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Where Does Ginger Come From

by Dan Hughes
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Where Does Ginger Come From

Where Does Ginger Come From

During the growth season, the ginger vine produces clusters of little yellow blooms at ground level. Long, thin pods carrying luscious pink berries that turn crimson or green when ripe follow these beautiful blossoms. When the thick rootstock is freshly cut, it has a pungent odor, but this diminishes fast as the slices dry.
The rhizome, which is what remains after all the fleshy sections of the stem have been removed, has a variety of applications. It can be consumed raw, sliced, grated, juiced, brewed into tea or candies, and even turned into frying oil. In reality, most people only use ginger after it has been dried and processed, despite the fact that it may be prepared fresh in only a few minutes. So, where does ginger originate? And how did it come up with its moniker? Let’s look at it more closely.
Although ginger may sound like something you’d find in your grandmother’s kitchen, it’s really fairly trendy nowadays. Its spicy flavor is enjoyed by people all over the world in salads, sweets, beverages and cocktails, soups, stir fries, and sushi. But how can we transform this fibrous, aromatic root into one of our favorite spices? Let’s start with where ginger originates from.

The genus “Zingiber,” which translates to “zingiber” in Sanskrit, contains more than 20 species of plants native to Southeast Asia. Turmeric, black pepper, cardamom, galangal, kaffir lime leaves, scallions, garlic chives, Chinese onion, shiitake mushrooms, and lemongrass are all part of this category. All of these plants have edible bulbs, roots, and stems, with the exception of ginger, whose rhizomes are commonly utilized in industry.

But why ginger instead of other members of its family? One reason is the flavor. It is not just pungently garlicky, but the flavors vary depending on the variety. For example, the greatest Japanese ginger, known as keiso, is more sweeter and less spicy than American ginger grown near the border between the United States and Canada. If you want to experience a variety of gingers, go to Portland’s annual Ginger Festival in October. On Water Avenue, you’ll find dozens of sellers selling their indigenous gourmet delicacies.

In addition, unlike turmeric, ginger does not stain garments, making it ideal for use in the kitchen. Finally, while it may seem unusual, there is evidence that ginger may help lessen the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.

Let’s talk about how to collect and process ginger now that we know where it grows and why we should eat it. We’ll begin with the harvesting process because it’s the most straightforward. Hundreds of tons of fresh young rhizomes are plucked from the ground each year by farmers. The zingibers are immediately transferred to processing facilities after being picked, where they are washed, sorted, and graded according to size and quality. Workers use a sharp blade to slice up the ginger once the required amount has been determined. They’re then put into bins until the processors determine what to do with them. The product is next processed with various chemicals to remove moisture, depending on whether it will be used in pickles, preserves, or candies. Some corporations use preservatives to extend the shelf life of their products, but others don’t because they believe consumers have enough reasons to shun genetically modified goods.

Let’s take a look at the history of ginger. Ginger didn’t truly catch on among Western civilizations until the 17th century, despite the fact that ancient Egyptians had a love affair with it thousands of years ago. Dutch traders began transporting the plant from India to Europe around this time. Because the spice was frequently blended with molasses or sugar to make it easier to transport, Europeans gave it the nickname geen melk (which translates to “sugar ginger”). With time, the word “ginger” came to be associated with any spice that smelled strongly of cloves, nutmeg, or mace.

Let’s move on to some fun facts now that we know where ginger originates from and how it’s processed. Did you know that every dinner in Japan included rice with ginger? Or the fact that Indonesian women put the spice directly onto their tummies before donning traditional attire? Whatever your feelings towards ginger, there’s no denying that its appeal has spread far beyond its Southeast Asian beginnings.

Did you know that you can order ginger from the comfort of your own home? Yes, it is correct! Several stores specialize in selling a variety of products such as oils, vinegars, teas, and candies. The fact that these products use organic, sustainable farming methods and ethically sourced ingredients sets them apart. Also, if you live somewhere other than North America or the United Kingdom, you can undoubtedly order large quantities of the product through Amazon.com. Keep in mind that shipping costs vary depending on the location.

Ginger ale is a popular alternative to soda pop for certain individuals. Although it sounds better, isn’t it unhealthy to combine alcohol and carbonation? Yes, it is correct. Phosphates, which are hazardous to both people and animals, are found in carbonated beverages. In addition to making us seek sugary treats, phosphorus causes bloating, constipation, and heartburn. Fortunately, you can create your own non-alcoholic ginger beer at home without fear of dangerous additions. Simply crush a handful of fresh ginger root, add two cups of water to a pot, and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and set it aside to cool. Using cheesecloth, strain the liquid and store it in an airtight container. You can sweeten with honey or cane sugar if you prefer.

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