This plant native to India is characterized by its slightly spicy and peppery flavours. Its use in infusion brings great originality to our creations.
Ginger, a plant with recognized digestive benefits and a very characteristic taste.
Origins of ginger
Ginger is a plant native to India and Malaysia. Exploring the current coast of Kerala in southern India in the 13th century, Marco Polo was probably the first Westerner to see Ginger, already known in Europe in antiquity, but Greek and Roman cuisines don't seem to have taken much interest in it. It spread mainly from the 9th century onwards on our continent, where its relatively moderate price (a pound of Ginger nevertheless cost as much as a sheep) allowed it to gain ground.
Ginger once had a great reputation: it was considered capable of curing the plague and was used as an effective antihysterical. It was recommended against dental ailments and was, as such, used in the composition of certain toothpastes. It is also part of the formula of the officinal "Fioravanti alcoholic drink". It was assumed to have exciting properties on the genital tract. It was used as an aphrodisiac and in veterinary medicine it was used in some fertilizing powders.
In China, Ginger was offered as a gift to the newlyweds. This gesture was linked to the aphrodisiac aspect but also to the positive values of Ginger, supposed to bring good luck to the couple.
Characteristics of ginger
Name: Zingiber officinale
Species: Perennial plant
Ginger is a medium-sized perennial plant. It is now grown in all tropical regions of the world. Its large, fleshy rhizome, extremely aromatic, has upright stems, covered with narrow, elongated, sheathed leaves and irregular, greenish-yellow, red-edged flowers. The flavour of the rhizome is warm and spicy. The Ginger rhizome contains a resin and aromatic essence rich in sesquiterpenic carbides including zingiberene. Gingerols are the source of its powerful flavour.
There are different varieties of Ginger. Wild Ginger," the "Asarum canadense" of its botanical name, can be found in North America. Its roots have aromatic properties similar to those of the most common variety of Ginger, "Zingiber officinale". Another variety of Ginger is also known as "Curcuma longa". This variety is very present on the Reunion Island where it is nicknamed "Ginger-Safran". Its flavour is sweet and aromatic, its pulp has a pink or even orange colour. There is yet another variety of Ginger in Reunion Island called "Mango Ginger", the "Curcuma amada" of its botanical name. Its flavour is reminiscent of green Mango but also of Carrot.
Uses of ginger
Ginger is a spice commonly used in Great Britain, the United States and Australia. It is an essential ingredient in pastries such as famous "ginger breads" or flavoured cupcakes that are often served with tea.
Ginger is often associated with Cinnamon, its taste blending very well with this spice. In the culinary arts, it is used to season puddings or other desserts and adds an exotic note to jams, marmalades or compotes.
Ginger is also used to flavour drinks. In some places, you can find Ginger-flavoured beers or carbonated water. In some countries, this type of water is used to lengthen a gin or whisky.
Benefits of ginger
Ginger is recommended in case of digestive disorders and gastrointestinal infections.
In China, where this plant has been used for 2,500 years, fresh Ginger rhizome is commonly prescribed against colds and effectively relieves colds, flu and other respiratory problems.
In addition, Ginger improves capillary circulation and raises blood pressure.
It is very effective against motion sickness and postoperative nausea. Recent studies have confirmed its safety in pregnancy and it can relieve nausea.