A rhizome (root) of a plant native to Asia, ginger, aka Zingiber officinale, is also a popular remedy for digestive distress and nausea relief. Recent medical research has focused on ginger’s potential to reduce osteoarthritis pain and to lower cholesterol and improve blood-sugar levels.
The fresher the ginger, the spicier and more beneficial it is. Enjoy these creative ways to get more of this super-healthy spice.
Whole Fresh Ginger
Look for unblemished, firm and unwrinkled ginger root in the produce section. Fresh ginger will keep for about one week refrigerated. Or peel, slice into ¼-inch rounds and freeze for later. Whole fresh ginger works well for smoothies, soups, stews and stir-fries.
Creative use: Warming or iced tea. Peel and slice two to three ¼-inch rounds into a mug. Pour boiling water over the slices and let steep for 5 minutes. Remove ginger slices, add ½ to 1 teaspoon honey, and finish with a squeeze of lemon (for extra vitamin C). Pour over ice or refrigerate if a cool sip is desired.
Available in the Asian cooking section of natural markets. Fantastic if you dread peeling and chopping whole fresh ginger or are a time-strapped home cook. If a recipe doesn’t specifically call for fresh ginger (which remains in large chunks), this is a good option.
Creative use: Give a fresh zing to baked goods. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons chopped ginger to sweet bread or muffin batter, or whip up ginger pancakes.
Also available in the Asian cooking section of natural markets. Ginger juice can be added to marinades, stir-fries, soups—or even cocktails.
Creative use: Nonalcoholic spritzer. Add 1 teaspoon ginger juice and 1 tablespoon of agave to 1 cup sparkling water or tonic water. If you prefer sweet, add more agave. For a festive look, garnish with candied ginger.