Ginger in our A-Z - Cooking Index
Ginger, a knobby, fibrous root, has smooth light brown skin with a sheen to it. The flesh of the root is white. Ginger root is a seasoning and flavors sweets. Ginger is a flavoring from a tuberous root of Zingiber officinale, a plantin the Ginger family. The root is often dried and ground or "crystallized" with sugar.
Ginger is used in gingerbread, ginger ale, gingersnaps, and Asian dishes. Since ginger is a fibrous root, at times fibers may get into the manufactured product. Crystallized Ginger can replace fresh Ginger. Wash off the sugar first if desired when preparing a savory dish.
Ginger has a slightly biting and hot note. Its aroma is rich, sweet, warm, and woody.
No one is sure how old Ginger is, or where it came from, since it has never been found growing wild. It was first cultivated by the Chinese and Indians. It was one of the important spices that led to the opening of the spice trade routes. The name Ginger comes from the Sanskrit word "sinabera" meaning "shaped like a horn" because of its resemblance to an antler.
In the 19th century it was popular to keep a shaker of Ginger on the counter in English pubs so the patrons could shake some into their drinks. This practice was the origin of ginger ale.