Ginger - Herbs And Spices Lexicon

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Ginger - Herbs And Spices Lexicon
Ginger - Herbs And Spices Lexicon
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The mild heat of the ginger gives many dishes and teas a warming character. The sometimes light citrus note makes its aroma exotic. Together with cinnamon, cloves and allspice, ginger is one of the most popular spices of the Christmas season. In this country, ginger is used fresh or as a spice dried / ground. In his tropical home countries, young shoots and leaves are also used as herbs…


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  • Botany
  • Ingredients, smell and taste
  • Use and preparation


Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a reed-like plant that can grow up to two meters high. The flowers are yellow with purple edges. Together with turmeric, galangal and cardamom, ginger belongs to the tropical ginger family (Zingiberaceae). It is often mistakenly assumed that the part of ginger used in cooking is a root. However, it is a rhizome - a thickened stem axis that has a storage function for the plant (starch storage). The unpeeled tubers are dirty-gray to light brown and branched like antlers. The tuber is curled by the lateral leaf scars.

Ginger rhizomes are washed out of the earth after excavation and then used fresh or dried in the sun. Dried ginger is available unpeeled ("black" ginger) and peeled (better quality). In some places the tubers are also treated with lime or sulfur. This forms a protective cover that acts against possible infestation by insects or microorganisms.

The Austrian Food Codex lists different production and trade conditions for dried ginger.

The following grades are listed:

  • Jamaica ginger: best quality, peeled on all sides, not limed or bleached.
  • Malabar ginger (Cochin, Calicut): good quality, peeled on all sides, sometimes only the outer cork layer was removed.
  • West African ginger: lowest quality, unpeeled, uncalcified, dark-colored, highest degree of spiciness and a camphor-like smell.

Further information is available from the online grocery book.

Ingredients, smell and taste

Ginger tastes slightly hot and - depending on its origin - more or less citrus-like. A mild wood note is also noticeable in the taste. The aroma results from the essential oil, the main components of which are sesquiterpenes (zingiberen). Zingerone and gingerols are among the pungent substances. Overall, ginger is perceived as a warming spice.

Ginger (root, fresh)


per 100 g of edible

portion, raw

Ginger (root, fresh)


per 100 g of edible

portion, raw

Energy (kcal) 61 Iron (mg) 17th
Fat (g) 0.8 Vitamin A (µg) 1
Protein (g) 2.5 Vitamin B1 (mg) 0.02
Carbohydrates (g) 11 Vitamin B2 (mg) 0.04
Dietary fiber (g) - Niacin (mg) 0.7
Potassium (mg) 910 Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.16
Calcium (mg) 97 Vitamin C (mg) 5
Magnesium (mg) 130

Use and preparation

In this country, ginger is used fresh or as a spice dried / ground. In his tropical home countries, young shoots and leaves are also used as herbs. When dry, ginger is usually used ground. The fresh ginger tuber can be grated, chopped, cut into strips, slices or pieces. Ginger is used in cooking, but it can also be eaten raw. Ginger goes well with both sweet and savory preparations. Its use is typical in Asian cuisine, there are also numerous spice pastes with ginger. Many herbal tea preparations contain dried ginger. Ground ginger is also used in many curry powder mixes. Ginger goes well with garlic, chili and onion.

Ginger is popular for meat, fish and vegetable preparations, especially wok dishes. It is a common ingredient in biscuits, gingerbread and fruit cakes, speculoos etc. The ginger aroma is also popular as jam, in confectionery and in drinks such as ginger ale and beer. Ginger is also obtained candied and marinated in marinades. "Gari", the sweet and sour pickled ginger that is eaten with sushi ("sushi ginger") is now also very popular in this country.

Tip Fresh ginger tea is quick to prepare: To do this, peel a piece of ginger the size of a thumb, cut into slices and pour hot water over it. Let it steep for 10 to 15 minutes.

Ginger should only be peeled carefully, as the secretion cells are just below the cork layer. They contain the essential oil. You can scrape off the outer layer with a spoon, for example. Fresh ginger can be wrapped in a cloth and a plastic bag in the refrigerator for several weeks. Whole or pre-cut, it is also suitable for deep freezing. Dried, ground ginger can be kept for at least two years in airtight containers, depending on the quality.

Note The enzymes contained in ginger make meat more tender during preparation through improved protein breakdown.

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