Vegetable of the Month: Rhizomes - Gingerroot, Galangal, Tumeric
Spice Up Your Food!
Rhizomes are knobby underground stems that are known for their pungent and
flavorful flesh. The rhizome family includes ginger, turmeric and galangal
among a few other, lesser known rhizomes. Rhizomes are not a significant source
of any nutrients - most especially because they are rarely eaten in great
enough quantities to constitute a serving. Ginger is a tropical Asian herb that
is known for its spicy aromatic roots. In ancient India, ginger was believed to
spiritually cleanse the body.
It was also used in ancient times as a food preservative and to help treat
digestive problems. To treat digestive problems, Greeks would eat ginger
wrapped in bread. Eventually ginger was added to the bread dough creating that
wonderful treat many around the globe love today: gingerbread!
Ginger ale eventually stemmed from a ginger beer made by the English and
Colonial America as a remedy for diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
Ginger thrives in the tropics and warmer regions and is therefore currently
grown in parts of West Africa, the West Indies, India and China with the best
quality ginger coming from Jamaica where it is most abundant. In the United
States, ginger is grown in Florida, Hawaii, and along the eastern coast of
Gingerroot is characterized by it's strong sweet, yet woodsy smell. It is
tan in color with white to creamy-yellow flesh that can be coarse yet
Calories from Fat
Total Fat 0g
* Percent Daily
Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Galangal (guh-LANG-gul) comes from the plant Alpinia galanga (or
Languas galangal) and has many common names including greater
galangal, galangale, and galang.
The rhizome (root) of galangal resembles ginger in taste and appearance. It
is predominantly found in Asian markets and sold fresh, frozen, dried, or
powdered. Galangal is also well known in European medieval cooking. Only a
pinch of dried and powdered versions are typically needed.
Galangal is frequently used in fish and shellfish recipes in combination
with garlic, ginger, chili, and lemon.
Greater Galangal: Orange-brown skin with pale yellow or white interior.
Greater galangal can be found in sliced form or powder. Used as a flavoring
throughout Indonesia, Malaysia, and parts of India. Flavor: Not as pungent as
Lesser Galangal: This rhizome has a red-brown interior and fibrous texture.
It can be founded as slices or powder. Lesser galangal comes from China where
it is used as a medicinal herb, but it is now grown in Indonesia and regarded
as a spice.