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The Healthy Food Guide team believe that making small diet and lifestyle changes brings the best long-term gains. We look at the science behind the headlines and promote a balanced way of eating.

This fiery root features as a natural sweetener in baking and gives a salt-free punch to savoury dishes around the world. Here’s how to use it to spice up your everyday cooking…

 

1. Add pep to soup

Lift the flavour of bought or homemade carrot soup with some grated fresh ginger and a squeeze of lime juice.

2. Terrific trifle

Drizzle a little ginger wine over sponge fingers, then top with poached rhubarb and chopped stem ginger. Spoon over reduced-fat custard, then serve sprinkled with extra chopped stem ginger and a drizzle of syrup from the jar.

3. Zingy salad

Gently heat 1tbsp grated fresh ginger, 1 crushed garlic clove, 2tbsp lime juice, 3tbsp reduced-salt soy sauce, 1tbsp Thai fish sauce, 1tsp runny honey and a pinch of dried chilli flakes. Leave to cool, then toss with cooked peeled prawns, chopped cucumber and tomatoes, and fresh coriander and mint.

4. Refreshing tea

Pour boiling water over fresh ginger and lemon slices and a handful of fresh mint leaves. Infuse for 5 min before drinking.

5. Roasted roots

Toss parsnips, carrots and swede in a mix of ground ginger, smoked paprika and dried thyme, drizzle with a little olive
oil or rapeseed oil, then roast.

6. Cake heaven

Gently warm grated fresh ginger, runny honey and orange zest until syrupy. Drizzle over sponge cake, then serve decorated with orange slices.

7. Fragrant noodles

Toss ready-to-heat noodles with grated fresh ginger, a sprinkle of sesame seeds and a dash of reduced-salt soy sauce.

8. Steamed fish

Scatter julienne sticks of fresh ginger, spring onions and red pepper over fish fillets. Bake in foil parcels with a dash of sesame oil and balsamic vinegar.

9. Moroccan magic

Simmer skinless chicken breasts in a mix of tinned tomatoes, harissa paste, lemon zest, ground ginger, ground cinnamon and a pinch of saffron.

10. Pear and ginger muffins

Preheat the oven to 200ºC/fan 180ºC/gas 6. In a bowl, combine 300g self-raising flour, ¾tsp bicarbonate of soda, 2tsp ground ginger, 150g caster sugar and 200g chopped pears. In a jug, mix 100ml light olive oil with 300ml buttermilk and 2 eggs, then add to the dry mixture and mix well. Spoon the batter into a lined 12-hole muffin tray, then bake for 20 min.

Which kind should I buy?

Fresh ginger adds peppery depth to savoury dishes – great for stir-fries and marinades. Store in the fridge for up to three weeks.

For an alternative to fresh, we like ginger pastes, which you can keep it in the fridge for up to a month.

Dried ground ginger has a more earthy, fiery flavour than fresh – it’s ideal for baking.

Stem ginger is sold as preserved balls in syrup – strictly for occasional treats. Chop and add to cakes and desserts. Opies Stem Ginger In Syrup hits the spot.

What’s so great about ginger?

HFG expert and nutrition scientist Bridget Benelam says: ‘Ginger contains compounds called gingerols, which are similar in structure to those that give chillies their heat. Research suggests ginger can soothe common digestive problems, as well as nausea – in particular, motion sickness and morning sickness. Ginger tea can be a particularly effective home remedy for this.’

Try our recipes with ginger