Energetics of Ginger: Old School Cool

I love ginger, not just for its spicy and zesty flavor, but for its anti-inflammatory and pain relieving benefits! Ginger has its origins in China and Southeast Asia and has even been mentioned in many ancient texts from other countries like India and the Middle East.  It is now grown in several tropical areas around the world, with Jamaica producing the most expensive and sought after variety.

 

 

Varieties

Ginger comes in 3 forms; fresh, dried, and crystallized.

Fresh ginger is the most nutritious and best tasting version. When shopping for fresh ginger always look for ones that are firm, shiny and smooth.  Avoid any that are wrinkled, soft or cracked, as they have lost most of their flavor and pungency.  There are 2 varieties of fresh ginger, mature or young.  Mature ginger is the most widely available type and has a tough skin that requires peeling. Young ginger is usually only found in select Asian markets and does not need to be peeled. To persevere the nutrients the best way to store ginger is to put it in the fridge, where it will keep for up to 3 weeks if unpeeled. To extend the freshness you can freeze ginger for up to 6 months.

Dried ginger is usually sold in the spice aisle, usually as in powder form. It can also be found dried whole.  Unlike fresh ginger, the flavor profiles of dried ginger are much less pungent.  Dried ginger should be stored in an air tight glass container in a cool, dark, dry place. To extend the shelf life for up to a full year, store the container in the fridge.

Crystallized ginger is candied ginger.  One of my favorite sweet treats! It is available in any grocery store.

 

 

 

How to Choose and Store

The best way to cook with fresh ginger is to add it to your dish at the end of the cooking time. It can slap be sprinkled on after it has been cooked.

The best way to cook with dried ginger is to add it at the beginning of cooking time, so that it can have a chance to cook down and release its flavor.

 

Nutrition

This may come as a total surprise, but ginger is amazing at promoting digestive health. Ginger is known to alleviate the symptoms of gastrointestinal distress, relax the intestinal tract, and reduce intestinal gas. It is also beneficial at alleviating nausea and vomiting, especially in pregnant women and seasick people.  Ginger is also a great anti-inflammatory agent, as it contains gingerols. Gingerol is an anti-inflammatory compound that has shown to help reduce both pain and swelling associated with muscular discomfort.  Ginger is also a concentrated source of heart-healthy magnesium, vitamin B6 and potassium, and free-radical scavenging manganese and copper.

Energetics

Fresh ginger is used to break down high-protein foods, such as meat and beans.  It also lessen the effect of uric acid in the body from these sources.

Fresh and dried ginger is used to treat nausea, vomiting, morning sickness, menstrual cramps, suppressed mensuration, bronchitis, aches, and spasms/twitches.

Dried ginger helps promote and distribute the energetic properties of other foods to the lower extremities- the colon, kidneys, ovaries, sexual organs and legs.  Dried ginger also treats motion sickness.

Caution: Do not eat ginger when there are signs of heat present.

Carrot Ginger Soup

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots (6-7 large carrots), peeled and sliced thin
  • 2 cups chopped white or yellow onion
  • Salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 large strips of zest from an orange
  • Chopped chives, parsley, dill or fennel for garnish

1 Sauté onions and carrots: Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat and cook the onions and carrots, stirring occasionally, until the onions soften, about 5 to 8 minutes. Do not let the onions or carrots brown. Sprinkle a teaspoon of salt over the carrots and onions as they cook.

 

2 Add stock and water, ginger, and strips of orange zest. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook until the carrots soften, about 20 minutes.

 

3 Remove the strips of orange zest! It’s easy to forget this step, and if you forget and purée the soup with the strips of zest still in it, the soup may be too bitter for your taste.

4 Purée soup: Purée the soup with a stick blender, or working in small batches, pour the soup into a blender and purée until completely smooth. Only fill the blender bowl a third full with the hot liquid and keep one hand pressing down on the cap of the blender to keep it from popping off.

 

5 Add more salt to taste.  (You will need more salt if you are using homemade unsalted stock or unsalted butter.)

6 Finish: Garnish with chopped chives, parsley, or fennel fronds.

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