Ginger is well known for its many health benefits and it is one of the most widely used ingredients in foods and natural medicines today. It is more than just an ingredient in Gingerbread men, it is more versatile than many would imagine.
History and health facts of Ginger
For over 5000 years, Ginger has been used in many ways and the earliest users are noted to be the Indians and Chinese who used it for mainly medicinal purposes. Up until Roman time the history of Ginger can be seen for its use both in medicine and cooking, curries from both China and India are not a curry without it. In Roman times the use of Ginger faded somewhat and the ingredient increased in value and was used in luxury delicacies. In the 14th Century the price and its value when traded along the spice route was such that price of a small piece of root Ginger was equal to the price of a whole lamb or other livestock.
In the earliest days, Ginger was well known for its warm taste that just made a person feel good, today Ginger tea is still produced and is very popular. However, it was the health benefits derived from the simple route that Ginger was most prized for. Eaten or drank to aid with digestion, colic and even flatulence ginger was also used as a rub to ease aches pains and clean infected skin. Herbalists the world over have a great deal of respect for Ginger and the proof lies in the results of using Ginger to help everything from the common cold to halitosis to nausea with flu.
Ginger is relatively easy to grow and farm. It is a root that needs little space to grow and has become a popular crop for small farmers in many countries where it is grown in large volumes. Grown for the root itself in warm moist climates Ginger still commands a high price as a crop ending up a raw root, dried root, oil and many other products. Ginger grows well alongside other crops such as bananas or chillies, farming ginger maximises land use making it popular to farm.
But why would Ginger be put into a cola drink?
The answer is that it is used as an ingredient for very much all the reasons above. Growing Ginger helps sustain farmers and that for small producers of any product is something close to their heart but above all, it surely has to be taste. The taste of ginger in anything is something warming that brings back memories of childhood to many people. Real ginger has a taste and smell all of its own and that is why it is put into more and more craft colas and beers and nothing tastes better than the burny taste of homemade ginger beer.
The added understanding among more people is that Ginger is good for you and ginger is seen as a healthy option. The health benefits of Ginger are again now in the spotlight and Ginger is considered to be vital as part of a healthier lifestyle. Adding Ginger to our Cape Cola makes absolute sense and while there are ginger flavourings, nothing comes close to the taste of real ginger in anything. Cutting of a piece of ginger root and chewing will soon demonstrate how different real ginger is to ginger flavoured products.
Ginger is something that every kitchen should contain. It can home grown easily and makes a wonderfully different addition to any herb garden. Adding root ginger or dried ginger to any curry or pudding gives it a flavour like few other ingredients can provide and that same taste is what makes a cola with real ginger stand out from the crowd.