By Melissa Hutsell
As one of the world’s most widely grown herbs, ginger is cultivated as both a spice and a form of medicine. Ginger has strong roots throughout history in many ancient and modern cultures. Though it is native to southern China, the plant made its way to Europe, the Caribbean, and India during the historical worldwide spice trades. Though grown on just about all continents, India and China lead with 50 percent of global production, as it is also a key ingredient in these cultural cuisines.
The root, oil and juice of ginger are used widely as a confectionary treat, spice, tea, and medicinal item. The plant is an essential source of several nutrients that help give it a reputation as a global super food. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, ginger is used as an alternative treatment to fight against the growth of tumors. Research shows that if ingested moderately it can help curb nausea and muscle pain, according to a study published in the National Institute of Health. Ancient cultures have also used ginger as a digestive aid, to boost energy, or even, an aphrodisiac. Because of the various antioxidants and active components (such a 6-gingerol) it contains, ginger is proven to increase memory and attention. Gingerol is also known to curb the growth of bacteria and infection, making it useful for fighting flus or colds.
Rosemary Ginger Sparkling Punch
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
1 two-inch piece of ginger, thinly sliced
2 bottles dry sparkling wine (such as brut champagne or cava)
2 cups ginger ale
2 cups fresh-squeezed orange juice
Orange slices and rosemary sprigs, for garnish
1. Combine sugar, rosemary leaves, and ginger in a small saucepan with 1 cup of water. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Set the syrup aside to steep for at least 1 hour.
2. Strain the syrup into a punch bowl or a pitcher, and add the remaining ingredients. Mix well, and garnish with orange slices and rosemary sprigs, if desired.
Note: Strained syrup can be made ahead and kept in the refrigerator, covered, up to 1 week.
Photography by Manuel Rodriguez
Recipe Courtesy of OneKingsLane.com
Gingerbread Cake with Lemon Glaze
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dark molasses 1/2 cup vegetable oil 1 egg, beaten 1/2 cup boiling water 1 cup powdered sugar 1/4 cup lemon juice 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Grease and lightly flour a 9-inch square baking pan.
- Whisk flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, and Chinese five-spice powder in a bowl.
- Stir sugar, molasses, oil, and egg into flour mixture until just combined.
- Pour in boiling water and whisk until the batter is smooth and shiny, about 1 minute.
- Pour batter into prepared baking pan. Tap pan gently on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
- Bake in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 35 minutes.
- Mix powdered sugar, lemon juice, and lemon zest in a bowl until sugar dissolves.
- Pour lemon juice mixture over cake while cake is still hot. Spread the mixture around with a spatula to ensure even distribution. Let cake cool completely before serving.