Ginger is a staple in many Asian dishes, and with good reason. Gingers health benefits range from easing nausea to providing relief from aches and pains to even potentially slowing the growth and development of certain cancer cells. Some even say ginger has aphrodisiac properties, which makes sense given its ability to improve circulation.
Including ginger in your diet, daily can help fight inflammation, detoxify your body, and keep illnesses at bay. The question is: how do you get ginger daily without getting bored? First of all, gingers tangy, spicy, warming properties all make it a delightful ingredient in dishes ranging from sweet to savory. And cooking with it is simple. Here are 10 ways to enjoy your ginger.
- Stir-frying. Asians are on to something with their use of ginger in their cooking. Ginger adds a spiciness to dishes when its used in stir-frying or sauting. One way is to simply heat a pan with a little bit of oil then add minced ginger and garlic. Allow those to open up a little then add your vegetables to the pan and cook them up. You can also allow your vegetables to marinate in a mixture that includes ginger and other Asian flavorings.
- Tea. You can find numerous teas on store shelves that include ginger, but making your own ginger tea is easy too. While your water is heating, chop up your ginger into small pieces. Allow the ginger to steep for about 10 minutes or until it reaches a flavor that works for you. Honey and lemon make a nice addition to balance out the spiciness of the ginger.
- Juicing. One of my favorite juices is made with ginger, beet, and carrot juice. Ginger adds a serious zing to your juice and this concoction is a great way to boost your immunity and your liver health.
- Salad dressings. Adding ginger to your salad dressing is an easy way to liven up any salad. I like to mix equal parts oil and vinegar (particularly rice vinegar) with freshly grated ginger and a bit of salt and pepper to taste. If you like your dressing a little sweeter, you can also mix in a little bit of sugar or honey. This is wonderful on a salad or even on grilled vegetables.
- Glaze. We all know sometimes tofu needs a pick-me up. Why not use ginger to do so? Add 3 tablespoons of minced ginger to cup of maple syrup along with a few cloves of garlic and 1/3 cup of vinegar (I like to use Balsamic). Allow the flavors to blend and use a glaze on tofu or another protein of your choice. Prepare by grilling or sauting and you have a flavorful and healthy dish in minutes.
- Ice cream. Who said dessert cant be a little healthy? Heres a tip I found on food.com. Start with vanilla ice cream and allow it to soften slightly. Once you can easily stir your ice cream, add in 1-2 teaspoons of ground ginger followed by 2 tablespoons of molasses (1 tablespoon at a time). Refreeze your new flavor creation and once it re-hardens, enjoy!
- Pickled. Pickled ginger is a staple of Japanese cultures and a common accompaniment to sushi. Thankfully, the pickling process does nothing to dampen gingers health benefits. So grab your chopsticks and enjoy picked ginger with your sushi.
- Ginger ale. You can certainly find pre-bottled ginger ale in the store, but making your own can be healthier, more rewarding, and fun. Just boil the ginger down to a syrup and mix with seltzer water and a squirt of lemon. You can find the ratio that works for you, but cup ginger syrup to 1 cup of seltzer is a good place to start.
- Baking. Ginger cake, ginger cookies, ginger bars. Ginger is a wonderful ingredient to use in your baking.
- Supplements. If youre not a big fan of gingers spice, you can also find supplements at your health food store. This is a great way to get the health benefits of ginger without actually tasting it.
The key to picking fresh ginger is to look for a piece that has smooth skin. Then take a whiff. It should have a strong spicy scent to tell you its fresh. If its wrinkly and has gray spots, its overripe.
You have a few options for storing ginger to give it the longest life. One way is to keep it wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated. Stored like this, it should keep about two to three weeks. Another option is to peel it, wrap it, and stick it in the freezer. You wont be able to chop it frozen, but grating it should be simple without the need for it to thaw.
Enjoy your ginger your body definitely will!