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What Can I Use Instead Of Ginger

by Dan Hughes
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What Can I Use Instead Of Ginger

What Can I Use Instead Of Ginger

Ginger has long been hailed as one of Mother Nature’s greatest gifts to mankind. Its use stretches back thousands of years, and it was even mentioned by Homer as far back as 800 B.C., when he wrote about its healing properties.
Today, the spice still holds strong against bacteria-causing superbugs like MRSA. In fact, new research shows that a compound in ginger may help fight antibiotic-resistant strains of staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The study subjects were given ginger extracts with antibacterial properties along with antibiotics, which are known to kill off good bacteria. Those who took the ginger extract showed signs of recovery sooner than those on only the antibiotics.
But how does this spicy root work its magic? Ginger contains compounds called shogaols, which are volatile oils that give it its distinctive smell. When chewed raw or grated into a paste, the oils release their aromatic scent and promote circulation to the gums and teeth. That helps prevent gum disease and tooth decay.
In addition to being an effective mouthwash, ginger stimulates blood flow throughout the body, including to the heart. This is part of what makes it such an important part of Ayurvedic medicine. According to Dr. Andrew Weil, author of numerous books on herbs and nutrition, “There are few foods that can offer more health benefits than ginger.” He goes on to say that ginger has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, and reduces joint pain. Plus, it strengthens bones and improves digestion.
If you’re already familiar with ginger’s many culinary uses, then you might not need much convincing to try using it as a base for healthy homemade salad dressings. But if you’re unfamiliar with its flavors, don’t worry! Here are a few recipes to whet your appetite.
Tossing Salad
2 cups freshly chopped cilantro leaves
3 tablespoons minced garlic
4 teaspoons peeled and finely shredded fresh ginger
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sesame oil
¼ cup rice wine vinegar
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable broth
Salt to taste
Mix all ingredients together in small bowl until well combined. Store covered in refrigerator up to 3 days. Shake before serving. Makes approximately 4 cups dressing.
Sautéed Broccoli Spears
2 bunches broccolini (about 8 ounces each)
2 cloves minced garlic
1-inch piece peeled fresh gingerroot, cut into matchsticks
1 tablespoon soy sauce
Cook broccoli according to package directions; drain excess liquid. Heat wok over medium heat until hot. Add garlic and ginger; sauté 1 minute. Stir in broccoli, soy sauce and salt to taste. Sauté another minute. Transfer to a serving dish. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
Miso Soup
This soup is rich and hearty enough to serve as a meal in itself. Miso is fermented soybean paste with a salty tangy flavor. It adds depth and complexity to soups and sauces alike. You can buy miso at most Asian markets or online from Japan Foods Direct.
2 quarts chicken stock
1 yellow onion, quartered
6 scallions, sliced diagonally
1 bunch green cabbage, coarsely chopped
8 ounces baby bok choy, quartered lengthwise
1 head cauliflower, broken into florets
12 ounces firm tofu, drained and cut into ½ inch cubes
5 tablespoons white miso
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
Bring stock, onion, and scallions to a boil in large pot. Reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 minutes. Add cabbage and continue cooking 5 minutes longer. Add bok choy and cauliflower; cook another 2 minutes. Stir in miso and sugar. Remove and cool slightly. Serve warm. Serves 10.
Garlic Oil
Oil made with extra virgin olive oil and garlic is a popular condiment around the Mediterranean region. Although it’s typically served drizzled over grilled meats, seafood and vegetables, you can also add it to vinaigrettes, salads, marinades and dips. It’s easy to make but takes some time because it must sit for several weeks before bottling. To speed up the process, buy whole heads of garlic instead of individual cloves. Look for bottles labeled “garlic oil” rather than just “oil.”
To prepare garlic oil, peel and crush a full head of garlic. Put the peeled garlic directly into clean glass jar. Pour in enough olive oil to completely cover the garlic and fill the jar up to within ¼ inch of the top. Screw on the lid tightly and shake vigorously to combine the oil and garlic. Set the jar aside in a dry place away from direct sun light. After three weeks, strain out the solids through cheesecloth, squeezing gently to remove every last bit of juice. Refrigerate in airtight container indefinitely. Makes approximately 1 gallon.

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