Native to tropical southern China, ginger travelled to India, Africa and Europe nearly 2,000 years ago. The fleshy roots, called rhizomes, are widely used in cooking and for medicinal purposes.
Ginger Ginger is extremely rich in potassium. It has a good amount of minerals like iron, magnesium, calcium, and phosphorus. Also a good source of vitamins E, A, and C. It also contains folate and choline.
It has traditionally been used to aid indigestion, treat nausea and diarrhea and reduce inflammation and muscle pain. More recent studies have shown promise in treating some forms of cancer, asthma, migraines and liver damage.
Ginger grows 2′ to 4′ tall stems that resemble bamboo. Mature plants produce attractive pink to yellow flowers. In tropical regions, it is commonly grown as an ornamental landscape plant. When planted in a large pot, it can also live as a houseplant in a sunny window.
Ginger takes about 8 to 10 months of warm temperatures to mature after planting, so it’s important to start it indoors. In the winter, choose 1″ to 2″ pieces of ginger that contain at least two “eyes”. Plant two to three pieces per 12″ to 15″ pot. Ginger requires rich, fertile soil, so mix in 25% compost or add several heaping handfuls of worm castings. Mix thoroughly. Plant the ginger pieces, eyes facing up, about 2″ to 3″ deep toward the center of the pot. Keep the pot warm–at least 70º F–until the young plants sprout. This may take several weeks. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Ginger does not like soggy soil. After plants sprout and grow roots, increase watering and fertilize monthly.
Move the pot outdoors to a partly shaded spot when temperatures are reliably above 65º. Protect from wind and direct sun.
Harvest & Keep
Harvest ginger when the tops begin to yellow or the rhizomes have reached the desired size. Loosen the soil under the rhizomes or tip the plant out of the pot. Pull the soil away from the rhizomes, keeping a portion to replant, if desired. Wash the rhizomes and trim off the leaves and roots.
Refrigerate portions in ziptop plastic bags and store in the refrigerator for up to 8 weeks. Ginger may also be peeled, grated and frozen in teaspoon-sized balls for longer storage and convenience.
Do not give ginger to children under age two. Ginger may interact with blood-thinning, diabetes and high blood pressure medications. Consult a physician if these are risk factors for you.