Ginger is a perennial plant that has lance-shaped leaves, bears clusters of yellow flowers, and grows up to a meter tall. Its scientific name is Zingeber officinale and it belongs to the Zingiberaceae family.
The ginger root is not actually a root but a rhizome – a plant’s subterranean stem that develops underground. It has nodes that grow out roots and shoots. Its typical color is tan or golden. Mature ginger is almost dry and fibrous and it usually needs to be peeled before use. Young ginger is fleshy and juicy and has a mild taste. Using it with its peels on is acceptable.
Ginger is one of the widely used spices and is an essential ingredient in various cuisines around the world. It is made into candies, pickles, and other snacks. It is also made into some popular beverages such as tea, wine, and ale.
Ginger is also processed to produce ginger extracts and ginger oils. They are largely used in the manufacture of perfumes, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals.
Why choose organic ginger root?
Ginger is grown in almost all parts of the world because it is easy to cultivate. However, gingers that are grown for commercial purposes are susceptible to chemicals such as fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. The chemical contents of the commercial gingers may not be at critical level but it is still wise to choose the organic variety.
Here are some of the reasons why organic ginger is the way to go:
1. Absence of toxins
Everyday people are exposed to toxins. In the air, there are toxins from car emissions and cigarette smoke. In food, there are toxins from additives and preservatives. With all these harmful chemicals around, it is wise to choose food and other products that are not toxic to health.
Too much toxin in the body can strain the liver. When toxins build up, it can lead to serious illnesses such as liver damage, kidney problems, hypertension, and cardiovascular problems.
2. Better effectiveness
Using organic ginger for medicinal purposes is highly favored because it is more effectiveness. The organically grown variety has more naturally-occurring healing compounds. It is the best choice because it ensures that only natural organic substances are being assimilated by the body.
This famous medicinal root is known to contain high amounts of gingerols which is an anti-inflammatory compound. The cooked and dried root also contains zingerone and shogaols. The former is known to have a strong carminative property and the latter is known for its antitussive property. The combinations of all the compounds make ginger a powerful treatment for serious diseases like high blood pressure and cancer.
Other medicinal benefits include alleviating constipation, aiding digestion, and easing headaches. It is also known to have antipyretic, analgesic, and antibacterial properties.
Using ginger for promoting good health is highly recommended because it contains more vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. It is a good source of vitamin E, vitamin C, and vitamin B6. It is also packed with minerals such as manganese, magnesium, and iron.
How to buy organic ginger root?
There is no exact way of telling if the produce is organic or not. The surest way of getting organic ginger root is to get it from a trusted source like your local farmer’s market.
Here some points to remember when buying ginger:
Fresh ginger gives excellent flavor. Choose the one that is firm and has textured skin. Avoid getting the ones that are soft or have soft spots and wrinkly skin. Avoid also getting the ones that are immaculately clean and shiny because they are likely to have undergone some treatment to prolong their shelf life. Check for any molds and other signs of decay. Grated, sliced, and chopped gingers are also readily available in many supermarkets and local spice stores. Unpeeled ginger can be stored in the refrigerator for two to three weeks. It can also be stored in the freezer for up to six months.
Dried and powdered gingers are readily available in the supermarkets and are either bottled or vacuum-packed to ensure freshness. Buy only from a trusted seller and compare products to ensure that the purchase is really organic and of superior quality. Powdered ginger must be kept in an airtight container and away from heat and sunlight.