Ginger is the dried knobby shaped root of the perennial herb Zingiber officinale. The plant grows two to three feet tall. Once the leaves of the plant die, the thick roots, about 6 inches long, are dug up. Crystallized ginger is fresh gingerroot cooked in a sugar syrup and dried.
Ginger is used in Indian curries, and in Chinese, Japanese, and European spice blends.
China and India are the principal sources of ginger. The majority of crystallized ginger is imported from Australia and Asia.
During the 15th century, gingerbread became a gift of love and respect. In the 1800's, ginger was commonly sprinkled on top of beer or ale, then stirred into the drink with a hot poker--thus the invention of ginger ale.
Ginger continues to be one of the world's most important spices, with U.S. consumption increasing 256 percent during the past 20 years. It adds heat with floral, citrus notes, making it a perfect ingredient for adding multi-dimensional flavor to a variety of recipes. Many chefs consider ginger a “secret ingredient” because its flavor marries well with other herbs and spices. Ginger is commonly used in the cuisines of Asia, North Africa, Europe, India, and the Caribbean.
What The Experts Say
"Ginger is a great flavor booster for salt-free rubs," says Chef Tim Keating, of Quattro at the Four Seasons in Houston. "We also use ginger in a variety of broths and flavored butters."
Perfect Flavor Partners Include:
allspice, bay leaf, black pepper, cardamom, chile peppers, cinnamon, cloves, coconut, garlic, kaffir lime, lemon, lemongrass, and turmeric
Ground: light bone to tan
Flavor & Aroma
Pungent and aromatic
The flavor of ginger is characterized by its unique combination of lemon, citrus, soapy and musty/earthy flavor notes. It is warming to taste.