Prized for its aromatic, culinary, and medicinal properties, the root of the ginger plant has been used in cooking and as an herbal remedy since ancient times. The Greeks wrapped it in bread as a digestive aid after a big feast. Chinese sailors ate it to avoid seasickness.
Ginger’s claim to medicinal fame comes from its main active components called gingerols, which are responsible for its distinctive flavor. This zesty spice can be used to alleviate nausea, though studies are mixed on how effective it is. The name for this nubby rhizome, which originated in Southeast Asia, is derived from the Sanskrit word singabera, meaning "horn shaped."
Fresh ginger root is available year-round at your local market and also comes powdered, crystallized, candied, and pickled. It’s a great way to spice up a stir-fry and even contains a little vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and copper. But the next time you reach for ginger ale to settle your stomach, check the label: Some varieties don’t contain ginger at all, just artificial flavoring.
Ginger Peach Crisp
Makes 8 servings
4 lbs peaches, peeled and sliced
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp peeled, minced fresh ginger
1 cup whole oats
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
¼ tsp ground ginger
pinch of salt
¼ cup chilled light butter, cut into small pieces
1. Preheat oven to 350º F. Lightly spray a 9x9-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.
2. Combine peaches with cornstarch, lemon juice, and fresh ginger. Toss to coat.
3. Place fruit mixture in prepared baking dish and set aside.
4. In a separate bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, ground ginger, and salt. Add butter and work into mixture until crumbly.
5. Spoon topping over fruit mixture, distributing evenly and covering all the peaches.
6. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Let cool 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm crisp alone or with low-fat frozen yogurt or ice cream.