Cooking With Ginger

Ginger root and ginger tea
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In cooking, ginger refers to the flavorful, aromatic root of the ginger plant (Zingiber officinale). Ginger is commonly used as an herbal tea and included in baked sweets and savory Chinese dishes. In addition to providing a zesty flavor, ginger is thought to offer many health benefits.

Fresh Ginger & Other Types of Ginger Root

Ginger root can be bought and used in many forms, including fresh ginger root, dried ginger root, powdered ginger and crystallized / candied ginger.

Compare the appearances of powdered, crystallized and fresh ginger with this image.

Fresh ginger root tends to provide the most flavor and is commonly used for ginger "tea" and other ginger drinks, as well as in many Chinese dishes. If you're new to using fresh ginger for cooking, check out these guides to how to select and store fresh ginger root and how to store and use fresh ginger. You can also freeze fresh ginger to save time in the kitchen.

For more information on forms of ginger, check out this handy chart on types of ginger and how to cook with them. It includes information on fresh ginger root vs. mature ginger root, crystallized / candied ginger, and more.

Ginger Health Benefits

Many people are drawn to ginger not only for its pungent flavor but also for its health benefits. Historically, ginger has been used for various ailments, especially gastrointestinal issues. Here's more information on specific health benefits and medicinal uses of ginger:

  • Ginger as Alternative Medicine
  • Ginger for Nausea
  • How Ginger Benefits Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • How Ginger Benefits Arthritis
  • Ginger for Morning Sickness

Ginger "Tea" Recipes

More accurately known as a ginger infusion or ginger decoction, ginger tea is one of the most popular ways of consuming ginger for health or for enjoyment.

These are some favorite recipes for homemade ginger tea:

  • Homemade Ginger Tea Recipe: This healing ginger tea recipe comes from a raw food and natural health retreat center in Thailand.
  • Ginger Tea Recipe: A simple recipe for ginger tea with delicious variations.
  • Iced Ginger-Lemon Herbal Tea: Lemons, ginger, and a secret ingredient make this caffeine-free ginger iced tea refreshing.
  • Lemongrass-Ginger Iced Tea Recipe:  This is a ginger and lemongrass pairing combined with the earthy taste of black tea.
  • Korean Ginger Tea Recipe:  This tea has also been used for centuries as a natural cold remedy.
  • More Ginger Tea Recipes 

More Ginger Drink Recipes

Beyond ginger tea, popular ginger drinks include ginger ale, ginger beer, ginger juice and ginger cocktails. Below, you'll find some of the top ginger drink recipes. Unless otherwise notes, these recipes are made with fresh ginger root.

Sweet Ginger Recipes

From ginger snap cookies to ginger ice cream to ginger simple syrup, there are many ways ginger can be incorporated into sweet foods and sauces. Here are some of the most popular recipes for sweet ginger dishes on About.com:

  • Brown Sugar-Ginger Simple Syrup Recipe: This variation on a bar staple is richer and spicier than traditional simple syrup.
  • Vanilla-Ginger Simple Syrup Recipe:  This is a fantastic flavor-infused simple syrup and can be added to cocktails.
  • Candied Ginger Recipe: Crystallized or candied ginger is easy to make at home.
  • Pomegranate-Ginger Sauce Recipe: This versatile pomegranate ginger sauce recipe is an excellent addition to roasted poultry and grilled seafood dishes.
  • Ginger Ice Cream Recipe: A  growing favorite at western Chinese restaurants.
  • Chocolate-Ginger Cookies: Decorate these traditional cookies with colored sugar, sprinkles or icing.
  • Gingersnap Cookies Recipe:  A great addition to your Christmas cookie collection.
  • Lemon-Ginger Cookies Recipe: A vintage recipe for molasses cookies with cinnamon and ginger and cloves. 
  • Ginger Orange Quick Bread Recipe: Can be can be glazed or eaten as is.
  • Gingerbread Recipe: Made with crystallized ginger.

Savory Ginger Recipes

While ginger is delicious in sweets, it also shines in traditional and contemporary savory dishes. These ginger recipes cross cultures and culinary preferences to showcase the unique flavor of ginger:

  • Ginger-Scallion Oil Recipe:  A nice accompaniment to cold poached chicken or many types of fish.
  • Chinese Ginger Sauce:  A nice dipping sauce for shrimp balls or potstickers.
  • Grilled Ginger Chicken: Chinese rice vinegar and fresh ginger enliven this marinade.
  • Orange-Ginger Chicken Recipe: A simple sauce made with orange juice, honey and fresh ginger. 

More on Ginger

Ginger is a fascinating herb with a long history and many uses in various cultures. Learn more about ginger: