I´m a fan of ginger and thats why I will try to let you know a little about this remakable root. For some years in the western world ginger is becoming increasingly important. In most supermarkets you can buy the fresh tubers; health-food stores and China shops offer dried ginger, ginger powder is found in many spice racks. Ginger is one of the worlds oldest spices and medicinal plants. In Aryurveda and in traditional chinese medicine, it is valued for its inside warming effect. The Indian Ayurvedic calls ginger a panacea because of its astonishingly numerous of applications. In Chinese herbal medicine ginger combined with ginseng and licorice, is called one of the three great rejuvenators. In the Far East, ginger is natural part of everydays life: about two billion people use ginger for seasoning their daily food and drink. With ginger you can prevent disease and help the healing processes
Lets get a little into history of ginger
The ginger originates from the humid tropical jungles of Central and South East Asia. Exactly where, unfortunately nobody knows anymore. It´s assumed that among other places, the island of Java, one of the four main islands of the Republic of Indonesia in the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Islands or the Bismarck Archipelago in the Western Pacific, part of Melanesia, a group of Islands northeast of Australia.
Oral traditions from China and India reported, that allready in the third millennium before Christ ginger has played a big role as a herb, as medicine and as drug for religious ceremonies. Even in the Vedas, the oldest religious scriptures and the foundations of Hinduism, whose earliest parts were created about 1200 years before Christ, ginger and its curative effect is mentioned. And the Koran and the Bibel discribe ginger grass as one of the oldest medicinal plants.
In the second millennium before Christ sailors in Southeast Asia already knew that one can prevent or heal travel sickness with ginger. During the travels they brought ginger to egypt where spices where considered very valuable and where used for bodycare and ritual acts. The Egyptians made the ginger to the second most traded commodity next to the cinnamon.
Exactly when and how the ginger came to China, is not known but it is said about Confucius, the famous philosopher of the fifth century befor Christ, that he ate ginger at every meal.
Alexander the Great brought the ginger back to greece from his war campaigns into Egypt around the Year 332.
The Romans also appriciated ginger a lot. Ginger was not only regarded as a precious Spice, but was also one of the most important medicines of the Roman Empire. Roman Doctors took them with them when they accompanied the troops on their field campaigns.
The doctors in the Middle Ages, recommended ginger for all sorts of pains and ailments, but also against serious diseases. It was know for its restorative, purifiying and revitalizing effect, as the epithet "Divine Fire" documents. Ingwer temprorarily even displaced pepper, and his hotness was in no way inferior to pepper.
Hildegard of Bingen (1098 - 1179) prescribed to heir patients ginger for stomach pains, constipation, as digestive aids and externally against tetter or lichen. But she also warned about its heat effect which could people make horny - something that was not a desired effect in official Christianity of the Middle Ages :-) .
In the 16th century, the Spaniards brought ginger to its colony of Jamaica where its cultivation went very well, and exported it later from there to Europe.
In the 17th and 18th century ginger was forgotten, only in England, he still enjoyed great popularity.
Jamaican ginger extract (known in the United States by the slang name Jake) was a late 19th century patent medicine that provided a convenient way to bypass Prohibition laws, since it contained between 70-80% ethanol by weight. Jake was not itself dangerous, but the U.S. Treasury Department, which administered the Prohibition laws, recognized its potential as an illicit alcohol source and required changes in the solids content of jake to discourage drinking. The minimum requirement of ginger solids per cubic centimeter of alcohol resulted in a fluid that was extremely bitter and difficult to drink. Occasionally, Department of Agriculture inspectors would test shipments of jake by boiling the solution and weighing the remaining solid residue. In an effort to trick regulators, bootleggers replaced the ginger solids with a small amount of ginger and either castor oil or molasses.
A pair of amateur chemists and bootleggers, Harry Gross and Max Reisman, worked to develop an alternative adulterant that would pass the tests, but still be somewhat palatable. They settled on a plasticizer, tri-o-tolyl phosphate (also known as tri-ortho cresyl phosphate, TOCP, or Tricresyl phosphate), that was able to pass the Treasury Department's tests but preserved jake's drinkability. TOCP was originally thought to be non-toxic; however, it was later determined to be a neurotoxin that causes axonal damage to the nerve cells in the nervous system of human beings, especially those located in the spinal cord. The resulting type of paralysis is now referred to as organophosphate-induced delayed neuropathy (OPIDN).
In 1930, large numbers of jake users began to lose the use of their hands and feet. Some victims could walk, but they had no control over the muscles which would normally have enabled them to point their toes upward. Therefore, they would raise their feet high with the toes flopping downward, which would touch the pavement first followed by their heels. The toe first, heel second pattern made a distinctive “tap-click, tap-click" sound as they walked. This very peculiar gait became known as the jake walk and those afflicted were said to have jake leg, jake foot, or jake paralysis.
Within a few months, the TOCP-adulterated jake was identified as the cause of the paralysis and the contaminated jake was recovered, but it was too late for many victims. Some users recovered full or partial use of their limbs, but for most, the loss was permanent. The total number of victims was never accurately determined, but is frequently quoted as between 30,000 and 50,000. Many victims were immigrants to the United States and most were poor with little political or social influence. The victims received very little assistance, and aside from being the subject of a few blues songs recorded in the early 1930s (e.g. "Jake Walk Papa" by Asa Martin and "Jake Leg Blues" by the Mississippi Sheiks), they were almost completely forgotten.
In the sixtees Ingwer came unnoticed back to germany, he is part of the spice mixture for the "currywurst" most people don´t even know that
In many countries, there are customs of which are in connexion with ginger. Some appear to us in a very unusual....
In ancient China, they hung two slices of fresh ginger on the side of the house altar or put a few of its rhizomes to the offerings to propitiate the gods, so they sent male offspring. For the banquet in honor of the son and heir, there was a dish of pickled ginger slices, which were stained pink with vinegar, which ment luck. After birth, the mother was given a soup made of pig's trotter and sweet dark vinegar, which was prepared with ginger and hard-boiled egg. The ginger made sure that the blood flows. A chicken soup with ginger, wine and peanuts helped the mother to regain her strength and was also offered to visitors
In ancient Ireland there were on Eastersunday, for the celebration of the end of Lent, lamb or ham. The lamb was traditionally seasoned with fresh ginger
With sushi are served paper-thin slices of ginger pickled in vinegar. The ginger cleanses the palate so that the taste of the one dish did not affect the taste of the following dish
Korean cooks use ginger to prevent the smell which generates from cooking dogmeat
Malaysia and Indonesia
In those Countries mothers who have just given birth are getting gingersoup for 30 days afterwards to sweat of all impurities
In the 13th century, taking a powder which consisted, inter alia from opium, cubeb, ginger, cloves, nutmeg and sandalwood, should supposingly increase the libido. In Indonesia ginger is an aphrodisiac for men and women.
Storage and Types of Ginger
Young Ginger is used in making Syrup, Tea or candied ginger. If gingertubes are kept longer in the earth the ginger becomes hotter and the ginger becomes more stringily. Thus kind of ginger is sold as powderform. The root that we buy is not the real root but the sprawling plantstem which grows beneath the earth called rhizom.
Whole dried ginger can be kept up to four years. Ginger powder can, with suitable storage conditions (dry, 15-20 ° C) be stored upto three years, but looses fast its aroma. Fresh Ginger keeps a few weeks stored in your fridge. Best to keep it in a tupperware, if you keep it in a fridge unwrapped it will try out very fast, if you put it into a plastikbag it will grow mouldy very fast
mildest kind of ginger, its slightly stringy
shows off with rather big tubers
sweetly and lemonly
has a slightly higher moisture content than other varieties and thus never appears dry. He is unsulphured has no fiber, such as China or Thai ginger and has a pleasant spicy taste
has an very intensive aroma
is smaller but more aromatic than the cultivated varieties. The flavor is intense and spicy, fresh, not biting like garlic or onions
Alpinia galanga, a plant in the ginger family, is an herb used in cooking, especially in Indonesian cuisine and Thai cuisine. It is one of four plants known as galangal, and is differentiated from the others with the common name greater galangal (or simply Thai galangal). The galangals are also called blue ginger or Thai ginger. Galangal has a sharp, peppery taste. You cut it finely and mix it with chili and other spices and herbs. Thus it forms a base for curries, soups and stews. The Thai people swear by the medicinal effects of Galangal.
Westafrica-Ginger is extra hot
Cardamon and Tumeric also belong to the ginger family
Sources: Wikipedia and Gesund mit Ingwer (Ellen Heidböhmer)