Ginger
- Origin
Ginger is a root of a plant which is cultivated in many regions of Asia. Fresh ginger root is approximately 10cm long and 2cm in diameter. High quality ginger should be fresh, smooth, dense and not too fibrous.
As a medicinal plant, ginger had been known for over 2000 years. Ancient Chinese contain one of the first mentions of ginger. Ancient Greeks and Romans used to buy ginger from Arabian merchants, but never knew about the place of its origin. The merchants always concealed any information about ginger, telling all sorts of fairytales about it. Since the ancient times ginger has been known to stop the bouts of nausea, while Chinese sailors used to chew pieces of ginger root in order to reduce seasickness. In ancient Rome ginger was used as an antiplague remedy and ginger juice cured cuts and burns. However, the most valuable qualities of ginger were perhaps the abilities to slow aging and increase sexual desire.
Nowadays the main manufacturers of ginger are India and China, but it is also grown in Japan, West Africa, Nigeria, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, Ceylon and Barbados.

- Varieties
Ginger is generally sold in pieces 1-2cm long or powdered. There are two types of ginger namely white ginger and black ginger. Essentially, it is the same plant, which had been processed differently. White ginger is washed peeled and dried in the sun, while the black one is boiled and dried in the sun.

- Flavour
Ginger has a very pleasant and peculiar scent combined with a burning taste.

- Usage
Before fresh ginger is cut or grated, it should be peeled. Dried ginger can never replace the fresh one, because it has a completely different scent and taste. Dried ginger is hotter and one teaspoon of dried ginger equals one tablespoon of grated fresh ginger. In cookery ginger is generally used with vegetables and in bakery. It is added to red sauces and vegetable marinades. Grated or finely chopped ginger is added to hot dishes just before cooking is finished.
In Chinese cuisine ginger vinegar and crystallised ginger are very popular. In order to produce the latter, ginger root is peeled, soaked in water and covered with sugar syrup or chocolate. In China crystallised ginger is usually eaten after dinner in order not to feel drowsy. In Japan marinated ginger is served with rice and fish.

- Amount
When added to the dough, no more than 0.5g of ginger is needed per 1 kg of dough.

- Combinations and substitutes
Sometimes ginger is used in combination with cardamom and nutmeg. In this case, the amount of ginger should be smaller and the entire quantity of the mix of spices should not exceed 0.1g per dish.

- Storage
In order to preserve the scent of ginger for several months it can be peeled, drowned in dry sherry or vodka and sealed. Scented drink can be used as an independent ginger spice later. Covered with plastic and stored in a fridge, fresh ginger root can be kept for up to two months.

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