Fresh ginger: Enjoy the fuller flavor

Each stem is about the size of a man's hand. A lot will probably be used for pickles.

If you normally use powdered or preserved ginger, be sure to check out the fresh, young stems available during the harvesting season. While older ginger is quite dry and fibrous with a strong flavor, the young stem is juicy and mild and actually sweet. It can be added directly to food or made into a fragrant, warming tea or pickles. The young shoots growing from the stem are also often used in Asian cuisine. They are a little fibrous but have a more delicate flavor.

Apart from the great taste, adding ginger to food provides a wide range of health benefits, including anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and blood circulation effects. In Asia, ginger has been used for thousands of years to aid digestion and treat problems as diverse as gas, upset stomach, nausea, headaches and common cold. Recent studies show it may also be beneficial for arthritis and heart conditions if taken in concentrated form.

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