21 Mar

Ginger is absolutely one of my favorite ingredients. I love ginger. Here is the story of this magical plant.

Ginger, in Latin called Zingiber officinale, is the rhizome, not the root(!) of a tropical plant belonging to the family of “Spice lilys”. It is native to southeast Asia and was one of the first oriental spices that reached Europe. The Romans were the first ones to import it, then it came from Hong Kong, it was pickled and packed in small clay pots. Thousand years later, the medical faculty at the University of Salerno in Italy, made a statement about its medical properties. “Eat ginger, and you will make love and be loved as a youth!” Not surprisingly, this statement was very influential and the main reason to why the Portuguese started to cultivate ginger in crops in West Africa, with the purpose to make the slaves produce more children = more labour- and therefore make the business more effective.

Ginger arrived to my home country of Sweden in the beginning of the 15th century as a medicine that was said to help your digestion. Judging by the tasteless Swedish cuisine today, the ginger did not make a big footprint in the culinary world.

Two centuries later, ginger generally started to become unpopular as a spice in Europe, except from in the U.S and in England where they had started to dry it and pulverize it. It is not a coincidence that “Ginger Ale” is an Anglo Saxon all-time favorite in the soft drink industry. Soon the Europeans brought ginger to Indonesia and other tropical countries and the plant seemed to fit like the fish in the water. Ginger almost became a weed.

Today Jamaica is one of the biggest producers of ginger. Other producers are Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Taiwan and Haiti.


One Response to “Ginger.”

  1. August 16, 2011 at 7:42 AM #

    some truly nice and useful info on this site, besides I think the layout contains wonderful features.

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