Learn all about the health benefits of ginger as well as tips on buying, storing, and cooking with ginger in my latest Meet Your Ingredients guide!
Besides being one of my favorite flavors, ginger is actually a flowering plant that’s closely related to turmeric and cardamom.
But what most of us think of as ginger is the underground part of the stem — a.k.a ginger root. And while you’re likely used to seeing the inside of ginger root being white or slightly yellow, certain varieties can also be red.
Similar to turmeric, ginger has been used for thousands of years not just as a way to add flavor to foods and beverages, but also to help boost our health.
Ginger’s many health benefits are largely thought to be due to the fact that it contains over 400 plant compounds.
In particular, ginger contains a compound called gingerol — a powerful antioxidant that’s also responsible for the smell and flavor of ginger.
So what are these health benefits? While there are a ton of claims surrounding ginger’s role in health, here are the benefits with the most research behind them:
Some studies have even found a link between ginger and reductions in body weight and fat.
In general, ginger is very safe for most individuals to consume.
To reduce the risk of side effects, it’s generally recommended that adults limit intake of ginger to no more than 4 grams per day, and pregnant women to keep intake to 1 gram or less per day.
Side effects with large doses can include heartburn, stomach pain, diarrhea, cramping, or bloating.
Additionally, ginger contains compounds called salicylates, which can have a blood thinning effect. Therefore, if you’re on a blood thinning medication, it’s important to talk with your healthcare provider before using large amounts of ginger
When it comes to buying ginger for cooking, you have a few options:
Personally, I prefer the whole ginger root as it’s cheaper and there’s more gingerol in fresh ginger compared to dried.
When buying fresh ginger root, here’s what to look for:
However, if the idea of peeling and mincing ginger sounds like far too much work, then buying jars or tubes of pre-minced ginger or ginger paste can be a good way to go.
Of course in a pinch, it’s also good to have dried ginger in the spice cabinet. Just note that ground ginger has a much more concentrated flavor than fresh.
In general 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger = ¼ teaspoon of ground.
Fresh ginger should be stored either in the fridge or freezer.
A good rule of thumb is if you use ginger on a weekly basis, keep it in the fridge as it’ll make it easier to slice off the amount you need. Just be sure that it’s in an airtight bag.
However, if you don’t go through ginger that quickly, I recommend peeling your ginger root and then storing it in a freezer-safe bag in your freezer.
Then, when you’re ready to use it, all you have to do is grate it using a microplane – no thawing needed!
Fresh ginger should last for 4-6 weeks in the fridge and 2-3 months in the freezer.
If you’re buying dried ginger, you’ll want to keep it in a sealed container in your spice drawer or cabinet. It should last for up to 2 years, but the flavor will likely start to decline after 1 year.
Ginger can be added to pretty much anything: smoothies, oatmeal, stir-frys, soups, salad dressings, grain bowls, marinades, cocktails, lemonade, cookies, cakes, and scones.
To use fresh ginger, you just simply peel the skin, then dice or mince it per your recipe’s directions. You can also grate ginger with a microplane — this works especially well with frozen ginger.
One tip: when cooking with ginger, add it at the beginning for a more mild flavor or wait and add it towards the end for a stronger gingery punch.
Breakfast recipes with ginger:
Lunch and dinner recipes with ginger:
Healthy Dessert and Snack recipes with ginger:
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.