling or pregnancy
• acts as an aphrodisiac
Ginger and Its Many Forms
Ginger roots and its benefits in the kitchen are irreplaceable. It is used for seasoning dishes containing seafood, duck and pork, it helps us digest heavy food, but it is a popular spice used for sweet desserts and pastries or as a main ingredient in soft drinks.
- Dried ginger: cooking, baking, soups, sauces, sweet pastry, spice blends.
- Fresh ginger: cooking, baking, soft drinks, teas, ice cream, yoghurt drinks, sushi side dish.
- Pickled ginger: ginger is often pickled into honey, sugar or alcohol and it is used as a part of candy, lollipops and chewing gums but also as a food additive or ingredient for alcoholic beverages. Even pickled ginger can be used as a sushi side.
Who Should Avoid Ginger
Ginger and its effects are entirely unsuitable for children up to 2 years of age or people suffering from a long-term disease, e.g. diabetes. In combination with other medicine, ginger may cause health problems; that is why it is advisable to consult your doctor or pharmacist before making such a combination.
A daily dose of ginger should not exceed 1 gram in dried form and 4 grams of fresh ginger, even in completely healthy individuals. In case of ingesting a larger amount, symptoms of overdose may occur: malaise/nausea, vomiting, heartburn, diarrhea or heart disorders.
Roasted Ginger Chicken
1 whole chicken
3 tbs grated ginger
4 tbs honey
2 tbs soy sauce
4 cloves of garlic
juice from a half of lemon
Mix grated ginger, honey, soy sauce, finely chopped chilli pepper, pressed garlic, lemon juice and about 4 tablespoons of oil and a bit of salt. Mix all these ingredients thoroughly to make their tastes connected. Wash and dry the chicken; gently separate the chicken skin from the meat on the sides of the legs and stuff the prepared marinade under the skin. Stick a knife into the chicken several times on the surface and apply the marinade on the outside as well. Let the chicken marinade for at least 3 hours. Roast in the oven for approx. 1 hour, depending on the size of the chicken and keep applying the marinade while roasting and baste with the juices produced or water.
Fresh ginger (max. 4 grams)
lemon or orange juice
Grate the fresh ginger root, place it into a kettle and pour hot water over it. Let it rest for 5 minutes and then remove the ginger root from the tea. Add lemon or orange juice to taste and let it cool down a little bit. After cooling, add a spoonful of honey and a pinch of cinnamon and clove.
Ginger tea will make your entire body pleasantly warm, cleanse your organism and support your appetite.
Warning! Do not eat the pieces of macerated ginger! They could irritate the stomach.
1 portion fresh ginger
1 portion water
1 portion sugar
Peel the fresh ginger root and slice it or chop it into tiny cubes. Place the sliced ginger root into a pot and pour water over it to make it completely submerged. Add sugar and let it boil for approx. 30 minutes. After cooling, pour the ginger syrup into a jar, you can use it later e.g. to season drinks. We can coat the bits of ginger in fine sugar and candied ginger is finished.
You can add candied ginger into pastries, bread or eat it candied.