Ingredient of the Month: Ginger
As one of the 10 core ingredients in Fire Cider, ginger brings a bright spark of flavor and so much more to the party that’s happening in our tonics!
While some of us grew up only knowing ginger as one of the spices that made holiday cookies and cakes extra yummy, the explosion of variety in produce available at most grocery stores in recent years means that fresh ginger can be had in almost every location. Having a knob or two in your fridge means you can brighten up a cup of tea with a simple slice, or add a bite of lemony-ginger kick to your next stir fry or saute.
This unassuming plant has been prized for its medicinal qualities for centuries, for everything from being a digestive aid to its anti-inflammatory properties, the hundreds of compounds and metabolites bound up in its structure make it a complexly interesting and delicious plant.
Let’s play a round of, "Did you know?"
1. Ginger is a diaphoretic.
That means it promotes sweating and works to warm the body from within!
2. Ginger is seriously packed with vitamins and minerals including:
Iron, Vitamin C, Potassium, Vitamin B6, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Zinc, Folate, Niacin, Riboflavin, gingerols, beta-carotene, capsaicin, caffeic acid, curcumin and salicylate.
3. The Ginger we all know and love is a rhizome, not a root.
It’s actually the underground stem of the plant, a plant that can grow up to 3 feet high, be harvested year-round, and produce 2-5 sections of ginger. It also has a pretty interesting family, being related to galangal, cardamom, and turmeric!
4. The ancients loved it!
As far back as 400 B.C you can find written records in Chinese treatises. It was also highly prized by the Romans with a pound of ginger being equal to the price of a whole sheep! That’s a pretty valuable spice considering global production of ginger was 3.3 million tonnes just 2 years ago.
5. It’s easier to prepare and use than you might think!
When buying fresh ginger, look for a root with smooth, taut skin, and a spicy aroma, try to avoid pieces with wrinkles, blemishes or soft spots! The toughest part in using fresh ginger is usually dealing with the peel, considering its unwieldy shape and the varying thickness of the skin. And while it is edible, chewy, gritty pieces of skin aren’t necessarily appetizing.
My trick is to use a spoon! No, seriously it’s that easy. Take a look!
Freshly peeled and sealed ginger will keep in the fridge for about 2 weeks. It will keep unpeeled in a dark, cool place for weeks, think the back of the top shelf of your fridge. You can even freeze it if storing for long periods.
Keep an eye out here on the Fire Cider Blog for some great recipes later in the month, and feel free to chime in with some of your favorite uses and recipes by leaving a comment below. If we feature one of your recipe suggestions you'll receive a free bottle of Fire Cider!
Then you can slice it, and cut those slices into little matchsticks. You can stop there or you can cut those matchsticks into a tiny dice! Just make sure your knife is nice and sharp as ginger can be a bit fibrous and woody.