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Ginger Rules!

For good “grub” and a groovy gut, ginger rules! Fresh, dried, pickled or candied, spicy, earthy ginger adds zing to these favorite recipes.

Hippocrates once said, “Let food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food.” These wise words of wisdom are no secret to many ancient traditions of healing. In fact, there are plenty of age-old references to many common “pantry items” such as herbs and spices for supporting health, none of which is better known than ginger. This tropical aromatic rhizome (an underground stem that sends out roots and shoots from its nodes) was famous in ancient and modern time, and used as a delicious addition to Asian and Indian dishes, desserts, beverages, candies, teas and natural health supplements.Ginger thrives in warm, tropical weather. Currently it is cultivated in India, China, West Africa, the West Indies, Jamaica, the Caribbean, and here at home in Hawaii, Florida and Texas. It’s a rare person who is not familiar with its pungent, sweet, spicy taste and earthy, woody appearance and fragrance.

Used by ancient peoples as a method of preserving food, ginger was also used to support healthy digestion, and in fact, it still is! As a child, I remember my parents giving us ginger ale if we felt queasy or nauseous. Ginger can be helpful for motion sickness, too. Ginger chews are great to take along when travelling. Currently, ginger is being studied for possible benefits on heart health. The active components of ginger are phenols (chemical compounds found in plants) called gingerols and shogaols. You can find ginger in tea and other beverages; it’s also found preserved, pickled, candied, crystallized, fresh, dried, and encapsulated!Remember, when it comes to cooking with ginger, you can use fresh chopped or grated (be sure to peel it first), dried powdered, candied or crystallized. All are delicious, and many recipes combine more than one variety. Here are some favorite ginger ideas:

If you are not used to spicy foods, go easy with ginger at first. Gradually build up to your personal liking.Are you a ginger groupie? Got a favorite recipe, tea or medicinal use? Let me know!

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