Gnarly and knotted up, a chunk of ginger may not be the most appealing item in my fruit and veggie bin – but, trust me, this weird-looking root is well worth your time, it is loaded with flavor, nutrients and healthy benefits. What first draws me to ginger is the spicy explosion of flavor it adds to my recipes – it’s at once lemony, peppery, sweet and pungent. Kinda complicated, like me! Foodies around the globe have been kicking up their respective cuisines with the zing of ginger for thousands of years – I’m surprised it’s not more popular in American kitchens beyond gingerbread and ginger ale.
In addition to feisty flavor, ginger also offers a powerful punch of preventative and restorative nutrition. For example, ginger eases up inflammation and muscle pain, something I appreciate as an athlete needing some extra recovery. Ginger also helps with a host of digestion issues including nutrient absorption and the reduction of gas and bloating (so I hear). Ginger also takes the edge off the “queasies,” including nausea caused by morning sickness, motion sickness and hangovers (again, so I hear). And, if that isn’t enough, ginger fortifies the immune It system, protects against many types of cancer and relieves migraines. Oh, and ginger helps clear the sinuses – take a bite of raw ginger root and you’ll see what I mean!
Try my Carrot Ginger Date Smoothie for a morning pick-me-up – it’s super nutritious with carrots, banana, and only the added sweetness from a date. The ginger in the recipe can be grated on a micro place or you can boil it down with water and mix in stevia to make a sugar-free simple ginger syrup. I’m including that recipe too!
Carrot Ginger Date Smoothie Recipe
- 8 steamed baby carrots (cooled)
- 2 large dates (seeded)
- 1/3 frozen medium banana
- 2 teaspoons finely grated ginger ( or 1 tablespoon sugar-free ginger syrup (recipe follows)
- 8-ounces milk of choice ( like almond or coconut)
- Handful of ice
- 1 teaspoon hemp seeds
Add steamed carrots, dates, banana, ginger, milk to blender; process until smooth. Add ice and blend to achieve desired consistency. Pour into tall glass and sprinkle with hemp seeds. Serves 1.
Here is my special stevia-sweetened Zingy Ginger Simple Syrup recipe it will keep in the fridge, covered, for a couple of weeks! Plus, it’s made with
- 4 oz fresh ginger root, thinly sliced
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon powdered Stevia
Add ginger and water to small sauce pot and bring to a boil. Lower to medium low and let simmer for about 30 – 40 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half. Remove from heat and pour through strainer into container. Discard ginger slices. Stir in Stevia and keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
I also like to use the ginger syrup in this refreshing Watermelon Ginger Limeade recipe. Such a thirst-quenching beverage, especially considering it is still in the upper 90s here in Austin. At least six more weeks until noticeably cooler weather in Austin!
Another little tip – you can also extract the juice of ginger root by squeezing it in a garlic press!
So, these are my top three ways on how to use ginger in beverages: 1) grate it on microplaner, 2) infuse it into a sugar-free simple syrup and 3) juice it in garlic press.
Do you have a specific herb or food you eat to feel better?