WHAT IS GINGER?
This flowering plant, originally from Asia, now grows around the world thriving in warmer climates. It’s also known as a “canoe plant” due to its hardiness among tribes migrating by boat. The tuber or root of the ginger plant grows horizontally and so spreads outward from the stem itself. It can grow up to 3 feet (0.9 m) in height with an abundance of green leaves and purple or yellow flowers.
WHY IS GINGER GOOD FOR YOU?
In its fresh form, this spice is mostly water with a tiny bit of protein and fat. So in terms of nutrients ginger is quite low compared to other ingredients. This root is popular with arthritis sufferers since it acts as an anti-inflammatory by reducing blood clotting. However people taking anti-coagulant drugs are therefore advised to avoid it in their diet. This spice also helps with stomach nausea, making it a popular herbal remedy after chemotherapy treatment.
WHEN IS GINGER IN SEASON?
This tuber can be harvested as early as 4 months after planting. However the entire root needs to be used prior to the first frost. So depending on the region where it’s grown, you have a 7 to 10 month window (basically not winter). But the vast majority of the ginger grown today is cultivated, not wild.
HOW SHOULD GINGER BE STORED?
Store it unpeeled in a sealed bag in your refrigerator. If already peeled and grated, freeze it instead (also in a sealed bag). One enterprising individual claims the best way to keep this raw tuber crisp is to store it in vodka!
IS IT TRUE THAT RED HEADED “GINGER” HAIR WAS BEHIND THE INVENTION OF FIRE?
The titan Prometheus was punished by his boss Zeus for giving the secret of fire to mankind. One lesser known theory is that to make sure humans didn’t lose this gift, he imbibed it into the very blood of a select few. Upon receiving this secret, their hair turned bright red and spots of ash, or freckles, covered their bodies. And thus the first red heads were born. Sadly in British English “ginger” still has pejorative connotations regarding this hair color.