How to grow it:
Ginger is a hardy perennial plant that is grown for it’s underground rhizomes and used in cooking, medicine and as a tea.
In nature, Ginger is an understorey plant, and so I tend to plant it under other trees. In commercial cultivation though, it’s grown usually in full sun and no doubt has higher yields.
The main ingredient needed for ginger is warmth. it will do well planted in spring in both subtropical and tropical areas. In cooler areas, you’ll have a shorter growing season and may suffer from smaller rhizomes – still worth growing if you can.
Although tolerant of drought due to the underground rhizome system, ginger does best in moist, well drained situations where it will produce large crops of swollen rhizomes. Best harvest time is when the foliage dies down for winter, but I just harvest it as needed – the rhizomes are smaller, milder & more tender early in the season, and will be much larger & more pungent later in Autumn & winter.
Propogation is by root division in spring – simply dig up some roots and put them in their new position. In warm areas, you can plant them right up until summer & still get good crops. Just get a piece of root from an organic source, break it up into pieces & plant into position. It strikes very easily.
Will do well in pots for a year or two until it becomes potbound & you have to dig it all up & start again.
High in potassium, manganese, copper & magnesium, and vitmans A & B. Many beneficial herbal actions.
Ginger is thought to be very good for your digestive & circulatory systems and will reduce nausea from morning sickness & motion sickness. Helps ward off colds & flu. Add a few slices to you tea or on it’s own.
Using it in the kitchen:
Ginger is mainly used as a spice in both savoury & sweet dishes.
You can grate, chop, mince or slice it into stirfries, curries, soups usually with some garlic & chilli. I find it has a special synergy with sweet potato & pumpkin – try it in your next pumpkin soup for a flavour treat. Also worth trying grated into your favorite meat marinade.
I try and add it to food as much as possible for it’s health benefits, but beware – it can have a dominating flavour or actually taste quite hot.
Stores fairly well in a dark dry spot in the pantry, or can be sliced thinly, dried and reconstituted in water as required (or just added to hot dishes as is).
Ginger is a great survival food for it’s hardiness, it’s long harvesting time, it’s usefulness in cooking & for it’s health benefits.