If you’re a sushi fan like me, you are familiar with the paper-thin, spicy yet sweet pickled ginger sushi usually comes with. If you want an authentic at-home sushi experience (you can even try making your own! It’s probably easier than you think), you could buy it in a jar. Or, for far less, you can make it yourself!
Ginger is a unique and strong flavor that is unmistakable and irreplaceable. Ginger is delicious in ale, beer, tea, stir fry… you get the picture. A few thin slices added to steamed veggies takes dinner from “meh” to “did you get this from a restaurant?”
A few slivers of ginger elevates a cup of plain green tea to something decadent and exotic. A few pieces of root or some ginger juice in soup adds layers of flavor and depth. And in good times and bad, ginger ale soothes and refreshes.
Not only does ginger taste delicious, it is also known to have hosts of health promoting effects on the body. From head to toe, ginger has seemingly magical properties to aid and ease all kinds of complaints.
From ancient times to modern homeopaths, midwives and housewives, ginger in fresh, powdered, or pill form is useful for many health purposes. Here are just a few:
The Benefits of Ginger
- Anti-Nausea: Ginger is a known remedy for motion sickness, morning sickness, and any other sickness which makes you feel like you need a trash can, stat.
- Cold & Flu Prevention: When you or a loved one starts to feel a little under the weather, some nice ginger tea may be just what the doctor ordered. Or at least, just the thing to keep you from needing to go to the doctor. This may also help with allergies!
- Reduces Inflammation: Ginger is a known anti-inflammatory, and some studies show it may even be just as effective as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin & ibuprofen.
- Strengthens Immunity: Ginger helps to stimulate your body’s immune system, to build up new cells and make you more able to resist microscopic invaders on a day to day basis. It also decreases bacterial infections in the stomach.
- Prevents Cancer: Studies have shown that chemicals present in ginger help inhibit the growth of human colorectal cancer cells. It also induces cell death in ovarian cancer cells. Who knows what else this powerful plant can do!
- Stimulates Appetite: If you haven’t been feeling hungry, try a piece of ginger 10-30 minutes before a meal. Ginger can help stimulate appetite and get your digestive juices flowing.
- Assists Digestion/Absorption: Ginger has many healing properties all along the digestive tract, from stimulating digestive juices in the mouth, to the stomach, to the intestines. Ginger with a meal or in tea helps you get the most out of the nutrients in the foods.
The best news of all is that it is super easy to make your own pickled ginger and have it around all the time! Ginger keeps well in the refrigerator for a week or more, and even longer in the freezer. But if you pickle the ginger, you can store it for months in the fridge.
All you need is a nice big chunk of ginger root, some vinegar (rice vinegar is best, but honestly you can use just about any kind), and sugar. A tiny dash of salt helps too.
This recipe makes about one pint jar worth, feel free to multiply it for larger batches, or halve it for just a single meal’s worth.
- 1 large fresh ginger root (about 8 oz)
- 1 cup vinegar (rice wine or apple cider are best)
- 1/2 – 3/4 cups white sugar
- 1 – 2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 – 1/2 cup water to fill jar
Step 1: Peel the ginger using a sharp knife, butter knife, or a table spoon. (Honest, it works!) Using a mandoline or very sharp knife, slice the ginger as thinly as possible.
My mandoline, even on the thinnest setting, still sliced these super thick, so I won’t be eating these slices alone. Most likely they will get diced into stir fry or a strip or two tossed into a cup of tea.
Step 2: Pour the vinegar, sugar, salt, and water into a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Place the slices into a glass container (such as a canning jar, or clean pasta jar) and pour the hot liquid over, using a funnel if needed. Cap it tight, and let cool overnight.
And that’s all there is to it! Put the jar in the refrigerator, and let it sit for at least 2 hours, but the longer it sits the more pickled it will become. It also may turn pink over time, due to the enzymes in the ginger, this is nothing to be concerned about. Use more or less sugar and salt to your tastes, or experiment with the types of vinegar.
Let me know in what recipes you use your ginger!