Ginger

schwebende Ingwerknollen

With its lemony-fresh flavor and wonderfully warm kick, ginger is one of the most aromatic spices around. It is an indispensable ingredient in Indian and Chinese cuisine.

liegende Ingwerknollen

Ginger as a Spice

The flavor of ginger varies depending on the country it comes from and how you use it. Its flavor ranges from lemony and fresh to hot and spicy. Fresh ginger is a little spicier and has a stronger citrussy flavor than dried ginger. In sliced, chopped or grated form, it is used predominantly in stews, casseroles and curries. When dried and ground, ginger develops an exceptionally balanced flavor that is perfect for baking and for Arabic and Indian dishes. Ginger is also popular when pickled, or as a syrup or tea. In Asia, candied ginger is chewed to keep evil spirits at bay.

Aufschneiden eines IngwersIngwerknolle neben einer Schüssel Ramen

Usage

Virtually no other spice is as versatile as ginger. It can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, as well as drinks. Pickled ginger also makes a great accompaniment to sushi. Rarely the dominant flavor in a meal, ginger is usually combined with other spices. Fresh ginger needs to be peeled before you use it. Together with garlic and onion, it forms the basis for many Chinese and Indian dishes. Ground ginger is also ideal for use in baking, for instance in cookies and cakes, as it gives bakes a sweet, spicy flavor and a wonderful warmth.

Tip!

For a fabulously flavorsome ginger tea, slice up a walnut-sized piece of fresh ginger. Add 750 ml of boiling water, leave to infuse for around 8 minutes — and it's ready to drink!

Ingwer Feld
Ursprungsgebiet von Ingwer auf der Weltkarte: Südchina

The Plant

Ginger is related to galangal, turmeric and cardamom, and is thought to originate from South China. The ginger plant grows to up to one meter tall and looks a bit like reeds. This perennial plant has long, pointed leaves and yellow/pink flowers. Ginger is predominantly grown in India, China, Taiwan, Nigeria, Mauritius and Jamaica. It is not the root, but rather the rootstock (rhizome) that is used as a spice. Even today, it is mainly harvested by hand and dried in the sun. Its name comes from the original Indian word for ginger, which was translated into Latin as “zingiber” by the ancient Romans.

Factbox

Scientific Name
Zingiber officinale
Family
Ginger family (Zingiberaceae)
Other Names
Ginger root, common ginger, canton ginger, true ginger
Origin
Probably South China