Category Archives: Spice

Ginger – 5 reasons why you should include it in your daily diet


Cranberry sauce with Ginger - A Whole Foods suggested Recipe

Zingiber officinale or ginger is native to Asia, where it has been known to have been used by cultures over four thousand years.  In Asia it is a popular accompaniment to most meal plans or used as a cooking spice. Scientists have shown the presence of several volatile oils and pungent phenols and are researching the active ingredients for traditional therapies. Click here for hundreds of photographs of ginger rhizome, the flowering plant and illustrations (although some are of animals and people named ginger).

A Ginger Rhizome at the Grocery Store

GINGER RESEARCH – 5 major health benefits

The ginger rhizome extracts could reduce bacterial load (Gaus et. al., 2009); have strong anti-oxidative activity (Kikuzaki & Nakatani, 2006); and have potential anticancer agents (Miyoshi et. al., 2003), especially gastric cancer chemo-prevention (Gaus et. al., 2009). Ginger extracts have strong inhibitory effects on COX-2 enzyme activity, an enzyme responsible for inflammation and pain (Tjendraputra et. al., 2001).

GINGER SCIENCE

Ginger has been used fresh or as a dried powder. The rhizome of the plant holds the active ingredients used in traditional therapies. The fresh rhizome is the form in which ginger is sold and it is used in Asia in hot, boiling teas which probably assists in extracting the active ingredients. Herbalists supply it as extracts, tinctures, capsules and oils. For more information on the biology, and volatile and non-volatile constituents of ginger visit the University of Maryland Medical Center site which includes ginger on its list of top ten foods that prevent inflammation.

Alpinia purpurata - Hawaiian Red Ginger plant in the field

Ginger has been traditionally used to treat:

The common cold; Motion sickness; Chemotherapy nausea; and Inflammation.

It is so easy to include a little amount of ginger in your daily diet. Doing so may prevent some inflammation from bacteria, and pain and certain types of cancer. Below we include examples of how different people all around the world are doing so.

RECIPES WITH GINGER 

Please, visit the sites below with links for the ginger recipes by different authors, several creative and delicious international ones from our wordpress community:

1) Hot tea – soothing

Add slices of fresh ginger to boiling water and continue to boil for two minutes, add favorite tea bag or loose tea and steep following directions one to nine minutes. Visit this amazing Boston tea site for ginger teas.

2) Alcoholic – delightful

Visit Aimee’s site for a ginger mojito.

3) Fabulous chicken meal – great for hungry men.

Tested by brothers and made by a loving sister.

4) Healthy fruit sauce – tested by busy graduate student.

Uses a teaspoon of dried ginger in a apple-pear sauce.

5) A mouth-watering apricot chicken recipe.

Uses ginger powder and incorporates caramelized figs.

6) A fish recipe – ginger glazed salmon.
Utilizes the juice of fresh ginger.

7) The classic gingerbread man.

A recipe that makes lots of ginger cookies using ginger powder.

8) An amazingly beautiful chicken soup for the common cold.

9) Apple peel, jalapeno, ginger jelly – Wow!

A creative young man came up with this clever “Keep the doctor away” sweet, spicy and HOT recipe that you can keep in a jar.

10) A delicious chocolate cake with ginger by ‘Eatmeetswest’ is simply delicious.

This cake makes it easier for the young creator of this AWESOME recipe to cope with those Australian winters.

The main ingredient is ginger and this recipe uses a generous helping of it! The photos and step by step guide are so helpful on this site.

11) The cranberry sauce with ginger sauce recipe from Whole Foods.
Perfect, for family fall gatherings like Thanksgiving, or a year – round recipe for sour and spicy good times.

GROWING GINGER – at home :

According to a ginger enthusiast in Hawaii, it is not too complicated to grow ginger at home. It would be fun to try it to have a constant fresh supply at home.

Hawaiian Ginger - 5 days after leaves noticed on planting

Hawaiian ginger - One month after sprouting

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Healthy Ginger Zucchini Cupcakes (via Daily Crave)


Try this excellent and healthy recipe for your family. It has ginger, whose qualities I have raved about in a previous article, and zucchini, which I shall be researching in more detail later but is a nutritious vegetable.

Ginger Zucchini Cupcakes with an Orange-Spiced Cream Cheese Frosting If you're anything like me, right around this time of year you begin to get the Autumn itch.  The nights are slowly evolving into a cool calm, the scent of the outside air begins to change, and the anticipation for the fall festivities ahead has you wound up with total excitement! What better way to transition into the best time of year, than to unite the two worlds of summer and spice in this delicious cupcake.  My father in-law graciously gifte … Read More

via Daily Crave

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Saffron


Crocus sativus L.

Crocus is native to Asia Minor and Southern Europe. Saffron is obtained from the stigmas of the flower, which flowers in autumn. Crocus sativus L. is a major agricultural crop, in northeastern Iran. Not only is saffron one of the most ancient spices of the old world, since ancient times, the genetics of this plant has remained unchanged. The labor intensive method of removing the stigmas from the saffron flowers has made the product extremely expensive. Hence, this product may be found in the market place adulterated (Negbi, 2004).

A field of Saffron and the Saffron harvesters

Photo curtsey from: The Penthouse Kitchen

Medicinal value of Saffron

Ancient medicine uses included antispasmodic, carminative, expectorant, aphrodisiac, stimulant, cardiotonic, and stomachic (Zargari, 1993).  In modern medicine, crocus plant constituents are used as an exhilarant and curative of anxiety (Mirheidar, 1994; Salomi MJ, Nair SC and Panikkar KR, 1991). The orange-yellow coloring principle is crocin.

Saffron: Photo curtsey Vaishali Parekh

Pharmacological research has shown the extract of saffron to have antitumor effects (Rojhan , 1995), radical scavenger activities (Nair SC, Kurumboor SK, Hasegawa JH., 1995) and hypolipaemic effects (DerMarderosian, 2001). Research shows potential usefulness in neurodegenerative disorders connected with memory impairment (Abe and Saito, 2000). In addition, Kaempferol, an extract of saffron petals has potential as an anitdepressant (Hadizadeh, 2003; Karimi G, Hosseinzadeh H and Khaleghpanah P. 2001).

There are other varieties of Crocus sp. which are highly valuable and economically important in the garden as flowering plants. However, the saffron producing European crop is in danger of extinction. Saffron production has decreased dramatically in many European countries and is already extinct in England and Germany. The world Saffron and Crocus collection makes available a wide variety of over twenty Crocus genotypes. It aims to slow down the genotypic erosion and hosts a database of Crocus species from various countries.

Recipe suggestions:

Visit Vaishali Parekh’s site which has a delicious Indian recipe using saffron.

Visit The Penthouse Kitchen site, caterers serving you recipes using saffron.

Experts on Crocus sativus :

1. Moshe Negbi 
Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot, Israel

2. Farzin Hadizadeh*a,b, Naaman Khalilia, Hossein Hosseinzadeha,b, Randa Khair-Aldinea. Faculty of  Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran,  bBu-Ali Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Center, Bu-Ali Square, Mashhad, Iran.

Corresponding author for reference on kaempferol: Email: fhadizadeh@yahoo.com

References:

1. Negbi, Moshe. 2004.

Saffron. ‘Prelims’, Saffron, 1:1, 1 – 12 . Edited by Dr Roland Hardman; Harvood academic publishers; The Netherlands. ISBN 0-203-30366-0 Master e-book ISBN

2. Farzin Hadizadeh*a,b, Naaman Khalilia, Hossein Hosseinzadeha,b, Randa Khair-Aldinea 2003. Kaempferol from Saffron Petals. Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research : 251-252.

3) Zargari A. Medicinal Plants, 1993. Volume 4, Tehran University Press, Tehran : 574-578.

4) Mirheidar H. Maarif-e Ghiahi, Farhang-e. 1994. Eslami Press, Tehran : 341-5 6

5) Salomi MJ, Nair SC and Panikkar KR. 1991. Inhibitory effects of Nigella sativa and Crocus sativus on chemical carcinogenesis in mice. Nutr. Cancer (1991) 16: 67-72 .

6) Rojhan MS. 1995, Herbal drugs and treatment. Alavi Press, Tehran :87

7) Nair SC, Kurumboor SK, Hasegawa JH.. 1995. Saffron chemoprevention in biology and medicine. Cancer Biother. 10: 257-264.

8) DerMarderosian. 2001. A. Review of Natural Products, Facts and Comparison, Missouri :520.

9) Abe k and Saito H. 2000. Effects of saffron extract on learning behavior and long-term potentiation. Phytother. Res. 14: 149-152.

10) Karimi G, Hosseinzadeh H and Khaleghpanah P.. 2001. Study of antidepressant effect of aqueous and ethanol extract of Crocus sativus in mice. Iranian J. Basic Sciences 4: 186-190.

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