DIY Ground Ginger
Can you make your own ground ginger?
What are the health benefits of ginger and why would you want to make your own? You probably have some ground ginger in your kitchen cupboard but it won’t be a patch on making your own. The flavour and the aroma are far superior and it’s well worth the time and effort to make it. This article will explore ginger’s various health benefits, along with some ways to incorporate it into your daily diet.
Ginger Benefits for Health
Ginger, botantical name Zingiber officinale, is one of the oldest and well known herbs and has a diverse array of natural health benefits. Some of the key benefits are:
- Helps to alleviate indigestion, nausea, and other stomach issues
- Anti-inflammatory properties
- Acts as an antioxidant
- Helps with motion sickness, and morning sickness
- Boosts immunity
- Pain Relief
- Improved Circulation
- Balance Blood Sugar Levels
Ginger Benefits and Nutrition
Ginger is high in essential vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, and vitamins C and B6. Ginger also contains many beneficial compounds such as gingerols and shogaols. These two compounds found in ginger are responsible for the pungent, spicy flavor and numerous health benefits of ginger.
Gingerols are the main pungent compounds found in fresh ginger and are responsible for the characteristic heat and flavor of fresh ginger. They have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and pain-relieving properties and have been shown to help alleviate symptoms of osteoarthritis, reduce muscle pain, and improve brain function.
Shogaols are formed when fresh ginger is dried or cooked. These are more pungent and have a stronger, spicier flavor. Shogaols also have similar health benefits as gingerols and have been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
Additionally, they are thought to have a direct effect on the pain receptors in the body, reducing the sensation of pain. However, more research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms by which these compounds work.
Ways to use ginger
Ginger Tea Benefits – Help to soothe sore throats and calm upset stomachs. Make a simple ginger tea by adding a couple of slices of fresh ginger into a cup of hot water and let it steep for 10 minutes before drinking. Alternatively you can add your freshly ground ginger into a tea strainer with some black or green tea.
Ginger essential oil – Associated with relieving joint and muscle pain, promote relaxation and mental clarity, and reduce stress and anxiety. Ginger essential oil is considered a “hot” oil due to its warming and spicy properties, so it’s recommended to dilute it before use.
A general guideline for diluting essential oils is to use a 2-5% dilution. So for every 30ml/1oz of carrier oil, you would use 12-30 drops of ginger essential oil. Individual tolerance levels may vary, and it’s always best to start with a lower dilution and gradually increase as needed. Also pregnant women, children, and individuals with sensitive skin, may require a lower dilution. Always start low and go slow!
Dried Ground Ginger – A staple of most kitchen cupboards, you can use ground ginger in all sorts of recipes such as marinades, dressings and baking. One easy way I get a daily dose of ginger is to add a ¼ teaspoon to my porridge for breakfast.
How To – DIY Ground Ginger
You will need
- Fresh Ginger (as much as you want but I do around 300g)
- Dehydrator or alternatively you can air dry takes longer
- Sharp knife
- A vitamix or grinder (for herbs or coffee)
- Jar for storage
Try to get organic ginger if you can. Whatever ginger you buy, make sure it is nice and firm to the touch and looks fresh.
Step 1 – How to peel ginger
I scrape the “skin” off the ginger using a teaspoon. It comes off very easily. It doesn’t matter if there are a few small areas that still have the “skin” on, it won’t affect the flavour.
Step 2 – Preparing ginger for drying
Using a very sharp knife, slice the ginger into thin slices. Ginger root is very fibrous so a sharp knife makes this job so much easier. You can try a mandoline, but I have found that the knife works better.
Step 3 – How long to dry ginger
To dry the ginger slices you can either use a dehydrator or if you have good weather, you can lay it out on wire racks on baking trays and leave it where there is good air circulation and warm (not in direct sunlight).
If you are using a dehydrator I set to a temperature maximum 45C (113F) and leave to dehydrate for approximately 8 hours. Of course it all depends on the amount of moisture in the ginger, the atmosphere in you location and time of year. I have put some in the car in the summer and found this can work quite well.
When dry, the ginger will be very light and crispy. You can do a moisture test by taking a few slices and placing them in a small jar and putting the lid on. Leave it to cool in the jar and if there is any moisture, you will see on the inside of the jar.
If you are naturally dehydrating it could take anything from a few days to a week.
Step 4 – Grinding and storing ginger
I place all the dried ginger pieces into my vitamix and pulse into a powder. Decant into a jar and voila it’s ready to use.
If you have a herb or coffee grinder you will have to do it in small batches. If you use this method, I recommend you keep your grinder just for herbs and spices because coffee beans are quite oily and it is difficult to remove the smell and oils from the grinder.
How long will my dry ginger keep?
Home made dry ginger will not keep as long as store bought ground ginger. However, as long as it is completely dry and stored in an airtight container, I would say about 6 months. Mine doesn’t last that long because I use it every day. Remember that the longer it is left in storage the less pungent it will be so it is a good idea to make enough that you will use within 6 months.
How do I use my ground ginger?
Use in any recipe as you would store bought ginger. Some examples would be:
- In baking: Ginger can be used to flavor cakes, cookies, muffins, and other baked goods.
- In marinades: Ginger can be combined with other spices, such as garlic and soy sauce, to make a flavorful marinade for meat, poultry, or fish.
- In stir-fry dishes: Ginger can be grated or minced and added to stir-fry dishes to give them a bold, spicy flavor.
- In tea: Ginger can be steeped in boiling water to make a warm, spicy tea.
- In spice blends: Ginger can be combined with other spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice, to make a custom spice blend for use in recipes.