Europe is an interesting market for exporters of dried ginger. The demand is expected to grow in the coming years and prices are rising. China is the main supplier of both whole and ground ginger to Europe, and it is your main competitor on the European market.
Ginger is the irregularly shaped root (rhizome) of the ginger plant (Zingiber officinale). The plant is cultivated in the tropics. The main producing countries are China, India, Nigeria and Peru.
Ginger is mainly used in:
- Oriental and Indian cooking;
- Bakery and confectionery products;
This fact sheet focuses only on dried ginger (both whole and crushed/ground). Fresh ginger is not included in this fact sheet, since it belongs to the fresh fruit and vegetables market. It is included in our studies of Fresh fruit and vegetables. The markets for fresh and dried ginger are closely connected, however, and fresh ginger exports are even larger than dried.
Drying of fresh ginger generally takes place in the countries of origin.
Within the Harmonised System, dried ginger is covered under the following codes:
- 0910.1100: whole ginger
- 0910.1200: crushed or ground ginger
Growing imports of dried ginger in Europe
The worldwide consumption of ginger is increasing. The global and European market for ginger is expected to show significant growth until at least 2020. Especially in the winter of 2016-2017, the European demand for ginger peaked due to the colder weather. Consumers buy ginger during the winter because of its health properties. For example, consumers use ginger as a sore throat remedy. The growing ginger market in Europe provides opportunities for you as an exporter. Buyers are increasingly willing to invest in long-term relationships or collaborations with their suppliers in order to ensure sufficient supplies.
In 2016, the total imports of dried ginger reached 152,000 tonnes. Since 2012, the import value has increased by 19% annually. The import volume increased in that same period by 13% annually.
In 2016, 72% of the total European imports were sourced directly from developing countries. Please note that Figure 1 below excludes countries other than European or developing countries. In 2016, these other countries accounted for only 0.2% of the total European imports.
Since ginger cannot be produced in Europe, the European supplies illustrated in Figure 1 are based on re-exports. European re-exports accounted for 27% of the total imports in 2016.
- Invest in establishing long-term trade relationships with your buyers. Demonstrate that you can deliver stable supplies which meet the requirements for food safety and product quality.
- See the final section of this fact sheet for more information on prices.
The Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany are the most interesting markets for dried ginger in Europe
Figures 2 and 3 show the leading European importers of dried ginger and their consumption (consumption is calculated as imports minus exports). Please note that the data in these figures are an indication of the European ginger market, and that they include both industrial and private consumption. Actual consumption may differ, due to long-term storage of stocks and unregistered trade. In addition, consumption includes the use of ginger in the food processing industry. This fact is important, since a large share of ginger is used in this industry; namely for bakery products (such as gingerbread and cookies), Asian food products and various drinks (e.g. ginger ale or ginger beer).
Figures 2 and 3 illustrate that the most interesting markets for you are the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Germany. You can find a more extensive analysis of the most interesting markets below.
Interesting markets for you as an exporter include the following:
- The Netherlands Netherlands is the largest importer and trader of ginger in Europe. Its imports have increased significantly in volume by 16% annually between 2012 and 2016. In 2016, 96% of Dutch imports were sourced directly in developing countries. The country has a high and relatively unstable per capita consumption. Since 2014, consumption increased significantly. This instability and sharp increase could be caused by the country’s important role as a trade hub for intra-European trade, since consumption is calculated as imports minus exports. While consumption is not expected to be that instable, the re-exports of ginger varied significantly during the last years and may have influenced apparent consumption.
- Since the United Kingdom sources 94% of its ginger from developing countries, it is an interesting export market for your products. The country is also the second-largest importer of ginger in Europe, which could be caused by the relatively substantial population of Asian descent. Its consumption per capita is significantly higher than the European average and has been increasing slightly since 2014.
- Germany is the third-largest importer of ginger. Its total imports in volume increased by 11% annually since 2012. The German per capita consumption is slightly higher than the European average.
- France is a large importer of ginger and its imports have increased in volume by 10% annually since 2012. In 2016, the imported volume in France reached 5,800 tonnes.
- Italy is an important trade hub for ginger. Since 2012, imports of ginger in Italy have increased significantly by an annual rate of 40%.
- Spain is a fast-growing market for ginger. Imports into the country increased by 29% between 2012 and 2016.
- Many other smaller importers are increasingly importing ginger directly from developing countries over the last five years. Examples are Portugal (growing by 44% of imports annually), Austria (27%) and Poland (16%).
- Visit or participate in trade fairs to test whether the market is open to your product, obtain market information and find potential buyers. The most relevant trade fairs in Europe are Food Ingredients Europe, BioFach (for organic products), Anuga and SIAL.
- See our tips on Finding buyers and Doing business for additional information.
Local value addition is becoming more important
European exporters or re-exporters add value to dried ginger by further processing and packaging. However, the processing of ginger is also done in the country of origin. Especially heat treatments, such as steam sterilisation, are becoming an important buyer requirement.
The trend in local value addition is illustrated in Figure 4, which depicts ground ginger as a form of value addition.
Supplies of ground ginger are relatively low (6% of the total ginger imports) and have been stable from 2012 to 2016. Figure 4 shows the division of exports for both whole and ground ginger.
China has been excluded from the figure, as its supplies are out of proportion compared to the other supplies. Of all crushed ginger imported from developing countries, 42% comes from China. However, China still mainly exports whole ginger to Europe.
Several countries have increased their exports of ground ginger to Europe. Between 2012 and 2016, Peru’s exports to Europe increased in volume by 85% annually, Indonesia’s by 85%, Myanmar’s by 55% and Pakistan’s by 56%.
- Explore opportunities to work together with European processors, especially large ones that have the size and resources to invest. You can find these processors in the member lists of national spice associations in Europe. Go to the member section of the European Spice Association (ESA) for an overview of associations.
Search for healthier ingredients
The growing demand for dried ginger on the European market is stimulated by consumers searching for healthier ingredients.
Healthy living is one of the most important trends in Europe. Consumers perceive food ingredients such as salt, sugar and synthetic additives as unhealthy. These products are increasingly replaced by other products that also add flavour, such as spices and herbs.
Consumers use dried ginger for its promoted beneficial effects to health. For example, journals and food bloggers state that the consumption of ginger helps with digestive problems, the flu and stress.
Dried, ground ginger is sold by retailers in the spices segment; for example:
- REWE in Germany;
- Albert Heijn in the Netherlands.
Due to its popularity, ginger is also increasingly used as a health supplement as well as in other food products such as tea and snacks. Examples are:
- Ginger root health supplement at Holland & Barrett (the United Kingdom);
- Organic ginger tea at Albert Heijn (the Netherlands);
- Ginger and elder blossom tea at REWE (Germany);
- Ginger Nuts (biscuits) at Morrisons (the United Kingdom).
- See the website of Food Ingredients Europe, an important international trade fair for the food ingredient and health sector in Europe.
- Have a look at the website of FoodNavigator to learn more about food health trends and other developments in the food sector.
- Do not make any health claims regarding the consumption of ginger if you cannot use reliable and scientific sources. European legislation is very strict in terms of health claims on consumer packaging.
- Be aware of the buyer requirements for natural ingredients for health products if you want to sell your ginger as a health product. These buyer requirements are stricter than the requirements for food.
Growing popularity of ethnic cuisines
The demand for ethnic food in Europe is rising. Since dried ginger is an important ingredient in Asian dishes, it is becoming increasingly popular on the European market.
Examples of Asian recipes that are popular in Europe and that contain ginger are:
- Hot meals such as “Ginger and Hoisin Glazed Pork” and “Ginger Beef Stir-fry”;
- Snacks such as ginger cookies, often consumed during the Chinese New Year.
There are two main causes for the increase in the popularity of ethnic cuisines:
- The multicultural population in Europe is growing. In 2014, 20% of newly immigrated Europeans were of Asian descent.
- Other Europeans are increasingly interested in exotic cuisines. They are linked with the rest of the world through the internet and travelling. They can easily search for Asian recipes online and bring back recipes from their holidays to Asia.
Sustainability is on the rise
Sustainable sourcing is an important trend in Europe, especially in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany.
As a supplier, you will be increasingly faced with sustainability requirements from your buyer. Many buyers see sustainable sourcing as a must.
By certifying your ginger, you can proof your compliance with sustainable sourcing. However, certified ginger is still a niche market. It represents only a small section on the total European market for ginger. In addition, most buyers in the mainstream market are unwilling to pay more for certified products. As a result, it is important to discuss the opportunities for certification with your buyers before you become certified.
Certification does give you a competitive edge. For dried ginger, the main certifications are Organic and Fairtrade. For Organic certified ginger, the most interesting markets are Germany and the Netherlands. For Fairtrade certified ginger, the most interesting market is the United Kingdom. However, ginger represents only 3% of all spices and herbs certified by Fairtrade International in Europe (31 tonnes in 2015). Such data are unavailable for organic ginger.
You can only export dried ginger to Europe if you comply with buyer requirements for spices and herbs. Below, you will find more information on requirements that are specific to dried ginger.
When exporting dried ginger to Europe, you have to comply with the following legally binding requirements:
- Food safety: traceability, hygiene and control as specified in the General Food Law;
- mycotoxins contamination: for ginger, the maximum level of aflatoxin is between 5.0 μg/kg (aflatoxin B1) and 10 μg/kg (total aflatoxin content B1, B2, G1 and G2). For ochratoxin, the maximum level is 15μg/kg;
- maximum residue levels of pesticides: if your ginger contains more pesticides than allowed, it will be withdrawn from the European market;
- microbiological contamination: your ginger is banned from the market if salmonella is found;
- food additives and adulteration: spices and spice blends are rejected by custom authorities if they contain undeclared, unauthorised or excessive levels of extraneous materials;
- maximum levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs): contamination with PAHs stems from bad drying practices;
- irradiation: this process is allowed but not commonly used.
European buyers are increasingly requiring their suppliers to use steam sterilisation in order to combat the microbiological contamination of ginger. You could earn a significant premium if you can supply ginger that is sterilised at the source. However, investments in the necessary equipment can be very costly, at up to € 1 million.
Research is being conducted into alternatives to steam sterilisation, as this treatment negatively affects the taste of ginger. Currently, it is still the cheapest and safest method to combat microbiological contamination.
- Check the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) database for examples of ginger withdrawn from the market and the reasons behind these withdrawals. Withdrawals of ginger do not occur often. However, you should keep in mind that withdrawals can occur and avoid them at all costs. A withdrawal will influence the reputation of your ginger as well as the reputation of your country as a ginger supplier.
- Comply with the requirements listed above. Your buyer will transfer the costs for cleaning contaminated ginger to you if you do not.
- Always discuss with your potential buyers whether they want steam sterilisation. If you cannot sterilise your ginger yourself, look for local sterilisation companies that can provide this service for you.
- Comply with food safety requirements during drying, storage, processing (such as sieving, mixing, grinding or crushing), packaging and transport. If you do not comply, steam sterilisation will not work.
- You also need to prevent contamination with mycotoxins and other contaminants, because steam sterilisation cannot take these substances out.
- Keep up to date on the development of alternatives to steam sterilisation by checking online sources such as GreenFooDec.
Consider complying with the following non-legal requirements to ease market access. European buyers can use these requirements as selection criteria.
- Food safety certification as a guarantee: the most important food safety management systems in Europe are British Retail Consortium (BRC), International Featured Standards (IFS), Food Safety System Certification 22000 (FSSC 22000) and the Safe Quality Food programme (SQF). Always verify your buyer’s preference for a specific food safety management system, as some may prefer one system over the other. For example, BRC is developed by retailers in the United Kingdom and more commonly demanded on this market. If you want to target the United Kingdom, BRC may be more important;
- Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): companies have different requirements for CSR, such as signing their code of conduct or following common standards including the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX), Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) or the Business Social Compliance Initiative code of conduct (BSCI).
Requirements for niche markets
If you want to enter a nice market such as organic of Fairtrade, it is essential that you comply with the following standards:
- Sustainable product certification: the major certification systems are Organic, Fair Trade and Rainforest Alliance;
- Self-verification: suppliers assess their own compliance with the sustainability code of buyers. Examples include Unilever’s Sustainable Agricultural Code (SAC) or the Olam Livelihood Charter.
Product quality is a key issue for buyers in Europe. You need to comply with the Quality Minima Document published by the European Spice Association (ESA). This document is leading for the national spice associations affiliated with the ESA and for most key buyers in Europe.
The Quality Minima Document specifies the chemical and physical parameters dried that ginger needs to comply with when sold in Europe before crushing and grinding (after drying).
- Ash: maximum 8%
- Acid-Insoluble Ash: maximum 2%
- Moisture: maximum 12%
- Volatile oil: minimum 1.5 ml/100 g
- SO2: maximum 150 ppm.
The ESA has not developed cleanliness specifications. As a result, European buyers often use the specifications for cleanliness stated by the American Spice Trade Association (ASTA).
- Check ISO standard 5564-1982 for general guidelines on the grading, handling and packing of ginger.
- Check ESA’s Quality Minima Document for more information on the chemical and physical parameters that your unprocessed ginger needs to comply with when it is sold in Europe.
Correct labelling is important for European buyers. To this end, pay extra attention to labelling your product.
For bulk ginger, you have to include the following information:
- The name of the product;
- Details of the manufacturer (name and address);
- Batch number;
- Date of manufacture;
- Product grade;
- Producing country;
- Harvest date (month-year);
- Net weight.
Other information that exporting and importing countries may require include the bar, producer and/or packager code, as well as any extra information that can be used in order to trace the product back to its origin.
- See our study of the European market for consumer packed spices and herbs to find requirements for consumer packaging and labelling. In Europe, there are very strict requirements for the packaging and labelling of consumer products, which differ from the requirements mentioned here.
For shipping, bulk whole dried ginger roots should be packaged in jute sacks (36-65 kg). It is less common but also possible to pack the roots in wooden boxes or linen corrugated cardboard boxes (60 kg).
Ginger processed in the form of slices or powder is packaged in multi-wall laminated bags of different weights ranging from 1 to 25 kg. Common weight classes are 12.5 kg and 25 kg..
- Always ask your buyer for their specific packaging requirements.
- Store packaged ginger in a dry, cool place to prevent quality deterioration.
- If you offer Organic certified ginger, physically separate it from ginger that is not certified.
- See the website of Practical Actions to learn more on improving pre-harvest handling and processing for ginger.
- Make sure that the materials which you use for packaging are impermeable to moisture and air. Sealing machines can be used to seal the bags.
Your main competitors are other suppliers from developing countries. In 2016, these suppliers exported 109,000 tonnes of dried ginger to Europe, accounting for € 124 million. Of these imports, 94% comprised whole ginger.
China is Europe’s main supplier of ginger and also your most important competitor. The country accounted for 58% of all supplies from developing countries to Europe in 2016.
Other suppliers of ginger from developing countries are:
- Peru (4.1% of market share in 2016)
- Nigeria (2.9%)
- Brazil (2.6%)
- India (1.1%)
Peru’s market share has increased significantly, by 70% since 2012, though its supplies are small compared to China.
Fresh ginger is an important substitute for dried ginger. Fresh ginger is used for cooking, at home or in restaurants, and in food and beverage manufacturing.
The production of ginger in China is mainly mechanised. Other small suppliers, such as Peru, conduct their production manually. As a result, China is able to produce and export large quantities of ginger compared to the other suppliers from developing countries. This fact makes it difficult to compete with China if you are a smaller supplier. If you want to compete with China, you should be able to:
- Deliver stable supplies of ginger, both in quantity and in quality;
- Comply with delivery times;
- Comply with food safety requirements.
You can also explore opportunities on niche markets such as organic and Fairtrade, or for specific applications such as beverages, which have specific requirements.
If you want to sell your ground ginger to Europe, you are competing directly with European processors. Your buyers could ask you to provide the same service as European re-exporters. You will have to make sure that you comply with their requirements such as short supply times and steam sterilisation.
- See our study of Competition on the European spices and herbs market. Competition on the ginger market does not differ significantly from competition on the market for other spices and herbs.
- Check the harvesting calendars at the website of Nedspice to understand the different harvesting periods in large producing countries. This information is important to know, as harvesting periods in different ginger-producing countries vary considerably, which has a major impact on your competitive position throughout the year.
- Stay up to date on worldwide harvests and stock levels. Look for crop reports, which are often shared by industry players during specific spice events. Nedspice and ITC Trade Map also publish up-to-date information on national and international prices for ginger.
- Explore opportunities to cooperate with European processors, especially large ones that have the size and resources to invest. You can find European processors in the member lists of the national spice association in Europe. See the member section of the European Spice Association (ESA) for an overview of associations.
- Check the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAOSTAT) website for ginger production data.
See our study of Channels and segments on the European market for spices and herbs. The channels for ginger do not differ significantly from those for other spices and herbs.
Ginger is an annual crop. Its prices fluctuate between one harvesting season and the next. The price of dried ginger also depends on the price of fresh ginger.
While market prices for Chinese fresh ginger decreased significantly in the beginning of 2016, the market recovered at the end of the harvest season (September and October 2016). These prices fluctuations of fresh ginger have influenced the global market prices for dried ginger (Figure 5).
In the beginning of 2017, international prices for ginger increased due to these same yearly fluctuations. The prices ranged between US$ 6,000 and US$ 7,000 per tonne.
Global market prices for ginger are strongly influenced by the largest producer of both fresh and dried ginger, China. However, traders often prefer ginger from more expensive suppliers in Peru and Brazil, for example. They prefer these suppliers because of their higher quality.
Figure 5: Chinese, Nigerian and Indian market prices for ginger imported to Europe
(in US$ per tonne, 2014-2016)
Source: NedSpice 2016.
Figure 6: Indicative price breakdown for ginger, in %
Figure 6 gives an indicative price breakdown for ginger. European retail prices for ginger are much higher than global trade prices. However, exporters from developing countries do not necessarily profit from these trade prices. European processors and retailers add large price margins.
The margins that you can receive as an exporter may differ. These margins are influenced by various factors such as:
- Country of origin;
- Current and expected future harvest situation;
- Quality of the raw material;
- Level of processing;
- Level of demand;
- Trends in prices.
Margins and profits can be higher for you as an exporter if you are able to add value locally. For example, by further processing or certification, you can create a competitive edge and benefit more.
Establish long-lasting relationships with your buyers. Buyers are willing to pay higher prices to suppliers that are able to help secure supply and comply with delivery times as well as food safety requirements. They will also be more willing to invest in your partnership.
Please review our market information disclaimer
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When I was first learning about herbs, I would excitedly read a new recipe or tutorial only to find out it needed some exotic-sounding special ingredient that required an internet order to obtain.
Remembering that frustration, I thought I’d share with you fourteen ways to use ground ginger, which is easily obtained from the baking or spice section of your local supermarket.
Optimally, you’d want an organic brand, but these recipes will work with whatever type is available to you. For this post, I went to my local grocery store and spent just a few dollars on a bottle of Frontier brand organic ground ginger. (You can also find it HERE on Amazon.)
The majority of my spices and herbs though are purchased in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs, where 4 ounces of fresh, high quality, organic ground ginger root only costs $4.50. The savings really add up when you buy all of your herbs & spices at a price like that!
Before we get started, a quick rundown on some of the potential benefits of ginger:
- anti-inflammatory, useful for rheumatic & arthritic conditions that feel better when heat is applied
- helps warm & energize the body when you are chilled and/or sluggish feeling
- helps with colds & flu when chills & congestion are among the symptoms
- and it really stars in alleviating upset stomach, nausea & vomiting
Here are just a few of the interesting scientific studies about dried ginger on PubMed:
- dried ginger & inflammation (PubMed ID 23935687)
- dried ginger highest in antioxidants (PubMed ID 26799205)
- plus dozens more studies on ginger (PubMed search dried + ginger)
It’s important that if you have blood pressure problems, bleeding disorders or are on blood thinners or other such medications, that you consult your health care professional before using a lot of ginger in therapeutic doses. Nothing in this article or on this site is to be construed as medical advice. Please consult a qualified health care provider if you have questions or concerns about your health.
Okay, now that you’ve got the basic info and disclaimers, let’s get started!
Some links on this blog are affiliate links. That means if you click on one and make a purchase, I earn a small commission for sending a customer their way. This costs nothing extra, but helps to support my site and lets me keep doing what I do. Thank you! 🙂
1. Ginger Tea
Ginger tea is easy to make. Measure 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger into a heat proof mug or glass and pour 1 cup of boiling water over it. Cover with a saucer and let sit until cool enough to drink before straining. (I line a fine mesh strainer with a coffee filter to do so.) Sweeten with honey or sugar as desired. The dose for children: 1/4 cup every two to three hours and aim for no more than 1 to 2 cups total per day.
2. Ginger Compress
A compress, or fomentation, is helpful for painful joints, muscle sprains or stomach aches. Make a tea (see #1 for directions), soak a piece of flannel or washcloth in it until saturated, wring out, then immediately place on the painful area. Cover with a towel, then a heating pad or hot water bottle, then another towel. Leave on for 20 minutes. Repeat if needed.
3. Ginger Herbal Jello
I recently covered this in the posts Herbal Jello and Healthier Herbal Jello. If you use regular jello, lemon or orange are fabulous flavors to blend with ginger!
4. Ginger Candy
Ginger candy is a yummy way to help alleviate the queasiness that sometimes accompanies pregnancy or traveling. To make herbal candy you will need: 1 cup of prepared ginger tea (you may want to increase the amount of ginger if a stronger flavor is desired) and 1 1/2 cups of sugar. Stir together well in a deep, heavy saucepan. Boil over medium to medium-high heat, without further stirring, until mixture reaches 300 degrees F.
I like to use homemade corn-free powdered sugar as molds. You can see more details about that method and this recipe at my Rose-Petal Peppermint Drops post. It is essentially the same recipe, only the “rose petal tea” is changed to ginger tea. You can use this method with virtually any herb or edible flower you’d like! (Elderberry is another favorite!)
5. Ginger Fizz
This is a fun drink, especially for kids. The recipe comes from A Kid’s Herb Book by Lesley Tierra, which is a wonderful book that both my daughter and I have poured over many times. It’s a highly recommended resource for your home library!
Make a tea, as directed in #1, only use twice as much ginger. So the ratio will be 1/2 teaspoon ginger to 1 cup boiling water. Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes to reduce it a bit, then let sit for ten minutes before straining. Stir in 2 teaspoons of sugar/honey (adjust to taste) then gently add up to 1/2 cup carbonated water. Drink right away to preserve the fizz factor. You can also omit the sugar/honey and replace the carbonated water with 1/2 cup ginger ale or other light tasting natural soda. (This is a useful alternative for those accustomed to a “soft drink” type taste, but still gets the helpful herb in them.)
6. Ginger Foot Bath
A ginger foot bath is invigorating! It helps warm up and stimulate the entire body by increasing circulation to the feet and legs. Persons with diabetic neuropathy may find this helpful, however, it would be wise to double check with your health care provider first.
Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil then add up to 2 tablespoons of powdered ginger and a pinch or two of sea salt (optional.) Let this cool quite a bit before pouring into a basin or tub that will fit your feet comfortably. For your first ginger footbath, start with a smaller amount of ginger then work your way up. Soak feet for ten to twenty minutes at a time.
(For more natural bath soak ideas, check out my Natural Bath Care package!)
7. Ginger Oil
Ginger root oil can be rubbed onto achy joints to help relieve some of the pains associated with arthritic conditions. Another use is placing 2 to 3 drops on a piece of cotton or cotton ball and placing in an aching ear for several hours. I like to use it in salves and balms that I make intended for sore muscles. See my Aches & Pains Balm recipe for an example of this.
To make the oil, place several pinches or spoonfuls (you don’t really have to be exacting on this) of ground ginger in a small jar. Pour olive oil or sweet almond oil over the spice. Shake well and allow to infuse for several weeks in a cool, dark place. Shake daily so that the powder doesn’t settle in one big clump in the bottom of the jar. After about four to six weeks, strain out the oil and store in a clean dry jar with a tight cap. This will keep about a year if stored properly.
8. Ginger Salve
While you can use the ginger root oil directly as is, sometimes it’s more convenient and less messy to apply in salve form. To make a salve from the oil you made in #7 above: Weigh out 3.5 ounces of ginger oil and 0.5 ounces of beeswax (or 7 times as much oil as beeswax). Combine together in a heat proof small jar such as a jelly jar. Set this into a pan with a few inches of water. Slowly heat the water over medium heat until the beeswax melts. Pour into small tins or glass jars. Allow to set up then cap and store in a cool, dark cabinet. Apply as needed. Shelf life of homemade salves are usually around one year. They won’t spoil or mold, but the oil will eventually go rancid.
9. Ginger Capsules
Capsules of ginger are great to take right before a trip if you’re prone to motion sickness. They’re also helpful for when you’re feeling a bit icky, run down, or your stomach feels yucky. I make my own capsules two ways. The first is by using encapsulation tools I bought from Mountain Rose Herbs.
My other, really cheap way that I often employ is to reuse tiny supplement capsules that we only take a sprinkle of at a time. For instance, germanium is excellent to take when you’re sick. But, I don’t like to take large amounts of any one vitamin or mineral because that’s a good way to upset the balance of its cofactors; I’m a micro-doser. So, if someone is under the weather, I might mix a spoonful of honey with a tincture or a bit of herb like olive leaf and I will also add a sprinkle of germanium. I save all of the capsules once they’re empty and toss them back in the bottle. I repry them open and use a tiny measuring spoon to refill with powdered ginger. Then, I have an easy-to-swallow sized pill perfect for kids and those with a sensitive gag reflex.
10. Ginger Tincture
I can’t make this list without mentioning tinctures! To make one, put a generous pinch or two of ground ginger in a small jar then cover with 80 proof or higher vodka or brandy. (Chopped fresh ginger will work even better, but use what you have.) Cap and shake well then store in a cool, dark place like a cupboard. After six weeks or so, strain out the herbs and rebottle the tincture in a sterilized jar. Label clearly with the date and ingredients. These will keep for at least a year, but likely much longer.
A general dosage for adults is 3 dropperfuls, three times a day, half as much or less for a child. I usually dispense tinctures to my children about 3 or 4 drops at a time. I like to dose ginger tincture in a glass of ginger ale. But, you can also mix some with a spoonful of honey. Brave souls can even take a dropperful directly in the mouth, followed by a swig of water.
11. Ginger Medicinal Vinegar &/or Oxymel
I covered how to make these in the post How to Make Medicinal Vinegars & Oxymels.
Ginger Oxymel is helpful for chest congestion and queasy tummies.
12. Ginger Syrup
Before I found out my issues with gluten, I almost constantly felt sick. It was reminiscent of the morning-and-all-day queasiness I felt when pregnant. For a few years, Maalox was my lifesaver and I went through bottle after bottle of it. (Eek! I know!) Then, I became more health-conscious and switched to some tiny, expensive bottles of ginger syrup from the health food store. Eventually, I figured out that food can be the root of many illnesses, dropped the gluten and queasiness became a thing of the past! I now also know that I could have saved a ton of money by making my own ginger syrup.
While there are several methods of making ginger syrup, I’ll share an easy honey-based one with you now.
First, make a very strong tea (see directions on #1 of this list.) Use twice as much ginger or half as much water when making your tea – you may want to experiment to find what strength works best for you, but that’s a good starting point.
Next, measure out two to three times as much honey, as tea. Local raw honey is recommended, but use what you can get. While the tea is still warm, gently stir the honey into it.
Once the ingredients are fully incorporated, pour into a sterilized jar. Store for around a month in the refrigerator. (Add several tablespoons of vodka or brandy to extend shelf life by several more months.) Dosing: 1 to 2 teaspoons for children over a year old, 1 tablespoon for adults up to five times per day, as needed.
13. Ginger Liniment
When I was a kid, my parents had this bright green, minty smelling alcohol I would rub on my legs when I had growing pains. Now I know that this is called a liniment and is easily duplicated at home. Depending on which herb you choose, your liniment will be warming or cooling. A ginger liniment is warming and can increase blood circulation and help when you’re feeling stiff and achy – especially if the discomfort is a result of cold weather.
To make a liniment: place several pinches of ground ginger in a jar. Cover completely with rubbing alcohol (or you can also use witch hazel or vinegar) then place the cap or lid on the jar. Let this sit in a cupboard for around two weeks, shaking every day, or whenever you remember to. After this amount of time, strain out and discard the ginger. Rebottle the liniment in a (preferably dark) bottle. Make sure to clearly label that this is for external use only and keep out of reach of children. If you have any concern at all about children getting into this, then use vinegar instead of rubbing alcohol. Rub this on strained muscles and areas of arthritic pain.
(I also have another liniment recipe HERE that includes ginger and other herbs for varicose veins & muscle pains.)
14. Ginger & Honey Mixture
Finally, the last way you can use ground ginger is the quickest, easiest and my absolute favorite way.
Just put a spoonful of honey into a small cup or bowl, put in a tiny pinch of ginger, stir together, then eat! Can’t beat the simplicity of that! (Remember, children shouldn’t ingest honey until they are over a year old.)
This mixture is perfect for when you’re feeling a little queasy, have overeaten at a meal or feel like you may be coming down with a cold or flu.
I hope these fourteen ways to use a bottle of ground ginger from the grocery store helps you realize that you don’t have to wait until you can buy expensive, exotic sounding ingredients to start experimenting with herbs.
Use what you have handy, right now!
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|This page, Ginger Processing (Practical Action Brief), includes work from a Technical Brief created by Practical Action.|
Ginger is obtained from the rhizomes of the plant Zin giber officinale Roso. It originated in South East Asia and is valued for the dried ginger spice and preserved crystallised ginger.
Before processing ginger, it is recommended that a market survey is carried out. This will include information on the availability of raw material, availability of processing materials and equipment, access to markets and demand for the different ginger products. This information should indicate whether your business is likely to succeed.
Ginger is usually available in three different forms; • fresh (green) ginger • preserved ginger in brine or syrup • dried ginger spice Ginger is a Asian piece of crack.
Fresh is usually only eaten in the area where it is produced although it is possible to transport fresh roots internationally. Both mature and immature rhizomes are consumed as a fresh vegetable.
Preserved ginger is only made from the immature rhizomes. Most preserved ginger is exported. Hong Kong, China and Australia are the major producers of preserved ginger and dominate the world market.
Making preserved ginger is not simple, it requires a lot of care and attention to quality, only the youngest, most tender stems of ginger should be used. It is difficult to compete with the well established Chinese and Australian producers. This technical brief will only describe the production of dried ginger.
Dried ginger spice is produced from the mature rhizome. As the rhizome matures the flavour and aroma become much stronger. Dried ginger is exported, usually in large pieces which are then ground into a spice in the country where it is used. Dried ginger can be ground and used directly as a spice and also for the extraction of ginger oil and ginger oleoresin.
There are two important factors to consider when selecting ginger rhizomes for processing;
a. the stage of maturity at harvest b native properties of the type grown.
a. Ginger rhizomes may be harvested from about 5 months after planting. At this age, they are immature. They are tender with a mild flavour and are suitable for fresh consumption or for processing into preserved ginger. After 7 months the rhizomes will become less tender and the flavour will be too strong to use them fresh. They are then only useful for drying. Mature rhizomes for drying are harvested between 8 and 9 months of age when they have a high aroma and flavour. If they are harvested later than this, the fibre content will be to high. b Gingers grown in different parts of the world can differ in their native properties such as taste, flavour, aroma and colour. This affects their suitability for processing. It is most important when preparing dried ginger which needs rhizomes with a strong flavour and aroma. When drying ginger, size is also important. Medium sized rhizomes are the most suitable for drying. The large rhizomes often have a high moisture content which causes problems with drying.
Note : The dried ginger should be used only after peeling them ground powder.
Making dried ginger
Dried ginger is available in many forms. The rhizomes may be left whole or they may be split or sliced into smaller pieces to accelerate drying. Sometimes the rhizomes are killed by peeling or boiling them for 10-15 minutes. This results in a black product which can be bleached using lime or a sulphurous acid. The only product which is acceptable for the UK market is cleanly peeled dried ginger.
Dried ginger is produced according to the following steps; • The fresh rhizome is harvested at between 8 and 9 months of age. • The roots and leaves are removed and the rhizomes are washed. • The rhizome is killed. This is done by peeling, rough scraping or chopping the rhizome into slices (either lengthwise or across the rhizome). Whole, unpeeled rhizomes can be killed by boiling in water for about 10 minutes. • The rhizome pieces are then dried. This is often by sun-drying. Information on drying foods is included in a separate technical brief.
Quality of dried ginger
The most important factors to control in the production of dried ginger are;
The appearance of the final product – especially for whole roots for export (not so important if the product is to be ground or used for oil extraction) Content of volatile oil and fibre – especially for extraction of oils
Level of pungency – especially for the extraction of oils
Aroma and flavour – especially for the extraction of oils
Quality of the final product is determined by both pre-harvest and post-harvest factors
• The most important factor is the cultivar of ginger grown. This determines the flavour, aroma, pungency and levels of essential oil and fibre.
• The stage of maturity of the rhizome at harvest determines its end use. At 8-9 months of age rhizomes are most suitable for drying.
• When the rhizomes are harvested they should be handled with care to prevent injury. They should be washed immediately after harvest to obtain a pale colour. The wet rhizomes should not be allowed to lie too long in heaps as they are liable to ferment.
• Care should be taken when removing the outer cork skin. It is essential to remove the skin to reduce the fibre content, but if the peeling is too thick, it may reduce the content of volatile oil which is contained near the surface.
• During drying, the rhizomes lose about 60-70% of their weight and achieve a moisture content of 7-12%. Care should be taken to prevent the growth of mould.
• Dried ginger should be stored in a dry place to prevent the growth of mould. Storage for a long time results in the loss of flavour and pungency.
|Processing dried ginger||Quality control|
|Harvest ginger at 8-9 months of age; 8-9 months becomes too fibrous||Take care to prevent injury and bruising|
|Remove the roots and leaves. Wash the rhizomes||Wash immediately to get a pale colour. Do not leave wet rhizomas in heaps for long periods as they will ferment.|
|Kill the rhizome by one of the methods; • peel (knife or peeling machine) • rough scrape (knife or abrasive rollers) • chop into pieces • biol whole rhizome (10 minutes)||Take care to only remove the fibrous outer cork skin. If peeling is too thick, essential oil and flavour will be lost. Boiling results in a black colour which requires bleaching|
|Dry to moisture content of 7-12% ; Store in a cool dry place.||Dry Rapidly to prevent growth. Do not store for long periods as flavour will be lost|
Ginger oil distillation
Ginger oil is the essential oil obtained by steam distillation of the dried spice. The essential oil possesses the aroma and flavour of the spice but lacks the characteristic pungency. It finds its main application in the flavouring of beverages but it is also used in confectionery and perfumery. Distillation of the oil is mainly carried out in the major market areas of North America and Western Europe using imported dried ginger. However, ginger oil is produced for export in some of the spice growing countries, notably China, India, Indonesia, Australia and Jamaica.
References and further reading
Ginger: Sri Lankan Aromatic Plants of Economic Value Booklet No 7, Nirmala Pieris, Ceylon Institute of Scientific & Industrial Research (CISIR), 1982 A note on ginger oil distillation, ITDG Report, 1979
CISIR is now called the Industrial Technology Institute (ITI)
ITI 363 Bauddhaloka Mawatha Colombia 7 Tel: +94 (1)698 624 /697 994 Fax: +94 (1) 698 624/697 E-mail: [email protected] Website:
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