By: Elizabeth Roberts, Nutrition Consultant / Natural Chef
Ginger, Turmeric, Sage, Fennel, Rosemary, Cumin, Coriander, Allspice, Nutmeg, Cloves. . .
What do all these spices and herbs have in common? They are the flavors of fall. While pumpkin and cinnamon tend to get top billing with the coffee companies and bakeries, these are the real stars in my fall and winter recipes.
Today, let’s focus on GINGER.
Ginger belongs to the Zingiber genus which is native to tropical Asia. Ginger means “spirit,” “liveliness,” and “verve” – all of which can be found in its flavor.
This warming spice has been well used and loved for centuries for both its culinary and medicinal uses. Herbalist Deni Bown notes that ginger is found in about half of all Chinese and Ayurvedic prescriptions and is known as the “universal medicine” in Ayurveda. In addition to its “warming” qualities, ginger also helps to stimulate digestion, and boost circulation, respiration, and nervous system function.
Ginger is a “go-to” remedy for alleviating gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating and gas; plus it helps to relax and sooth the GI tract. Modern science is also finding ginger to have antioxidant effects as well as potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols. These gingerols help to reduce inflammation and pain for people with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis by inhibiting the formation of inflammatory cytokines. Other conditions that are often helped with ginger include: Motion Sickness, Nausea, Menstrual Discomfort, and Morning Sickness during pregnancy (of course, check with your doctor before taking any supplement during pregnancy). Ginger is also an effective treatment for colds and flu, helping to ease congestion in the throat and lungs.
Ginger is available in many forms:
- Whole fresh ginger root is the most pungent, aromatic, and fresh flavored. I use the fresh root for making tea, soups, stews, and my Wellness Tonic (see recipe). 2. Ground or powdered ginger is made from the dried root. I use ground ginger in stir-fried veggies, whole grain side dishes such as rice, quinoa, and millet; or when fresh ginger root isn’t available. 3. Crystallized ginger is mainly a treat since it is made by cooking ginger root in sugar syrup. It can also be soothing to a dry, scratchy throat. 4. Pickled ginger (most familiar to those who eat sushi) it has a fresh flavor that is cleansing to the palate.
Safety Note: ginger does contain moderate amounts of oxalate. So those with a history of oxalate-containing kidney stones should avoid overconsumption of ginger.
References: Rebecca Wood, The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, New York, Penguin Books, 2010. Michael Murray, The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods, New York, Atria Books, 2005.
For further information or to schedule a Free 20-minute Wellness Assessment contact Elizabeth at email@example.com
Elizabeth’s FEATURED RECIPES:
By: Elizabeth Roberts, Eat Live Locally
Note: This is a tonic that is best used when fall weather arrives to prevent cold and flu. Daily take 1-2 Tablespoons of tonic to help boost your immune system. Or, at the first sign of feeling ill, take 1 Tablespoons of tonic 2-3 times per day.
32 oz. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar – I prefer Bragg’s brand, with the “mother”
6 in. piece fresh Ginger root, grated or roughly chopped
1 large organic Onion, peeled and chopped
2 heads Garlic, peeled and chopped
1 c. grated fresh Horseradish
- Place all ingredients into 1 quart canning jar packing down lightly.
- Pour apple cider vinegar into jar to fully cover ingredients. Tap jar lightly on countertop to remove air bubbles then cover with lid.
- Put jar in a dark, cool place for at least 2 weeks, 4 weeks is preferred.
- Strain liquid into another jar. Discard strained ingredients.
- If you prefer a sweeter flavor you can add a bit of raw, unfiltered honey to the jar, stir until dissolved.
- Store tonic in refrigerator. Will last 1 yr.
Butternut Squash / Ginger Soup
By: Elizabeth Roberts, Eat Live Locally
Yields: 4 – 1 cup servings
2 Tbs. coconut oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp. sea salt
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1-2 in. piece ginger, chopped – or – 1 tsp. ground ginger
2 tsp. ground cumin
4 cups vegetable broth
1 butternut squash peeled and cut into chunks
½ c. coconut milk (optional)
- Warm oil in large pot over medium heat.
- Add onion, sprinkle with salt, sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, and cumin. Stir to combine, sauté 1-2 minutes until garlic is fragrant.
- Add squash and broth; bring to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and partially cover. Cook until squash is very tender, about 30 minutes..
- In small batches, transfer soup and all ingredients to blender and puree. Be very careful of hot contents. Begin blender on low and slowly increase speed.
- Soup should be a lovely velvety texture (not baby food). If needed, add more broth or water to achieve proper texture.
- Soup can be eaten as is, or if you like a creamier soup, add coconut milk and stir to combine.