What is ginger? Everything you need to know about ginger.


what is ginger

As a matter of fact, almost every kitchen on this planet has ginger in the so-called cabins. Surprisingly, some of us may not be aware of how the plant actually grows, its different forms and uses. In our next paragraph, the knit spice is going to give you an insight into the ginger plant.

Ginger is a flowering plant from the family Zingiberaceae.Opens in a new tab. It has been grown in tropical Asia since ancient times. China, India, Nepal and Thailand are the major producers of ginger in the world. Other members such as cardamom, turmeric also belong to this plant family. The rhizome which is the underground horizontal stem from which the roots grow is what is consumed. After a growing period of 8 to 9 months, the above-ground growth dies off. If the underground creeping stems (rhizomes) are not harvested, they start growing again as soon as the soil gets favourable conditions.

To answer this amazing question” what is ginger?” we are going to look at the types of ginger, forms of ginger, uses of ginger, side effects of ginger, preservation of ginger as well as its interaction with other medicines.

What are the Various Forms of Ginger?Opens in a new tab.


Ginger has different uses depending on the various forms. Below are some of the various forms of ginger and some instances where they may be used.

  1. Ground Ginger

This is also called powdered ginger. With this form, the ginger root is dried and ground. This is the most commonly used form of ginger. It is used in many curry mixes.

  1. Fresh Ginger

This is available in two forms that are to say young ginger and mature. The young also known as spring ginger is pale and thin with a tender flavour.

The mature ginger has a tough skin that must be peeled away to get the fibrous fresh and chopped or ground for use.

  1. Dried ginger

This is usually in whole ginger slices. It is most times soaked before using.

  1. Pickled ginger

This form of ginger is also known as benishoga in japan. Here ginger is pickled in sweet vinegar. It is usually coloured in bright red or pink. This form of ginger is mainly eaten with sushi and also fresh your breath.

  1. Ginger teas

One popular way of consuming ginger is through teas. One cup of ginger every day reduces the risk of a stroke by encouraging the circulation of blood and inhibiting fatty deposits from clogging your arteries.

  1. Preserved ginger

This is that which has been preserved in a sugar-salt mixture. It is mostly added to desserts and mostly used for confectionery.

  1. Crystallized ginger

This is also known as candied ginger.  This is a sweet, chewy and spice treat made from fresh ginger. It is cooked in sugar syrup until tender and then coated with granulated sugar. It is commonly used in desserts and can easily be made at home.

 

Different types of ginger


Most people use ginger for culinary purposes. What they may not be aware of is that ginger has several different types. Having looked at “what is ginger” Knit spice brings you these different types, classified both according to fresh and colour of the ginger. Check them out.

  1. Culinary ginger

This ginger originates from Asia in the very hot humid areas. It comes in hundreds of varieties and very easy to propagate. That is to say by the fresh ginger root.

  1. Globba ginger

This ginger type has long leaves with white or purple colour seeds. It grows up to about 2 feet in height and requires sunlight and well-drained soil to grow.

  1. Grocery store ginger

This is famous in the US store .this type of ginger is also known as Chinese ginger. It comes from areas like India and China, with a large rhizome. The plant grows to about 4 feet high.

  1. Small rhizome ginger

This has the name small rhizome due to the fact that the rhizomes are very small. It has a very small and intense flavour

  1. Kaempferia ginger

This type of ginger grows only a few inches above the ground. It requires a lot of shade, moisture and well-drained soil to grow.

By colour

Having looked at the different types of fresh ginger, let us look at the different ginger types according to the colour.


  1. White ginger

This is a common type of ginger in the areas of Nigeria and also found in a few markets in the U.S. another name for this white ginger is ginger lily. It is a hardy plant that grows up to 8 feet tall. In India and Nepal, it is used as an ornamental plant.

  1. Yellow ginger

what is ginger

Image by Maja Cvetojević from Pixabay

This is commonly used in the United States. Another name for yellow ginger is called turmeric. This type of ginger is known for its culinary and medicinal properties. It is proven to treat a variety of ailments such as upset stomach, cancer, arthritis and many others.

  1. Blue Hawaiian ginger

what is ginger

Image by vbshare from Pixabay

This ginger can grow up to 3 feet, with shiny green leaves. It is an ornamental plant native of Brazil.

  1. Baby ginger

Baby ginger comes with various colours that are pink ginger, green ginger, spring ginger, and stem ginger. It is skinny with a mild taste.

How to preserve ginger?


Many times we have bought a specific quantity of ginger from the market, used a few or part of it and we thereafter wonder how to keep or store the rest of it. If fresh ginger is not preserved, it forms moulds and eventually dries up. Well from today onwards, worry not; knit spice brings you the various ways how you may preserve your remains after use ginger.

  1. Freezing

The ginger is cut into small pieces of about one inch. the pieces are then taken to the freezer until when they are next used.

  1. Boozy ginger

The ginger is first to cut into chunks of close to one inch. The chunks are then peeled and put into a clean glass jar and covered with sherry. This is then stored in a cool, dark place such as a cellar. Boozy ginger is used in many recipes and curries.

  1. Pickling ginger

Here ginger is peeled and sliced into pieces this is later pickled in sweet vinegar. It is usually coloured in bright red or pink. This form of ginger is mainly eaten with sushi and also freshen your breath.

  1. Fermenting

The ginger is fermented into natural carbonates and healthy sodas. The naturally fermented sodas have bacteria that are good for boosting the immune system.

  1. Dry the ginger.

Ginger is first to cut into very small pieces using a machine. The pieces are then spread on a parchment paper and dried in an oven at about 170F degrees. After drying, the ginger is then ground using an electric grinder or motor.

Industrial products of ginger.


Having looked at what is ginger, the forms of ginger and its preservation, let’s now look at the industrial products of ginger.

Ginger honey crystals

This consists of ingredients like cane sugar, ginger, honey and glucose. It is normally served as a hot beverage

Ginger candy chews

This has a hard flavoured ginger shell, softer centre with a natural blend of unique herbs. It’s both refreshing and soothing. It contains sucrose, ginger and coconut oil.

Crystallized ginger

Here ginger is crystallized in sugar to create a chewy, spicy-sweet treat. Right from the ginger root, it is perfect as a spicy snack, for a cup of tea or an ingredient in cooking and baking. It contains ginger, sugar and sulphur dioxide.

Organic ginger juice

This a perfect time-saving alternative to fresh ginger or ground ginger. It’s just splashed on salads, fish and in tea, soups and more. It consists of organic ginger and citric acid.

The organic ginger tea

In this ginger tea, there is a unique blend of herbs and spices to complement gingers piquant flavour .yogis ginger tea tastes delicious and offers the highest quality of a timeless herb.

Pickled sushi ginger

Sushi ginger is thinly sliced pickled ginger, also known as sushi shoga, usually eaten between bites of sushi and sashimi to cleanse your palate.

Homemade products of ginger


 

Sometimes buying ginger products from retail shops becomes expensive and practically impossible to certain individuals in our society. As knit spice, we came up with a few researched products that you can make from ginger at your home. Let us take you through these products real quick.

Ginger bath salt

This is a mixture of ground ginger, baking soda and Epsom salts. Then soak in a bathtub.

Detoxifying the feet

Add warm water to grated ginger and mustard powder, and then soak your feet for a given period of time.

Bring to order an upset stomach

Ginger calms unnecessary bloating and upset stomach with just ginger tea. Add ginger to any meal, you can as well eat raw ginger slices

Ginger soothes sore muscles

Add ginger to a considerable amount of warm water; soak a piece of cloth in the ginger water mixture. Press the cloth on the pained area for at least 10 minutes. The muscles will get relaxed.

Ginger eases a sore throat

A mixture of ginger with honey is said to control motion sickness, reduce the cold and soothe sore throats.

Treat swollen gums with ginger

Ginger has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. When applied to the gums mixed with salt, the swellings reduce.

Make a ginger body scrub

Instead of buying expensive scrub, you can make a healthy one at home using ginger and lemon. Mix up ginger, lemon, sugar and olive oil. Apply this gently on your skin and your skin will be exfoliated

Health benefits of gingerOpens in a new tab.


Apart from using ginger for culinary purposes in a variety of cuisines, ginger has a number of health benefits. Let us look at some of the health benefits.

  1. Helps to reduce cholesterol levels

One of the great health benefits of ginger is that it helps to reduce cholesterol levels. This reduces the risk of heart disease as high cholesterol is linked to heart diseases.

  1. Reduces menstrual pain

The other health benefit of ginger is that it reduces menstrual pain. This is pain felt during a woman’s menstrual cycle. This is possible because ginger has anti-pain properties.

  1. Reduces chronic indigestion
  2. Ginger reduces chronic indigestion associated with recurrent pain and discomfort in the upper part of the stomach.
  3. Ginger reduces high blood pressure. This is because ginger prevents the clotting within the arteries and veins. This ensures effective flow of blood to all the parts of the body and hence normal blood pressure.
  4. Ginger reduces muscle pain and soreness in individuals performing body exercises
  5. Ginger reduces osteoarthritis this is associated with the degeneration of the joints in the body leading to symptoms like joint pain and stiffness.
  6. The active ingredients in ginger i.e. the gingerols, shogoals help to fight infections. As a matter of fact, ginger extract inhibits the growth of many different types of bacteria.
  7. During cold weather, drinking ginger tea is a good way of keeping warm. Being  thermogenic in nature, ginger increases body temperature by increasing metabolism.
  8. Ginger promotes cardiovascular health. Ginger reduces cholesterol levels, lowering the risk of blood clotting and hence maintains healthy blood sugar levels.
  9. Chemical components gingerols present in ginger help to fight against cancer, caused by uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells
  10. Ginger is one of the best remedies for stomach upset. It helps to reduce nausea and bloating. Nausea is the uneasiness for the stomach that often comes before vomiting. It is not a disease but a symptom of motion sickness, seasickness, early stages of pregnancy and ulcers.

Bloating, on the other hand, is when the body feels swollen after eating. Ginger eliminates this gas from the intestinal tract.

  1. Ginger stimulates the production of bile. This is the dark green to yellowish-brown fluid produced by the liver. It contains bile acids critical in the digestion and absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins in the small intestines.
  2. The constituents of ginger such as shogoals and Gingerols prevent blood clotting in the arteries and blood vessels. Blood clots can hinder the effective flow of the blood throughout the circulatory system, which may lead to high blood pressure. Therefore by preventing the formation of clots, ginger is able to reduce high pretension.
  3. Ginger also lowers blood cholesterol. When there is high blood cholesterol, plaque forms all over the walls of arteries and blood vessels. This reduces the diameter of the veins leading to high blood pressure. Therefore, by reducing cholesterol level, blood pressure is reduced.

Does ginger interact with other medications?


Despite the many health benefits of ginger, drug interactionsOpens in a new tab. could still take place when the medicine is taken with another drug or food and the effect of the medicine is altered.

Ginger might slow down blood clotting. When ginger is taken along with drugs that affect blood clotting, it may cause a bruising and bleeding effect. Drugs such as aspirin, diclofenac, have an anti-clotting effect.

Ginger may lower the blood sugar to a dangerous level when taken with diabetic drugs that are meant to reduce blood sugar.

When ginger is taken with drugs or medications that are meant to lower blood pressure may lower the blood pressure to very low levels which is dangerous to the patient.

What are the side effects of using ginger?


As we consume ginger in many different ways, sometimes we have wondered if ginger could cause harm to our health. As a knit spice, we stand to inform you that Ginger has no direct harm to our bodies. However, consumption of ginger in excess amounts or unreasonable amounts can cause the following effects to our bodies;

  1. Ginger may increase the risk of a miscarriage. This is because ginger lowers blood pressure more so by thinning the blood. It is advisable to consult a physician on ginger usage during pregnancy.
  2. Ginger can lower blood pressure to dangerous levels. When one has issues with their blood pressure levels, ginger interferes with blood thickness by thinning the blood, similar way that aspirin does. When on issues with blood clotting and excess bleeding, ginger has can worsen them.
  3. Ginger can cause heartburn and irritation. Ginger has active compounds called the gingerols. These can irritate the stomach and the gut into producing more acid leading to a feeling of unease.it is advisable to eat smaller quantities.
  4. Too many doses of ginger can lead to diarrhoea. Ginger can speed up digestion more than you would like causing diarrhoea.
  5. Ginger can prevent hair regrowth. According to the Chinese study into the effect of gingerols, ginger was found to inhibit hair growth. It is therefore advisable to eat small amounts of ginger or use ginger with other foods.

In a nutshell, apart from being used in a variety of cuisines, ginger lowers blood pressure, helps to lower blood sugar, reduces pain and it’s a remedy to nausea and chronic stomach upset. However, high amounts of ginger can be dangerous to our health. For example, higher amounts can reduce blood pressure and sugar to dangerous levels. Furthermore, ginger interacts with other medications as we have seen in the paragraph above. As a knit spice, we advise that one should take a reasonable amount of ginger and seeking doctor’s advice in case one is taking ginger with medications.

 


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