Where Local and Global Appetites Collide

Food Blog: Ginger, Culinary Spice Superstar

Ginger is a culinary superstar, favored for adding a sweet and exotic flavor to savory and sweet dishes. One of the original spices imported from the Orient, mentions of ginger can be found dating as early as 479 BC.

Ginger has a long history based in its native cultivation grounds-the Orient. The Chinese philosopher Confucius (551 to 479 BB.) mentioned ginger in his book Analects. In fact, ginger became one of the first spices imported to Europe from the Orient, as Greek and Roman merchants acquired it from Arab traders. In Basel, Switzerland, the Swiss named the street where traders sold spices Inbergasse, meaning Ginger Alley. In 14th-century England, only pepper was more commonly used; a pound of ginger sold for the same prices as one sheep.

The experts at The Spice Hunter offer the following tips for using ginger to spice up any meal:
–Ground ginger can be used to enhance the flavor of poultry before baking – lightly sprinkle ginger inside and outside the poultry before roasting Use ginger in sauces for ham and pork and in vegetables such as winter squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes and carrots
–Add ginger to pumpkin breads, apple pies and other fall dishes.
–Remember that the pungency of spices increase with heat. When using ginger in a dish that does not require cooking, you can heat the ginger in a saucepan before adding to the dish to release more flavor. Be cautious when applying heat to any spice so you don’t scorch or burn the spice.

Check out these gingery recipes:

Chinese Five Spice Chicken

1 teaspoon Spice Hunter Chinese Five Spice
2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 tablespoon dry sherry
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 teaspoons Spice Hunter Ground Ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 1/2 – 4 lbs. chicken

Combine and mix all ingredients except chicken in a baking dish. Cut chicken into serving pieces and add to mixture. Turn chicken over, coating all sides. Marinate for 6-12 hours, turning several times. Bake in a preheated 450° oven for 45 minutes or until chicken is done. Serve chicken with juices spooned over the top.
Ginger Pear Roasted Pie*

1 prebaked 9″ pie shell
2 cans pears, drained and sliced or 3 ripe fresh pears, peeled, cored and sliced
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoon Spice Hunter Ground Ginger
4 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat oven to 325°. Fill the pie crust with the sliced pears. Mix the next six ingredients in a food processor or blender until well blended. Pour over the pears. Bake in oven for 1 hour, or until the center of the pie is set. If the crust begins to brown, cover with strips of aluminum foil to prevent burning.

*! Cup sugar seems excessive to me since pears are already pretty sweet and I’m not sure what is “roasted” about this recipe other than being baked. It’s still too hot to turn on the oven in Tucson but come fall, I may make this with less sugar as I am a pear-loving princess.

Forget Mary Ann, it’s all about Ginger!

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