Why Ginger is the Ultimate Winter Ingredient, and How to Include It In Your Menu

Posted on: 25 August 2017

Winter. The temperature drops; warm clothing is brought out from the back of the wardrobe; log fires crackle; Christmas decorations go up and children start to get excited about Santa's arrival.

OK, so you might not live somewhere that gets all that cold during the winter, or even where Christmas falls during that particular part of the year. Still, you'll experience at least some drop in temperature, which makes it a great opportunity to spend some more time indoors appreciating the colder months.

When it comes to winter eating, there are few better ingredients than ginger. It's the perfect cold-weather flavouring, and it's incredibly versatile, too. If you're in the food business, ginger should feature heavily in your winter menu, and here's why.

Why ginger?

The taste alone is enough to make it ideal for cold weather. Warming, spicy in large doses, and totally unique, it makes you feel comforted from the inside out, bringing seasonal cheer to all your dishes.

Ginger is also said to have a range of health benefits, some of which have some weighty scientific research behind them. Most importantly for the winter period, being cold and flu season, ginger can give the immune system a boost and help to fight off viral infections. It can also settle nausea and stop sickness.

What can you do with it?

Pretty much anything! Ginger is used in various traditional national cuisines, including Indian, Japanese and Chinese. It's great in soups, stews, curries and as a seasoning for all kinds of meat dishes.

Fresh ginger tea is easy to make: just infuse a teaspoon of minced ginger in hot water for a few minutes, strain it off, and serve. It makes an ideal after dinner drink in the winter, as not only is ginger good for aiding digestion and settling the stomach, it will also send your customers off into the outside feeling warm and comforted. Alternatively, add a bit into hot chocolate and spike it with a shot of brandy for a luxurious dessert-like winter drink.

Don't forget about sweet dishes. There's a reason gingerbread is a traditional Christmas food in countries where winter and Christmas collide: being sweet and warming, it's a welcome treat for warming up when it's chilly out.

Besides gingerbread, there are many ways you can introduce ginger into your dessert menu. Make an ice cream or sorbet as an accompaniment to hot apple pie, add it to your chocolate cake recipe, or just sprinkle minced ginger over a fresh fruit salad with whipped cream.