Seven Super Spices-Yay for Healing Power!

24 Nov

Spices are fantastic.  They have been used for medicinal healing for centuries.  Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”.  Wise words and great advice, even today.  Sometimes a flavor boost with spices is just what the doctor ordered.

Since we are having a ball with spices, let’s keep adding them.  They have too many benefits to ignore.  It’s time to put them front and center in our culinary adventures.  We have covered cumin, cinnamon, and oregano.  The fourth super spice to inspire better health is… ginger!

Ginger, for some reason, illicits a strong response.  Either people love ginger or they hate it.  It is not a wishy washy flavor; it is pretty distinct and bold.   If you love it, keep eating it!  If you hate it, it is time to try it again, maybe in a way that is more mild.  Here are some reasons to love ginger:

According to The National Institiute of Health (NIH) ginger is used throughout the world to treat a host of maladies, including:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Flatulence (a delicate and genteel name for bloating and farts)
  • A sore throat
  • Bronchitis
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Arthritis

Not only that, but ginger is great for:

  • Treating chronic inflammation
  • Making healing tea
  • Destroying certain viruses
  • Combating morning sickness in pregnancy and nausea from chemotherapy
  • Settling an uneasy tummy
  • Healing the gut
  • Easing cold symptoms, and by some accounts even shortening one.

Ginger is great to cook with, and compliments a variety of dishes.  While ginger is typically used in sweet dishes here in the United States, in other countries such as India and Pakistan it is used in preparation of vegetables, and many lentil dishes.  In Japan, it is used usually raw, on noodles.

Ginger can be used in powdered form, pickled, and fresh.  Fresh ginger is in the produce section of the grocery store, and can be used sliced or grated.  It is a root, so if fresh, peel it before use.  Fresh ginger needs to be stored in the fridge, and can even be frozen. Powdered ginger should be stored in a dark cool cupboard.   Get it in small quantities so it is always fresh.

Ginger can be grated to use in sauces or sliced to use in tea.  It is a wonderful addition to many soup recipes.   It is delicious added to fish, chicken, pork, or tofu.  Ginger can be combined with other flavors such as scallions, apples, honey, mango, cumin, and coconut.  The internet has a zillion recipes using ginger, or start with the ones I have below.  The possibilities are endless and exciting!

Ginger Tea:

Add four slices of fresh ginger to 2 cups of boiling water and continue boiling for 10 minutes.  Remove from heat and strain.  Discard ginger.   Add 1-2 teaspoons honey to the tea and enjoy!  Simple, warming, and soothing!

Ginger Fruit Salsa:

  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon mild vinegar, such as apple cider or rice vinegar
  • 2-3 tablespoons white wine
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger
  • 3 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 tangy apple, peeled, cored and diced
  • 1 medium mango, peeled and diced

Heat olive oil in sauce pan.  Saute ginger and scallions for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.   Add vinegar and wine.  Stir.  Simmer for 4-5 minutes.  Add sugar, apple and mango.  Let cook down for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Serve over chicken, fish, or tofu.

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