Our Favorite Ingredients: Ginger

Ginger is one of those ingredients that, outside of Asia, simply doesn’t get the respect it deserves.

In our humble opinions, it should be as ubiquitous as garlic and black pepper, an everyday spice used in pretty much all the foods.

We eat it, we sip it, we trust in it to guide the way in new recipes.

We just really, really like ginger, and we like to think it likes us back.

What we use ginger in: A lot of dishes, a LOT, both savory and sweet.

Our favorite ginger pairings: Beef, garlic, or cinnamon (and all combinations therein)

Ginger form(s): Fresh & powdered

Ginger health benefits: Ginger is a popular, traditional alternative medicine. Its main actor, gingerol, is both anti-inflammatory and a powerful antioxidant that goes to town on free radicals.

That’s right. Ginger puts the karate chops to cancer.

It’s also good for nausea, which you probably know if you’ve ever cracked open a can of ginger ale to settle an upset stomach, helps keep blood sugar in check (even for diabetics), and improves brain function (including protecting against cognitive decline).

Basically, ginger is an inflammation-opposing, blood sugar-regulating, cancer-fighting superfood that’s worth working into your diet in one form or another.

Team it up with garlic or cinnamon (or both), and it becomes even more of a badass.

The ginger caveat: Ginger can be overpowering, and a lot of people don’t like the taste.

In a study of ginger’s effectiveness on osteoarthritis, taste was one of the main reasons participants dropped out. (Mild stomach upset was the other.)

While we can’t say we understand these ginger-loathers, we can say, when it comes to ginger, it really is a matter of getting the amount just right.

Why we love it: Ginger’s health benefits alone make it worth incorporating into any diet.

Lucky for us, we also happen to like the taste.

Ginger elevates the flavor profile of a lot of dishes and jacks up their health properties as well. So, honestly, what’s not to love?

Our hard sell: If you don’t like the taste of ginger, it’s worth remembering that it blends really well with other spices. In the right amount, you can add it to a recipe and “lose” the ginger flavor to some extent.

That doesn’t mean the ginger will go away. Instead, it will combine with the other spices to create something altogether new and not overtly ginger-y.

But that doesn’t mean you should simply take the ginger out.

A lot of the flavors in our ginger-inclusive recipes depend on ginger’s ability to combine and to heighten. We think of ginger as a pillar spice, not a decorative one.

So, if you’re not a big ginger fan, we recommend either skipping our ginger-inclusive recipes (though we think you might be surprised) or reducing (not removing) the amount of ginger.

We don’t recommend cutting the ginger out. These recipes won’t taste at all the same without it.

About Our Favorite Ingredients

You’ll find many ingredients in our recipes again and again. These are our favorite ingredients, the ingredients we always have on hand, the disks in the backbone of our daily diet.