Ginger - How To Use

(Also known as Ginger Root and Canton Ginger)


Fresh Ginger has a hot, woody and citrusy taste. Ground ginger is used as an ingredient in gingerbread and ginger ale but it is also used to flavour curry and stir-fries. The Chinese have adopted ginger for thousands of years. Dried ginger tastes different from the fresh version, as the taste is stronger. It is for this reason that you should never replace fresh with dry. Middle Eastern demand for ginger has shifted from suppliers in Syria and Turkey to exports from India. You should try and avoid old ginger as the flesh will be fibrous. It is the same family as turmeric, and it is closely related to cardamom. 


Ginger has a long history of helping with nausea. It is also said to aid with digestion and saliva flow. It makes a great tea with lemon and honey.

Interesting facts

  • The Arabs brought ginger to Europe during the 1300s. It was one of the earliest spices brought to ancient Greece and Rome. The Greeks would prescribe it for stomach complaints, and the Romans would use it for aromatic salts. 
  • Come the 9th Century, dried ginger was considered a tabletop condiment in Europe. By the Middle Ages, its use had evolved in savoury and sweet cooking and beer and ale flavour enhancers.
  • By the 16th Century, it had reached Jamaica, which is still considered a producer of high-quality ginger yield. The ginger plant is similar to that of bamboo. We eat the underground stem called "rhizome", but we do not eat the root.
  • Gingerbread men originate from the English tradition of Elizabeth I, who gave them to guests assembled in their likeness. Gingerbread houses are a German tradition from the 19th Century. 
  • Ginger beer comes from the Victorian era. Ginger has many uses outside of cooking in Ayurveda, the Indian alternative holistic practice. During the 13th and 14th Century you could buy a sheep with a pound of ginger. The Japanese use ginger to cleanse the pallet, which is why you probably get ginger when you have sushi. 

Chief flavour profile

Gingerol and zingiberene are just some of the flavour compounds. Gingerol: (hot, pungent and spicy) the pungent element of ginger will complement the capsaicin compound of chilli and piperine warmth of black pepper. The zingiberene terpene compound carries the ginger aromatics, but the taste compounds are a lot more complex, especially when dried.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue we'll assume that you are understand this. Learn more