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Home > Types of Spices > Roots > Ginger
Ginger root
Botanical name: Zingiber officinale Linn.
Family: Zingiberaceae.

. Ginger rootIndian names are as follows:
Kannada:Shunti, Ardraka
Sanskrit:Ardraka, Shoont
Urdu:Adrak, Adhrak

. Ginger of commerce or `Adrak` is the dried underground stem or rhizome of the plant, which constitutes one of the five most important major spices of India, standing third or fourth, competing with chillies, depending upon fluctuations in world market prices, world market demand and supply position.

Ginger, like cinnamon, clove and pepper, is one of the most important and oldest spices. It consists of the prepared and sun dried rhizomes known in trade as `hands` and `races` which are either with the outer brownish cortical layers (coated or unscraped), or with outer peel or coating partially or completely removed.

Ginger requires a warm and humid climate. It is cultivated from sea level to an altitude of 1500 meters, either under heavy rainfall conditions of 150 to 300 cm or under irrigation. The crop can thrive well in sandy or clayey loam or lateritic soils.

The composition of dry ginger is given below:
Dry Ginger rootMoisture:6.9 %
Protein:8.6 %
Fat:6.4 %
Fiber:5.9 %
Carbohydrates:66.5 %
Ash:5.7 %
Calcium:0.1 %
Phosphorous:.15 %
Iron:0.011 %
Sodium:0.03 %
Potassium:1.4 %
Vitamin A:175 I.U./100 g
Vitamin B1:0.05 mg/100 g
Vitamin B2:0.13 mg/100 g
Niacin:1.9 mg/100 g
Vitamin C:12.0 mg/100 g
Calorific value:380 calories/100 g.

It may be noted however that the composition given above may not be applicable to ginger produced in all the countries or region. For example inferior ginger may have excessive fiber for which they are valued at lower price.

On steam distillation, dried, cracked and comminuted ginger yields 1.0 to 3.0 % of pale yellow, viscid oil. The oil possesses the aromatic odor but not the pungent flavor of the spice. Of course, the odor of the oil is quite lasting.

Ginger Oleoresin is obtained by extraction of powdered dried ginger with suitable solvents like alcohol, acetone etc. Unlike volatile oil, it contains both the volatile oil and the non-volatile pungent principles for which ginger is so highly esteemed. Concentration of the acetone extract under vacuum and on complete removal of even traces of the solvent used, yields the so called oleoresin of ginger. Ginger oleoresin is manufactured on a commercial scale in India and abroad and is in great demand by the various food industries.

The aroma of ginger is pleasant and spicy and the flavor penetrating, slightly biting due to antiseptic or pungent compounds present in it, which makes it indispensable in the manufacture of a number of food products like ginger bread, confectionary, ginger ale, curry powders, soft drinks, vegetable, meat and fish curries, ginger cocktail, sauces etc. Ginger preserves and ginger candy prepared from green or fresh ginger is quite favorite of many and find great demand.

A number of alcoholic beverages are prepared from ginger in foreign countries, such as ginger brandy, ginger wine, ginger beer etc. Considering quality of ginger available in India, it is also possible to plan to produce such items in India too.

According to the Ayurvedic and Unani system of medicine, ginger is considered to be carminative, stimulant and given in dyspepsia and flatulent colic. With honey and Basil leaves it acts as an excellent expectorant.

Ginger oil is used as food flavorant, has pharmaceutical applications and to a limited extent in perfumery industries. Oleoresin has many applications identical to the spice itself.
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