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Ginger is used in numerous forms, including fresh, dried, pickled, preserved, crystallized, candied, and powdered or ground. The flavor is somewhat peppery and slightly sweet, with a strong and spicy aroma. The concentration of essential oils increases as ginger ages and, therefore, the intended use of the rhizome determines the time when it is harvested. If extracting the oil is the main purpose, then ginger can be harvested at 9 months or longer. Ginger is commonly pickled in sweet vinegar, which turns it a pink color; this form is popular with sushi. Ginger harvested at 8-9 months has a tough skin that must be removed before eating, and the root is more pungent and is used dried or pulverized into ground ginger. This is the form most commonly found in our spice racks and used in cookies, cakes, and curry mixes. Candied or crystallized ginger is cooked in sugar syrup and coated with granulated sugar. Ginger harvested at 5 months is not yet mature and has a very thin skin, and the rhizomes are tender with a mild flavor and are best used in fresh or preserved forms.
Researchers concluded that taking three 1,200 mg ginger capsules sped up gastric emptying — the process where food leaves the stomach and enters the small intestine — and encouraged more antral contractions, which are necessary for breaking up and digesting food.
How to add ginger to your diet
According to Anekwe, you can easily incorporate ginger into your diet by:
- Adding a few pieces of fresh ginger to hot water to make tea
- Adding finely chopped fresh ginger or powdered ginger to curries or stir-fries
- Mixing a bit of ginger into your morning smoothie
- Baking cookies, cakes, or pastries with ginger