Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
- This article refers to the plant. The Segway Human Transporter was codenamed Ginger
|Zingiber officinale Rosc.|
Young ginger roots are juicy and fleshy with a very mild taste. They are often pickled in vinegar or sherry as a snack or just cooked as an ingredient in many dishes. Mature ginger roots are fibrous and nearly dry. The juice from old ginger roots is extremely potent and is often used as a spice in Chinese cuisine to cover up other strong odors and flavors such as in seafood and mutton.
Powdered dry ginger is used to add spiciness to gingerbread and other recipes. It tastes quite different from fresh ginger, and neither can be substituted for the other.
Economics and distribution
Ginger is grown throughout the tropical areas of the world. The most expensive and highest quality varieties generally come from Australia, South India, and Jamaica, while most mass market ginger is grown in China.
Medical research has shown that ginger root is an effective treatment for nausea caused by motion sickness, morning sickness or other illness. Ginger root also contains many antioxidants. Powdered dried ginger root is made into pills for medicinal use. Chinese women traditionally eat ginger root during pregnancy to combat morning sickness. Ginger ale and ginger beer have been recommended as "stomach settlers" for generations in countries where the beverages are made. Ginger water was commonly used to avoid heat cramps in the United States in the past.
A dicotyledonous native species of eastern North America, Asarum canadense, is also known as "wild ginger", and its root has similar aromatic properties, but it is not related to true ginger and should not be used as a substitute because it contains the carcinogen aristolochic acid. This plant is also a powerful diuretic, or urinary stimulator. It is part of the Aristolochiaceae family.
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