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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Rooting for Ginger

It only seemed fitting to follow my chocolate post with what is probably my second favorite (and almost as magical) substance on the planet – ginger. Most people enjoy ginger in either Asian cuisine or holiday baked goods. But it actually has few limitations in both cooking and baking. It’s one of my personal favorite ingredients in everything from dressings, sauces, marinades, soups, peanut butter, fruit dishes, hot or cold drinks, and smoothies to chocolate, and desserts. And I’m not talking about the powdered stuff.

If I’m the mood to spice things up, I’ll head straight to the Farmer’s Market or produce section for some fresh ginger (soooooo delicious!). My favorite seasonal ginger dishes include: dark chocolate ginger truffles (winter), ginger coleslaw (spring), strawberry ginger dressing (summer), and baked apples with ginger (fall). If you haven’t cooked with fresh ginger before, I have a few tips.

Avoid ginger that looks wrinkled, discolored, or moldy (I probably didn’t have to tell you that), and look for pieces with smooth, unblemished, almost translucent skin. Peel it using the edge of a metal spoon to scrape off the skin, then grate it using a microplane (careful – very sharp!) or grater.

Some people recommend storing ginger wrapped in the refrigerator to prevent it from drying out, but others say it turns moldy if you refrigerate it and advise storing it at room temperature like potatoes. I rarely have any left over but I’d say the real key is only buying what you'll need so storage won’t be an issue (a little goes a long way). And last but not least, keep in mind that ginger's flavor fades as it cooks, so it’s generally best to add it at the end of cooking.

P.S. I almost forgot – ginger isn’t just for nausea. Like other spices, ginger contains powerful phytochemicals that may play a role in reducing cancer risk. And other studies have linked ginger to anti-inflammation.
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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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