Ginger belongs to the same family as turmeric, galangal and cardamom. It sadly no longer grows wild anywhere in the world, but is easily cultivated. Ginger adds a hot finish to your dishes, but with lemony, woody and earthy tones to counter balance the heat. The dried spice has much more of the heat and less of the aromatic lemony and even floral notes. A great way to see just how different the dried stuff is from the fresh, is to try both with good quality dark chocolate – the finish is quite different. Also, rubbing dried ginger on meats before cooking has a lightly tenderising effect.
This is a warming spice and so it makes a great addition to juices, smoothies, soups – basically anything – this time of year. It is used in savoury as well as sweet dishes.