Thursday, November 1, 2018

How to Use Ginger in Recipes for Healing and Flavor




Ginger (Zingiber officinale) has a well-earned reputation for curing motion sickness, diarrhea, nausea, and indigestion. It helps calm colic, irritable bowel, poor circulation, menstrual cramps, colds, and flu. It also can reduce gastrointestinal issues like gas, bloating, and lack of appetite.


Ever feel like this?

Fresh ginger has high levels of vitamin C, amino acids, and trace elements including calcium, zinc, sodium, and phosphorus. 

I love the spicy tang of fresh ginger in many of the colorful vegetable dishes I prepare. It's my favorite go-to spice in tofu and tempeh dishes, lentil stew, and Asian Napa Cabbage, Mushroom Stir Fry. 



For an easy, tangy non-fat salad dressing recipe see bean, garlic, ginger salad dressing.


Ginger comes in six forms: fresh, dried, pickled, preserved, candied/crystallized, and powdered/ground, each with its distinct taste. 

Herbs like basil and parsley come from the leafy part of plants, and spices like ginger and garlic are extracted from the root, stem, bulb, bark, or seeds of their respective plants.

Fresh ginger is light/bright yellow inside(depending on the variety and freshness) with a brown-skin wrapping. 

Be sure to select pieces that are firm to the touch. If the skin appears to be wrinkled, shriveled, or moldy don't get it. 

When shopping for ginger, it's acceptable to break off a piece, because it's usually sold by weight. 

If you purchase more than you can use within a few days, peel and freeze the rest. It will keep for several months in the freezer.

Thaw frozen ginger by cutting off the size piece you need, and place that into a little cup. Then cover the ginger with boiling water. Allow it to soak for a few minutes, and it will be ready to use.

An appealing aspect of fresh ginger is its aromatic, spicy yet mildly sweet flavor, which adds warm, energizing notes to foods or drinks. 

A delicious way to use fresh ginger is in this gingery cannellini bean, mushroom, baby spinach saute pictured below. 




Gingery Cannellini Bean, Mushroom, Baby Spinach Saute


Ingredients:

1 medium size yellow onion chopped
2 cloves garlic
1-1 in. slice fresh ginger
1/2 cup (approx. 4 oz.) fresh or canned button, cremini, or baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
1 can (14 oz.) cannellini beans rinsed and drained
6 cups fresh baby spinach, washed and drained
Bragg Liquid Aminos or low sodium soy sauce

Shop for organic ingredients whenever possible. At the very least, select foods that haven't been genetically modified. Organic foods taste better and are higher in nutrients than conventionally grown ones.

What to do:

Before you prepare this recipe, wash your hands and put on kitchen gloves. 

1. Saute onion in a saute or fry pan on medium heat. Use a drop or two of fresh water or vegetable broth instead of oil, and cook until onion turns slightly yellow. 

2. Turn off stove for a few moments. Use a hand held grater with large grating holes to grate ginger right into the saute pan. I use this size grater, because ginger root is relatively fibrous. Scrape off any particles that remain on the back of the grater, and add them to the pan. Then grate garlic directly into saute pan too. 

3. Turn stove back on (medium heat), add a drop or two more water, and add sliced mushrooms. Cover and saute until soft and juicy.

4. Add a can of cannellini beans or substitute any variety of beans you like. The  light beige color of cannellini beans looks attractive in this dish, yet I've substituted great northern or kidney beans. They work just as well to add eye appeal and a sense of creaminess to the palette.

5. If you want to amp up the protein, add a few small chunks of organic tofu (3 oz. for each portion) and cook until flavor from the ginger and garlic is melded in. Add baby spinach next, and cover again. Cook until spinach is wilted, and soft enough to chew easily.

Note: This dish is very adaptable. You may add other veggies including red pepper, celery, carrots, and zucchini, or ones you have on hand. Allow extra time for cooking and add extra seasoning as well.

6. At the table, season with salt, freshly ground black pepper, Bragg Liquid Aminos or low sodium soy sauce. This dish tastes delicious hot or at room temperature. 

This recipe is good to serve to 3-4 people. If you're one or two people, it provides food to use for another meal. When those in your family have hearty appetites, serve with steamed brown rice or soba noodles and salad.


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Another recipe that's quick, tasty, healthy, and color-rich is carrot ginger soup for two from Judee Algazi A-Z Gluten Free Blog.


carrot soup
Picture Source Judee Algazi


A third way to use ginger for healing and flavor is to brew it as a spicy tea. The recipe is one I've used hundreds of times over the years, and now I share it with you!


Recipe for Spicy, Mighty Ginger Tea 






Ingredients:

2 in. chunk of fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced into little pieces
2 to 2 1/2 cups fresh water 
Optional ingredients:
Fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice to taste
1/2-1 teaspoon Stevia or other healthy sweetener of your choosing

What to do:

1. Boil water in a kettle or saucepan. Place ginger in a china or pottery teapot. Pour boiling water into teapot (over the ginger). Cover, and steep for 10-20 minutes. 

2. The longer you steep ginger the more healing oils will be infused (decocted) into the liquid. 

3. Pour ginger tea into cups or mugs and serve. You can also refrigerate it. Serve in chilled glasses with a touch of mint for a lively summer time treat.

Ginger tea is caffeine free and considered an herbal tea, even though it's a spice. This tea will calm a queasy stomach, and is great to serve during cold and flu season. It helps digestion, and is a treat any time of the year you drink it.


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My research shows that fresh ginger tea contains volatile oils and pungent phenol compounds that have healing power.

For more on ginger's health benefits see this video from Michael Greger MD on-ginger-for-obesity-and-fatty-liver-disease/

This study shows that ginger is an effective, inexpensive way to curtail nausea and vomiting during pregnancy and Chemotherapy.

Be adventurous, and add fresh chopped, grated, or minced ginger to your favorite recipes to spice up your creations. It adds tangy flavor notes to foods and drinks, as well as improves our sense of well-being.

Please comment and re-share to spread the word about the many benefits of ginger (with a link back to this post). 

Do you use ginger, both as a home remedy and food seasoning? I'd love to hear from you. 


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2 comments:


  1. Good advice. I recently found a ginger and tumeric tea. It's not the best tasting, but it is pretty good. I am trying t determine if it is making a difference. I usually buy fresh ginger from our Farmer's market but then I forget to use it. *sigh*

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  2. Thanks +Clearissa Coward for the visit and comment. That combo sounds interesting. I love the zing of ginger's taste. Wishing you better luck remembering to use it next time. Warm regards, Nan

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