Ginger is valued as a spice, cut into small pieces as a salad ingredient or in teas. With a ceramic ginger grater its advantages come into their own.
Ginger sticks covered with chocolate used to be a popular sweets, but today they eke out a shadowy existence. Ginger is right after pepper in the popularity scale of the spices in second place among the Germans. Brits, Americans and Scandinavians are considered true ginger fans and use a ceramic ginger grater.
Sailors used ginger as a remedy for seasickness, stomach cramps and circulatory problems. Fishermen on the Caribbean islands still chew ginger roots as a preventative measure when they go out to sea.
Confucius seasoned every meal with ginger
Ginger is one of the oldest spices. It has been cultivated as a spice and medicinal plant for around 4000 years. First in his native Southeast Asia, later in India and East Africa. The Chinese religious founder Confucius (551 to 479 BC) is said to have seasoned every dish with ginger.
The name ginger comes from the ancient Indian “srngavera” (horn-shaped). The name can be recognized in almost all languages: “zingiberis” in Greek, “zingiber”, “zenzero” in Italian, “gingembre” in French and “ginger” in English.
In ancient times, Arab spice dealers brought ginger to Rome. Roots survived transport better and in larger quantities than other, more perishable spices. Because of the luxury tax, ginger was very expensive in ancient Rome.
After the collapse of the Roman Empire, ginger disappeared from European cuisine. Marco Polo rediscovered him in India and China. Ginger found its way to Europe in small quantities, as evidence has been found since the 13th century.
The French cuisine placed more emphasis on the refinement of the taste than on intense, sharp palate experiences. England stayed true to ginger. Elizabeth I is said to have personally invented the gingerbread man spiced with ginger. English brought their preference with them to America. The revolutionary troops had ginger in their packs.
Ginger comes from China
Today it grows in Nigeria, India, Taiwan, Sierra Leone, Australia and China. 80 percent of the ginger traded worldwide comes from China. In India, farmers plant almost thirty different varieties.
The tropical plant (Zingiber officinale Roscoe) reaches up to one meter. The leaves look like reeds and flowers like irises: yellow with purple lips and highly decorative. Only the underground roots are eaten.
This “rhizome” is not a root, but a horizontal shoot that forms further shoots upwards. The plant is propagated via cuttings, which develop into harvest-ready rhizomes within eight to nine months.
At the time of harvesting the palmately branched rhizomes (“claws” or “hands”), above-ground parts of the plant are already dying. The excavated rhizomes are washed and, depending on the growing area and requirements, scalded with boiling water, dried in the sun and removed from the outer layer of cork.
Peeled ginger has a smooth surface, a light yellow to slightly brownish color and only looks bleached after treatment with lime or sulphurous acid. Sulphurizing is necessary for preservation and to prevent mold from developing during drying. Very popular light-colored merchandise comes on the market in pieces or ground.
Ginger in meat loaf and bratwurst
The trade offers ginger in different varieties. The growing area and age influence the quality. The strong aromatic smell and a burning-hot taste characterize ginger. The mostly peeled Jamaican ginger has the finest aroma because of its lemon-like aftertaste.
West African ginger is of poor quality but has the greatest heat. That is why it is widely used in the meat processing industry. For example, ginger is used as an ingredient in spice blends in sausage production in roast sausages, bock beer sausages, poultry beer ham and meat loaf.
We mainly sell hot Chinese ginger. You can get fresh ginger or powder in supermarkets, Asian and delicatessen shops or at greengrocers. Fresh tubers are uniformly whitish, yellow-brown and plump.
Unfortunately, you can only tell the age of the tuber when you cut it open: the older the tuber, the more fibrous the meat.
Storing ginger: Wrap fresh ginger in kitchen paper and place in the plastic bag in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. The tuber can be processed excellently with a ceramic ginger grater.
Ginger in confectionery, beer and chutneys
Young ginger is fruity, tender and juicy, older ginger is hot and coarse-grained. Fresh ginger tastes milder than dried pieces or ginger powder. In the kitchens of the tropical areas mainly fresh tubers are used and with a Ceramic ginger grater processed.
Whether fresh or dried - ginger is indispensable for many dishes and various curry powders. Ginger is popular in Asia for health and wellbeing. Fish and meat dishes also contain ginger, as do desserts, confectionery, cakes, bread, pickles and chutneys in Europe.
Some liqueurs and beers, in England ginger ale, are naturally flavored with ginger. It is also known as a traditional baking and pudding spice or for pickling pumpkins and pears.
Ginger tested at sea and in space
Essential oils are responsible for the piquant, sharp taste. Zingiberol determines the warm woody scent. Gingerol provides the sharp, slightly pungent taste. 40 other ingredients improve the taste and contribute to the shelf life of fatty dishes.
They also promote digestion, stimulate the appetite, increase the secretion of saliva and gastric juice and help against stomach problems. Last but not least, ginger has often been studied as a remedy for seasickness, also known as motion sickness. One study found that ginger was able to reduce dizziness and motion sickness - in an attempt caused by a swiveling chair.
Another study tested 80 Danish navy cadets who were not adapted to sailing in rough seas. One gram of ginger reduced vomiting and cold sweats. Even NASA tested ginger. Astronauts suffer during training, Tests and on their flights suffering from motion sickness.
Scientists compared ginger to scopolamine, an anti-vomiting medicine. NASA researchers found that scopolamine helped the symptoms of motion sickness, while a gram of fresh or dried ginger did nothing.
However, the authors noted that there was a noticeable reduction in vomiting and sweating in the “ginger group.” Ancient empirical knowledge was scientifically confirmed.
Homemade ginger tea
Pour boiling water over a few slices of fresh, peeled ginger and let it steep. Drink sweet and hot to taste. The tea becomes even more aromatic with the ceramic ginger grater. Peel and grate the ginger, pour hot water over it, done!
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