Most people count the days until all the pumpkin spice foods and drinks start reappearing for the holiday season. Maybe it is your favorite too.
Not me! I love ginger.
Ginger finds its way into many fall favorites, from the main meal and beverage all the way through to dessert!
There are even fragrant potpourri recipes or air fresheners that will exude the aroma of the season in your home.
Even though the flavor and aroma of ginger is truly enticing, I feel good that it is also healthy for me (and you!).
Health Benefits of Ginger
Ginger is an herb that is a good source of vitamin C, magnesium, copper, potassium and manganese.
Ginger has been used for centuries to help aid stomach upset, relieve nausea, pain and inflammation and even to prevent stomach ulcers.
It also makes a great ginger tea tonic with honey when you are feeling under the weather.
Selecting Fresh Ginger
Fresh ginger is sold in knobs or hands of ginger in the produce section of the supermarket or at the farmer’s market.
The hand of ginger you are buying fresh should feel firm, have a thin skin and its unique fragrance. If you want only a small knob on a larger hand, snap off what you need. It will snap off easily if it is fresh.
Ginger should not be soft, mushy or lacking in aroma.
You can slice, chunk or shred fresh ginger once you remove the outer peel. If you don’t use it quickly, freeze the hand and use as needed. Otherwise, store in a plastic container or bag in the refrigerator for a few weeks.
In addition to sliced fresh, ginger is used as a powdered spice (it is the root or rhizome of the plant), as an oil, tinctures, lozenges or as an herbal tea.
You can make a seasonal (or if you love it like I do, anytime) aroma that can infuse your home when you boil the following ingredients together in a stove-top pot of water or in a potpourri warmer.
- 10 slices fresh ginger
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Ginger Citrus Spice
- 3-5 Dried Orange Slices (or peels from citrus)
- 2-4 Fresh Ginger Slices
- 2 Cinnamon Sticks
- 1 Tbsp. Whole Cloves
- 1 Tbsp. Whole Allspice
Favorite Gingery Foods
The holidays wouldn’t be the same for many who have started traditions of creating gingerbread houses and gingerbread men that are as beautiful as they are delicious. It is a great family activity to build a cookie house too!
Another favorite that tends to come to my cookie jar this time of year is the ginger snap (molasses) cookie. It is a sweet, warm and aromatic addition to the variety of family favorites baked in bulk and make a great gift too!
Ginger is a staple in some healthy and easy to prepare dishes such as stir-fry. Adding powdered ginger to the protein as it browns in the wok along with some Chinese Five Spice will pump up the flavor in your meal.
One of my latest favorites is to eat chicken wings with a tangy ginger spice sauce. It is a welcome break from the traditional hot sauce, with a flavor that entices my sweet tooth. And don’t forget the health benefits of some added ginger to your foods.
Ginger tea with honey on a cold winter’s day is warming and protecting against the cold and flu, especially with the additional vitamin C source from ginger and antibacterial properties of honey. Add a slice of fresh lemon to cheer it up with a little zing!
There are, of course many more ways to incorporate ginger into your food and drink routine, including ginger ice cream, noodle bowls, soups, apple-ginger kombucha, satay sauce, cake or pumpkin ginger cupcakes, Asian salad dressing, or how about a ginger spritzer?
The list is limited only by your imagination.
Here’s my favorite gingersnap cookie recipe (they disappeared so quickly I am lucky to get a photo before they vanished!).
I hope you and your family will enjoy ginger this holiday as much as I do and find new ways to incorporate it into your family recipes for the health of it!
(I like my cookies with an added snap. If you like a milder version, reduce the cloves and ginger to ½ teaspoon and nutmeg to ¼ teaspoon.)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup butter or margarine softened
- ¼ cup molasses
- 1 egg
- 2 ¼ cup flour, all-purpose
- 2 tsps. baking soda
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. ginger, powdered
- ½ tsp. cloves, ground
- ½ tsp. nutmeg, ground
¼ cup sugar (this is to roll before baking, you may want to use coarse sugar to give it a larger visual presence, but I used granulated sugar in the photo)
- Wash hands and all food preparation surfaces before beginning.
- In large bowl, mix together softened butter/margarine, sugar, molasses and egg. Beat until well combined and fluffy. (Wash hands after handling the egg)
- Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, ginger, cloves and nutmeg. Mix together well.
- Cover bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat oven to 350 deg. F.
- Using a small cookie scoop or teaspoon, shape cookie dough into 1-inch balls. Roll each ball in the sugar to fully coat all sides.
- Place onto ungreased cookie sheet 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 8-12 minutes (the longer you bake them, the crispier the cookie)
- Cool on baking rack. Store in covered container or cookie jar.
Makes about 5 dozen cookies that are sure to disappear faster than you can snap your fingers!