China "Number One" Ginger, Whole Root Or Powder
Dehydrated Ginger root comes in whole and powdered form. It is very healthy and useful for baking, marinades and sauces. Once you find ginger creeping into your cooking, you will be surprised at the subtle way it has of incorporating itself into more and more of your culinary repertoire.
Ginger is yet another spice whose existence has made itself known since man’s earliest recorded history. Ginger was often sought for its healing values and is mentioned in the Aryurveda, the Hindu manual of the science of medicine, written in the fifth century BC. The Koran also mentions ginger in 76:15-17: “Round amongst them [the righteous in Paradise] are passed vessels of silver and goblets of glass ... a cup, the admixture of which is ginger.” In Chinese cooking, ginger commands an almost mystical reverence, based foremost on its strong past in medicinal healing, but also on the spiritual part ginger once played in communication with the gods during early religious ceremonies. In Chinese cuisine, which of course varies with the large expanse of land China covers, it is interesting that ginger plays a major part in the balance of food in almost all parts of the country, serving as a yang (hot) ingredient. If you are familiar with fresh ginger, you know that this is not merely a philosophical description. The Chinese use the balance of harmony, the yin and yang, in all aspects of their life, including cooking. Many yin (cooling) dishes are balanced with the yang of ginger, most often resulting in both a spiritually and nutritionally balanced meal. We seem to unknowingly juxtapose ingredients like this in Western cooking. The fact that the results are similar, without our consciously paying attention in the manner that the Chinese do, probably says something about the overall nature of man’s need for a balance no matter what the individual’s spiritual bent. The Chinese primarily use fresh ginger in their cooking. The two major exceptions are both powdered spice blends: curry (borrowed from the cultures of neighbors to the south of China) and Five Spice powder (a very tasty spice mixture frequently used in Chinese cooking); both use powdered ginger. Around 5,000 years ago when spice caravans left India for the Middle East, ginger in its fresh form would not last throughout the long trip. It was dried after picking, and then sent to Arab and Persian cultures, where ginger was used primarily as a spice. Although initially these Middle Eastern cultures used dried ginger because it was the only form available, today one still finds that dried ginger is preferred in Middle Eastern cooking. The dried spice can be stored indefinitely. When needed, simply soak for one hour to rehydrate, and use as if fresh. This rehydrated ginger can be grated into a paste, or you can grate the dry root to get the type of ginger powder necessary for your baking needs. The majority of ginger imported into this country comes from Cochin, India but it is inferior in quality to the top grade of Chinese ginger, known as China Number One. Our powdered ginger is ground fresh weekly, as its lemony fresh aroma will attest.