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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 Texas.

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 stringy.


Serving Size: 48g

Amounts Per Serving

% Daily Value

Calories 40


Calories from Fat 0g


Total Fat 0g


  Saturated Fat 0g


Sodium 5mg


Total Carbohydrate 9g


  Dietary Fiber 1g


  Sugars 1g


Protein 1g


Vitamin A


Vitamin C






* 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.

Galangal Varieties

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.

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.

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