As part of an annual family reunion, I recently traveled with my siblings to Yosemite National Park, using a tour group called Backroads. They guided us to the top of many of its glorious mountains. We drove to different areas in the park by van, and as we boarded, our tour leader offered us ginger candies for motion sickness. Fortunately, I don’t often suffer this affliction when I’m a passenger in a car, but these candies were so delicious that when I came home, I ordered them by the pound. They give you an eye-opening ginger flavor hiding in an innocent-looking candy wrapper..
Since our trip, the beneficial properties of ginger have been coming up a lot, so I’ve been purchasing the large coral-like pieces to use in lemonade and sauces for chicken and fish.
My brother, Peter, got me thinking about this unusual root. He had been experiencing a tinge of arthritis in the last few years, but since he started including ginger into his daily diet, it has significantly reduced his discomfort and inflammation.
Wouldn’t it be lovely if eating ginger bonbons every day eliminated arthritis?
Alas, something tells me we have to go straight to the source to benefit our health.
I did a little research and found that ginger is also good for gastrointestinal distress – something I do have some experience with. When I was a little girl and had a tummy ache, my Mom would give me a Ginger Ale to settle my stomach. I doubt she knew the beneficial properties of fresh ginger at the time, or how to prepare the raw version. We never had Asian food growing up, and the powdered ginger in our spice drawer had a rusty cap and looked like it came from another century. Somewhere along the way, while raising five kids, she’d heard that the soda pop could settle an upset stomach, and just my good fortune of having a forbidden soda made me feel better.
Ginger root is actually the underground rhizome of the ginger plant, a herbaceous perennial indigenous to China.
In the winter time, when I’m trying to stave off a cold, I steep slices of ginger in water, then add a little lemon juice and honey. I have the feeling I’m using a powerful natural weapon to keep me healthy.
Peter likes it pickled and eats it as a condiment everyday with his lunch and dinner to stave off arthritis. This is the recipe he shared with me:
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1 Cup Rice vinegar
1/3 Cup sugar
1/2 Cup water
2. Very thinly slice it, and blanch for 30 seconds in 2 cups of boiling water. Drain the ginger well.
3. Scoop the blanched ginger into a sterilized jar and add the salt.
4. Bring the vinegar and sugar to a boil, making sure all the sugar is dissolved, and then pour over the ginger in the jar.
5. Allow mixture to cool, put the lid on the jar, and place it prominently on the front shelf in the refrigerator so that you remember to eat it often.
I’m hoping all this ginger in my diet brings new life to my worn out knees. If this was heaven, the cure would definitely be in the candies.