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Healthy Eats and Repeat

Highlighting Food, Recipes, and Ideas for a Healthy Lifestyle
ginger root - pixabay

Savory Spice: Ginger

Posted by Caitlin Huth - ginger mango

Ginger ale. Gingerbread. Ginger tea. Have you guessed the topic of this post yet?

Knobby and finger-like, fresh ginger, or ginger root, is a flavorful addition to cooking and beverages. It can be used in a variety of different recipes. Ginger in stir-fry is one of my favorite ways to use it.  Such a light, fresh taste.


A teaspoon of fresh ginger, like many herbs and spices, is not a significant source of calories, fat, protein, or carbohydrates. That teaspoon contains very small amounts of some vitamins and minerals, like niacin (a B vitamin) and potassium, so it is not a main source of those nutrients.  But it does pack a flavorful punch to recipes.

  • Buy: When buying fresh ginger, look for pieces with the light brown skin intake. The root should be smooth, not wrinkled, soft, or dried out.

  • Price: Fresh ginger is usually sold per pound, so pick small pieces if your recipe only needs a small amount. If fresh is too expensive or not available, dried ground ginger is another option.  See Equivalent below to compare using fresh to dried.
  • Store: Store fresh ginger in the refrigerator in a storage bag or container for a couple weeks. Throw away if you notice mold growing on the ginger.

To freeze, peel the skin off the ginger root. Keep in larger pieces and wrap tightly in foil or in a freezer bag with as much of the air removed as possible. Or peel and grate ginger; freeze in small piles, such as on a baking sheet or in an ice-cube tray. Once frozen, move to a freezer bag.

  • Prepare: Peel skin off ginger. Due to its odd angles, it may be easier to use a small knife rather than a vegetable peeler. Cut into desired sized pieces or grate into even smaller pieces.
  • Equivalent: 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger = 1/8 tsp dried ground ginger

Papaya Ginger Smoothie (Serves 4)

½ cup carrot mango juice
½ cup evaporated skim milk
1 ½ cups frozen ripe papaya cubes
1 small ripe banana, sliced
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
2 limes, juiced

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until creamy and smooth. Enjoy immediately.
2. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for 24 hours, or freeze into ice pops for long-term storage.
Nutritional analysis per serving: 80 calories, 0g fat, 60mg sodium, 18g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 3g protein

Recipe from Jenna Smith, Nutrition and Wellness Educator, University of Illinois Extension

Ginger Agriculture

UI Extension Horticulture Educator, Chris Enroth, shared this trivia:

"Though it is a tropical crop, ginger cannot tolerate soil temperatures above 90 degrees, and will perish if soil temperatures drop below 50 degrees. Maintaining a moderate soil temperature is important for ginger's development."

And watch how ginger is being grown in Virginia.


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