Ginger or ginger root is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinal, consumed as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. It lends its name to its genus and family (Zingiberaceae). Other notable members of this plant family are turmeric, cardamom, and galangal. The distantly related dicots in the Asarum genus have the common name wild ginger because of their similar taste. Ginger is indigenous to southern China, from whence it spread to the Spice Islands and other parts of Asia, and subsequently to West Africa and the Caribbean. Ginger appeared in Europe, via India, in the 1st century CE as a result of the lucrative spice trade. Ginger produces clusters of white and pink flower buds that bloom into yellow flowers. Because of its aesthetic appeal and the adaptation of the plant to warm climates, ginger is often used as landscaping around subtropical homes. It is a perennial reed-like plant with annual leafy stems, about a meter (3 to 4 feet) tall. Traditionally, the rhizome is gathered when the stalk withers; it is immediately scalded, or washed and scraped, to kill it and prevent sprouting. The fragrant perisperm of Zingiberaceae is used as sweetmeats by Bantu, also as a condiment and sialogogue. Uses:
Ginger produces a hot, fragrant kitchen spice. Young ginger rhizomes are juicy and fleshy with a very mild taste. They are often pickled in vinegar or sherry as a snack or just cooked as an ingredient in many dishes. They can also be steeped in boiling water to make ginger tea, to which honey is often added; sliced orange or lemon fruit may also be added. Ginger can also be made into candy, or ginger wine which has been made commercially since 1740. Mature ginger rhizomes are fibrous and nearly dry. The juice from old ginger roots is extremely potent and is often used as a spice in Indian recipes, and is a quintessential ingredient of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese and many South Asian cuisines for flavoring dishes such as seafood or...
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