Ginger is a flowering plant in the family Zingiberaceae whose rhizome, ginger root or simply ginger, is widely used as a spice or a folk medicine.
Ginger is indigenous to south China, and was spread eventually to the Spice Islands, other parts of Asia and subsequently to West Africa and the Caribbean.Ginger was exported to Europe via India in the first century AD as a result of the lucrative spice trade. India is now the largest producer of ginger.
Ginger produces a hot, fragrant kitchen spice.Young ginger rhizomes are juicy and fleshy with a very mild taste. They are often pickled in vinegar or sherry as a snack or cooked as an ingredient in many dishes. They can be steeped in boiling water to make ginger tisane, to which honey is often added; sliced orange or lemon fruit may be added. Ginger can be made into candy, or ginger wine, which has been made commercially since 1740.
The juice from ginger roots is often used as a spice in Indian recipes and is a common ingredient of Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, and many South Asian cuisines for flavoring dishes such as seafood, meat, and vegetarian dishes.Powdered dry ginger root is typically used as a flavoring for recipes such as gingerbread, cookies, crackers and cakes, ginger ale, and ginger beer.Fresh ginger may be peeled before eating. For longer-term storage, the ginger can be placed in a plastic bag and refrigerated or frozen.
In a typical spice serving amount of one US tablespoon or 5 g, ginger powder provides negligible content of essential nutrients, with the exception of the dietary mineral manganese, which is present in the Daily Value amount of 79%.
Different cultures use the ginger for many things, here are a couple of examples:
In Indian cuisine, ginger is a key ingredient, especially in thicker gravies, as well as in many other dishes, both vegetarian and meat-based. Ginger also has a role in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. It is an ingredient in traditional Indian drinks, both cold and hot, including spiced Masala chai.
In Japan, ginger is pickled to make beni shoga and gari or grated and used raw on tofu or noodles.
In Burma, ginger is called gyin. It is widely used in cooking and as a main ingredient in traditional medicines.
In the Caribbean, ginger is a popular spice for cooking and for making drinks such as sorrel, a drink made during the Christmas season.
Jamaicans make ginger beer both as a carbonated beverage and also fresh in their homes. Ginger tea is often made from fresh ginger, as well as the famous regional specialty Jamaican ginger cake.
In Western cuisine, ginger is traditionally used mainly in sweet foods such as ginger ale, gingerbread, ginger snaps, parkin, ginger biscuits, and speculaas. A ginger-flavored liqueur called Canton is produced in Jarnac, France. Ginger wine is a ginger-flavored wine produced in the United Kingdom, traditionally sold in a green glass bottle. Ginger is also used as a spice added to hot coffee and tea.
In limited studies, ginger was found to be more effective than placebo for treating nausea caused by seasickness, morning sickness, and chemotherapy,although it was not found superior to placebo for pre-emptively treating postoperative nausea.
Soy sauce is a condiment made from a fermented paste of boiled soybeans, roasted grain, brine, and Aspergillus oryzae or Aspergillus sojae molds.After fermentation, the paste is pressed, producing a liquid, which is the soy sauce, and a solid byproduct, which is often used as animal feed. Soy sauce is a traditional ingredient in East and Southeast Asian cuisines, where it is used in cooking and as a condiment.
Varieties of soy sauce are salty, earthy, brownish liquids intended to season food while cooking or at the table.Many kinds of soy sauce are made in Japan, Taiwan, China, Korea, Indonesia, Vietnam, Burma and other countries. Variation is usually achieved as the result of different methods and durations of fermentation, different ratios of water, salt, and fermented soy, or through the addition of other ingredients.
A study by the National University of Singapore showed that Chinese dark soy sauce contains 10 times the antioxidants of red wine, and can help prevent cardiovascular diseases.Soy sauce is rich in lactic acid bacteria and of excellent anti-allergic potential.
Soy sauce originated in China sometime between the 3rd and 5th century from an older meat-based fermented sauce named jiang. Its use later spread to East and Southeast Asia.Like many salty condiments, soy sauce was probably originally a way to stretch salt, historically an expensive commodity.
Soy sauce is widely used as an important flavoring and has been integrated into the traditional cuisines of many East Asian and Southeast Asian cultures. Despite their rather similar appearance, soy sauces made in different cultures and regions are different in taste, consistency, fragrance and saltiness. Soy sauce retains its quality longer when kept away from direct sunlight.
Here are a couple of different soy sauces:
Chinese soy sauces are primarily made from soybeans, with relatively low amounts of other grains. Chinese soy sauce can be roughly split into two classes: brewed or blended.
Light or fresh soy sauce: is a thin (low viscosity), opaque, lighter brown soy sauce, brewed by first culturing steamed wheat and soybeans with Aspergillus, and then letting the mixture ferment in brine. It is the main soy sauce used for seasoning, since it is saltier, has less noticeable color, and also adds a distinct flavor.
Dark and old soy sauce, a darker and slightly thicker soy sauce made from light soy sauce. This soy sauce is made through prolonged aging and may contain added caramel color and/or molasses to give it its distinctive appearance. This variety is mainly used during cooking, since its flavor develops during heating. It has a richer, slightly sweeter, and less salty flavor than light soy sauce. Dark soy sauce is partly used to add color and flavor to a dish after cooking, but, as stated above, is more often used during the cooking process, rather than after.
Shrimp soy sauce: Fresh soy sauce is simmered with fresh shrimp and finished with sugar, baijiu (type of distilled liquor), and spices. A specialty of Suzhou.
Buddhist monks from China introduced soy sauce into Japan in the 7th century,where it is known as shōyu.
Shōyu is traditionally divided into five main categories depending on differences in their ingredients and method of production. Most, but not all Japanese soy sauces include wheat as a primary ingredient, which tends to give them a slightly sweeter taste than their Chinese counterparts. They also tend towards an alcoholic sherry-like flavor, sometimes enhanced by the addition of small amounts of alcohol as a natural preservative. The widely varying flavors of these soy sauces are not always interchangeable, some recipes only call for one type or the other, much as a white wine cannot replace a red's flavor or beef stock does not make the same results as fish stock.
Koikuchi: Originating in the Kantō region, its usage eventually spread all over Japan. Over 80% of the Japanese domestic soy sauce production is of koikuchi, and can be considered the typical Japanese soy sauce. It is made from roughly equal quantities of soybean and wheat.
Usukuchi: Particularly popular in the Kansai region of Japan, it is both saltier and lighter in color than koikuchi.
Tamari: Made mainly in the Chūbu region of Japan, tamari is darker in appearance and richer in flavor than koikuchi. It contains little or no wheat. Wheat-free tamari can be used by people with gluten intolerance. It is the "original" Japanese soy sauce, as its recipe is closest to the soy sauce originally introduced to Japan from China. Technically, this variety is known as miso-damari, as this is the liquid that runs off miso as it matures. Japan is the leading producer of tamari.
Shiro: In contrast to tamari soy sauce, shiro soy sauce uses mostly wheat and very little soybean, lending it a light appearance and sweet taste. It is more commonly used in the Kansai region to highlight the appearances of food, for example sashimi.
Soy sauce is also commonly known as shoyu, and less commonly shōyu, in Hawaii and Brazil.
In Indonesia, soy sauce is known as kecap (also ketjap), which is a catch-all term for fermented sauces, and cognate to the English word "ketchup".
Soy sauce is a very popular condiment and marinade for many dishes in the Hawaiian cuisine.
Flax or linseed:
It is a food and fiber crop that is grown in cooler regions of the world. The textiles made from flax are known in the West as linen, and traditionally used for bed sheets, underclothes and table linen. The oil is known as linseed oil. Flax is grown for its oil, used as a nutritional supplement, and as an ingredient in many wood-finishing products.
Flaxseeds come in two basic varieties: 1. brown; and 2. yellow or golden (also known as golden linseeds).Most types have similar nutritional characteristics and equal numbers of short-chain omega-3 fatty acids. The exception is a type of yellow flax called solin (trade name Linola), which has a completely different oil profile and is very low in omega-3 FAs. Flaxseeds produce a vegetable oil known as flaxseed oil or linseed oil, which is one of the oldest commercial oils. It is an edible oil obtained by expeller pressing, sometimes followed by solvent extraction.
Flaxseed sprouts are edible, with a slightly spicy flavor.
In a 100-g serving providing only 23 calories, spinach has a high nutritional value, especially when fresh, frozen, steamed, or quickly boiled. It is a rich source (> 20% of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, manganese, and folate. Spinach is a good source (10-19% of DV) of the B vitamins riboflavin and vitamin B6, vitamin E, calcium, potassium, and dietary fiber.
Spinach, along with other green, leafy vegetables,is rich in iron.The calcium in spinach is among the least bioavailable of food calcium sources.By way of comparison, the human body can absorb about half of the calcium present in broccoli, yet only around 5% of the calcium in spinach.
Spinach is sold loose, bunched, packaged fresh in bags, canned, or frozen. Fresh spinach loses much of its nutritional value with storage of more than a few days.While refrigeration slows this effect to about eight days, spinach will lose most of its folate and carotenoid content, so for longer storage, it is blanched and frozen, cooked and frozen, or canned. Storage in the freezer can be for up to eight months.
The three basic types of spinach are:
'Savoy' has dark green, crinkly and curly leaves. It is the type sold in fresh bunches in most supermarkets in the United States. One heirloom variety of savoy is 'Bloomsdale', which is somewhat resistant to bolting. Other common heirloom varieties are 'Merlo Nero' (a mild variety from Italy) and 'Viroflay' (a very large spinach with great yields).
Flat- or smooth-leaf spinach has broad, smooth leaves that are easier to clean than 'Savoy'. This type is often grown for canned and frozen spinach, as well as soups, baby foods, and processed foods. 'Giant Noble' is an example variety.
Semi-savoy is a hybrid variety with slightly crinkled leaves. It has the same texture as 'Savoy', but it is not as difficult to clean. It is grown for both fresh market and processing. 'Tyee Hybrid' is a common semi-savoy.
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