-The most important
and valued spices
Ginger root is used extensively as a spice
in many if not most cuisines of the world. (Zingiber officinale-biological
The active constituent of fresh ginger
is gingerol. When ginger is dried, the gingerol molecules are converted
into the much more pungent shogaols. Cooking ginger transforms gingerol
into zingerone, which is less pungent and has a spicy-sweet aroma.
They are often pickled in vinegar or just cooked as an ingredient
in many dishes.
The juice from old ginger roots is extremely
potent and is often used as a spice to cover up other strong odours
and flavors such as in seafood and mutton.
Ginger is also made into candy, is used
as a flavoring for cookies, biscuits and cake, and is the main flavor
in ginger ale, a sweet, carbonated, non-alcoholic beverage.
Ginger has a sialagogue action, stimulating
the production of saliva.
It is an effective treatment for nausea
caused by motion sickness, morning sickness or other illness. Ginger
root also contains many antioxidants. Powdered dried ginger root
is made into pills for medicinal use.
Ginger ale and ginger beer have been recommended as "stomach
settlers" for generations in countries where the beverages
are made. Ginger water was commonly used to avoid heat cramps.
Economics and distribution
Ginger is grown throughout the tropical
areas of the world. The most expensive and highest quality varieties
generally come from Australia, South India, and Jamaica, while most
mass market ginger is grown in China.