Ginger as a spice is the dried underground root of the plant. Even though the entire plant is edible and has a very refreshing aroma and an intense flavour, the root is most widely used as a spice, either in a raw or processed manner. Ginger is native to India and Malaysia, but today, apart from these two countries, it is extensively grown in countries such as Japan, Southern China, Jamaica, Nigeria and Sierra Leone.
Ginger can be used for a wide range of purposes. Whether whole or in powder form, or even as an oil, it can be applied in the preparation of many dishes. For instance, foods such as table sauces, ginger ale, gingerbread, a number of confectionaries and baked goods, curry powders, liquors, carbonated drinks and more. In Asian cuisines, ginger is considered an essential ingredient in many dishes and is extensively used in the preparation of chutneys, curry pastes and pickles. In Western countries, ginger is used for making biscuits, cakes, jams, puddings, preserves as well as several drinks such as wine, beer and tea.
Additionally, ginger is also used widely for medicinal purposes. Especially in Chinese medicine, ginger has been used for centuries.