Jazz Up Your Menu With Ginger

Fresh ginger is a common kitchen staple. This versatile root can be used in virtually any meal from sweet to savory. It can be sliced or grated into soup and fried rice to give a little extra heat or mixed into a basic vinaigrette to add a bit of tanginess.

Jazz Up Your Menu With Ginger | Foodal.com

Not only is it widely used as a spice, it is often used for medicinal reasons. When I think of soothing an upset stomach, my first course of action is to grab the ginger.

Whether fresh, crystallized, added to gingerbread or brewed into a tea, people throughout the world have used this root for centuries to cure ailments. It has been proven to be a natural remedy for treating nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite due to illness, morning sickness, surgery, and motion sickness.

Ginger is the rhizome or root of a leafy plant. At the market, look for a firm root. There will be a dry patch where the root was cut, but that is normal, just be sure it is not shriveled.

Store ginger on your kitchen counter for a few days or wrapped in the fridge for a longer period of time. If need be, it can also be frozen, but be sure to carefully protect with freezer wrap. For your convenience, you may want to peel and cut the root before freezing.

Fresh ginger root is usually peeled, then sliced or grated. The taste is sweet, citrusy, and spicy. The lemony taste makes it a perfect complement to fish. The spiciness can vary greatly from root to root, as well as from season to season.

It is best to give a freshly cut piece a gentle smell or a little taste before adding it to recipes. If it seems particularly strong, feel free to use a little less than is called for.

Foodal recommends Simply Organic’s Ground Ginger Root Powder (Certified Organic)

The powdered or ground spice is similar in taste to the fresh variety, but lacks the citrusy undertones. This form works well in desserts and with squashes, such as butternut and acorn. Just a dash can kick a basic stew up a notch.

Looking for a way to keep those dried spices organized? Head over here to read Foodal’s review of the best spice racks.

Foodal recommends Anna and Sarah’s Dried Crystallized Ginger

Crystallized ginger can be enjoyed as a snack or added to your favorite recipes. It is particularly delicious sprinkled as a garnish on top of a bowl of pumpkin soup, baked into a similarly fall-themed apple pear pie with cardamon and ginger, or added to your favorite fall dishes with other similar warming spices of its genre.

This yummy treat is available for purchase or you can whip up a homemade batch pretty easily.

Pickled ginger, also known as gari, is often enjoyed with sushi or sashimi. Marinated in a solution of sugar and vinegar, the thinly sliced root is a sweet and tangy addition to your favorite Asian cuisine.

Used alone, or paired with other spices, this root has the unique ability to bring out many different effects in the kitchen such as brightening stews, sweetening cakes, and spicing up dressings. Make it a key addition to your pantry.

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About Jennifer Swartvagher

Jennifer is an experienced journalist and author. Her work has been featured on TODAY Parents, The New York Times Blog, BlogHer, Scary Mommy, and scores of other parenting and cooking publications.

23 thoughts on “Jazz Up Your Menu With Ginger”

  1. I just love ginger. It is so helpful for me when I have motion sickness or any nausea. I buy these hard ginger candies to carry in my purse for travel. I just bought some fresh ginger at the local produce store the other day. This article came just in the nick of time. I can’t wait to try some new things with my fresh ginger. Now I know that I can prolong it’s life by putting it in the fridge or even the freezer if I’m not going to be using quickly enough. Thanks for the informative article..

  2. I usually serve my own very special blend of Ginger tea when I’m making dinner for the family. It’s a very pleasant and healthy drink. the kids love it, and I would rather they drink ginger tea than sodas to be honest. Lately I’ve been wanting to try and experiment with making a ginger iced tea. I wonder how it will turn out?

  3. Fresh ginger root is inespensive in my country so I like to use it wherever possible. Besides brewing tea and adding to curries, I like to make a traditional Yorkshire ginger cake called Parkin. It’s a delicious sticky treat which improves with a few days in the pantry.

  4. We recently visited a small family run hotel in the lakes and they baked their own shortbread with ginger. It was lovely! I use ginger quite a lot in a lot of my cooking, it tastes gorgeous! Probably one of the main dishes I love cooked is lemon and ginger penne pasta, a lovely dish and you can use it in salads or as a main!

  5. I try to sneak ginger in as much as humanly possible. I’ve used every type mentioned here except crystallized ginger. I think the sugar content might be keeping me away. Although, I still use pickled ginger & that definitely has a certain amount of sugar to it. Might give it a go. We’ll see.

  6. I like a small amount of ginger when I make a stir fry or when cooking vegetables to add flavor. I didn’t know there was powdered ginger would be useful when making sauces as I like a small kick, but find it hard to chop ginger really finely, so powder may be a better idea to try.

  7. That’s new, i never knew ginger could be crystallized, but i have sure missed its aroma in my cup of tea, next trip to the grocer’s and am getting myself ginger powder and some masala powder too…for my tea, especially since the rainy season has started, soothing my nerves with such aromas in my tea…is next to heaven 🙂

  8. Ginger continues to heal my digestive woes and brings me so much relief. I have also used it successfully for motion sickness. I like it in vegetable rice. I did not know it brightens stews, so I will have to check that out. I like it in ginger snaps and spice cake.

    I have never heard of pickled ginger. Hopefully, it is as simple as is presented here, because I would like to explore it.

  9. Ginger is a wonderful thing indeed. I sprinkle a bit in my spiced oatmeal every morning and it adds a certain zing that helps wake me up. And pickled ginger is one of my favorite things about visiting sushi bars. I’ve used ginger/honey tea to help soothe sore throats, but it’s nice to know it helps aid digestion as well. Viva ginger!

  10. I never cared much for ginger growing up, other than in crystallized form, which I still love, but I recently learned about the health benefits, such as stomach ailments, as you mentioned, as well antibiotic and anti-bacterial benefits. I was sick recently, and a friend mentioned I should include some ginger into my hot toddy. What a difference it made, and I continue to share it with others. I’m glad you mentioned wrapping it, because I wasn’t aware of that, but will do it in the future.

  11. My history with ginger is a matter of one recipe and way too much ginger. It kind of scared me off, and I just haven’t tried it again yet. Finding out about the medicinal properties has me convinced I need to have a jar in my spice cabinet. I always go with home remedies out its an option, before I’ll try store bought medicines.

  12. I love ginger in my tea. I can’t get enough of using it in most of my soups as well. It helps keep away colds and coughs. I never lack fresh ginger in my kitchen.

  13. I have always been fond of the sharp, spicy taste of ginger. I have always enjoyed it in my Asian style stir-fries. I am currently looking for new creative recipes using ginger. I was recently introduced to turmeric, which if I’m not mistaken is in the same family as ginger. I read about a turmeric, ginger, cayenne pepper and honey tea that I would love to try.

  14. Yes, I love ginger. I grow my own outside, and am trying to find a way to grow it inside when it gets too cold. Which would be right about now since winter started a couple of days ago. I love the sweetish burn you get when you bite into a piece, and I love how candy like crystallized ginger tastes. My mom actually used to give it to me instead of candy when I was little and I never knew the difference until I got way older. The powdered variety would have to be my least favorite since a lot of time it just tastes like brown flour. It really doesn’t keep well for long periods of time. I find myself adding more and more of it to my dishes in hope it imparts some flavor only to mess up the consistency of the dish because I’ve added too much. I’ve never tried freezing it before, I usually use it before there is a need to store it for the long haul but if I even have too much I’ll look into doing that.

  15. Like many other people said, I love to use ginger medicinally. I have a sensitive digestive tract and ginger seems to be the perfect cure-all. My favorite way to enjoy it is in tea. I would love to make my own, but for now, I use Yogi’s Ginger tea. Does anyone have experience growing ginger?

  16. This is one of my favourite spices, I use it all the time in baking and savory cooking 🙂 It goes really well with Asian flavors so I always grate some fresh to put in dishes like stir fries and lettuce wraps. It also adds a really nice touch to desserts like pumpkin pie, and it compliments apples really well too.

    There’s a restaurant near my apartments that makes ice cream with chopped crystallized ginger in a vanilla base and it’s delicious, one of my favourite treats for sure! It really lends itself well to a lot of different dishes.

  17. I think the majority of people today would do well to make ginger a staple part of their diet. It’s a great digestive aid and a good anti bacterial that helps to cleanse raw salads. When partnered with cayenne, garlic or tumeric it becomes part of a solid, natural immune builder and stomach healer.

  18. My favorite thing to do with ginger is to make ginger and tumeric morning shots. You just juice some ginger, add in some tumeric, mineral water, lemon juice and chlorophyll — take a shot of it just after waking up, and you’ll be SO alert and energized. It tastes terrible, but it’s much better for you than coffee. Tumeric is a good anti-inflammatory agent and you already know all the benefits of ginger, lol. Lemon juice helps with digestion, too. Go ginger!!

  19. Fresh ginger root can be a bit dangerous for people who are not used to working with it. Maybe more than any spice, the strength of the taste can very drastically from root to root and it is very easy to over-power your meal by using the recommended amounts of a root that is very strong. You really do have to taste a bit of the root each time you purchase it so you get an idea of how strong it is. There are certain herbs that are the same way, but ginger is probably the most diverse as far as strength.

  20. I’ve learned to like it more than I used to and yes, there are many health benefits. I recently read that it’s also helpful for lymphedema. It’s said that using the tea will aid with this issue. There are so many different things that can benefit from it. I definitely need to use more of it. Thanks for the tips.

  21. Ginger is so useful! It’s great for upset stomachs. I never thought about putting it into pumpkin soup, but that sounds delicious, especially with fall around the corner. I mostly use pieces of the fresh root put into hot water and made into tea. There is also ginger paste, which combines the convenience of powder with the strength of the fresh root. I used to put some on buttered bread when I wasn’t feeling well, and it helped settle my stomach right down. Ginger ale is a popular cure-all in Michigan; I wonder if it can be made at home?

  22. I use it a lot when making salad dressings. Olive oil, viniger, soy sauce and ginger and you have the start of a very interesting flavor for salads. I usually add some fresh orange juice, lemon juice and diced onions. The same sauce can be used for white fish also, which is great because you can make a nice batch of it and use it in multiple ways.

  23. Ginger is definitely one of the best medicines for our digestive system, it has helped me a lot since I’ve always suffered of that sort of thing. I generally add ginger powder to all my meals. I really like the flavor that it gives the food, for real.

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