Red Ginger creates a festive feeling in the kitchen: it gives a cozy feeling to a dining room table. But if you have never tried ginger, you may not realize how much it can add to your enjoyment of the kitchen. It adds a burst of flavor to just about any dish, but in a very interesting way. It is quite similar to the flavor of ginger ale, but instead of adding a sharp jolt of flavor, it adds a subtle, yet flavorful enhancement to meals.
The common name for red ginger is Gaguinga hirsutaica. Red Ginger creates silvery, glossy leaves that are nearly as long as tall. At first, the small round leaves look quite ordinary – as with other members of the ginger family – but they quickly darken to a deep red. From amidst the leafy green foliage, the red ginger plant produces a tall cane-like stalk that can be up to 18 inches in height.
The flowering plant is a slightly curved rhizome with three to nine oval-shaped petals. Each of the petals contains an aromatic oil that is released when the plant is disturbed. The rhizome is covered with a silky green aromatic fluid, and the attractive red ginger plant blooms for only one year in each year. As with the name suggests, the flowering plant blooms for one season only. As long as the flowers are preserved and stored away, there is no guarantee that the ginger will bloom again for the next twelve months. Even in storage, the rhizome will turn gray as time goes by, turning the bulbous base into a dull, straw-colored mass.
After the red flower bracts have developed fully, the mature plant turns yellow and falls from the vine. Once it begins to die back, the beautiful purple blossoms begin to appear. There are approximately fifteen species of this plant. They are native to China and Korea and are commonly used in Chinese cooking.
One of the most common uses of red ginger is for traditional medicine. It has been used as a digestive aid since ancient times. Today, many herbalists recommend its use as an effective appetite suppressant and natural appetite enhancer. Because of the antiseptic properties of the plant, it is also often recommended for treating skin infections. However, there are several conditions where a.purata should not be consumed; for instance, if pregnant or breast feeding, because it is contaminated with bacteria.
Red Purpurea roots can be grown in damp earth at low temperatures. As long as they are kept relatively dry, the red ginger plant will continue to thrive. The roots can be grouped into two categories: wet and dry. The roots of the dry plant are recommended for cooking purposes, while those of the wet plant are recommended for ingestion. Red Purpurea is also calling “bitterroot” and used as a digestive aid.
For centuries, Native Americans have grown red bracts for medicinal purposes. Today, it is grown commercially as a spice, although most American consumers buy it raw. Hawaii plants come from the same family as the red ginger plant, and both have similar bitter tastes.
Red Ginger roots can be stored for months in the refrigerator. When the product is exposed to air, it begins to oxidize. This process produces a mild spice reminiscent of caraway or nutmeg. Many people prefer the product to red wine, but it has no discernible flavor. It can be added to smoothies, juices, and desserts or used in cooked dishes. Proponents say that consuming it regularly helps relieve sinus congestion, headaches, indigestion, stomach cramps, and other ailments associated with the respiratory system.