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Who likes ginger?

Who likes ginger? I love it. Ginger in food, ginger in biscuits, ginger cake, ginger beer, anything ginger. Some people really dislike ginger though. I wonder why this is.

Some research was required. Easier said than done though. Searching for things about ginger, on Google, is not as simple as it appears. The results I got were mostly about people with ginger hair. So, I thought, ginger is a spice. I’d search for ginger spice. I’d clicked enter before realising the problem.

Eventually I got somewhere.

Who likes ginger

Why do people not like ginger?

My partner always claims that she hates ginger. Yet she likes Asian food, which often contains significant amounts of it. She also likes Grasmere Gingerbread but dislikes any other gingerbread. Does ginger have different flavours? Maybe.

Some people say that ginger tastes like soap to them. To others it is just plain unpleasant. Some don’t like the heat or spiciness of ginger.

I wondered if it was about cuisine or culture. Maybe there is a genetic reason. I found no evidence on either. It doesn’t appear that some cultures like ginger more than others, even though Asian cuisine makes much greater use of this spice.

What i did find is that flavours are complex and our perception of flavour is also complex. Smell and texture also have an influence on flavour as taste. It could be variations in our senses that determine what we like or don’t like.

So, whether we like or don’t like ginger is not really specific to ginger and more about our perception of flavour. It looks like it’s simply that we are all different but some of the differences occur similarly, making us think that we are split into lovers and haters of ginger, when really they are extremes and most are relatively indifferent.

Different ginger

As I said earlier, I love ginger. I’ll try anything ginger. It’s never really occurred that there are different flavours of ginger. Ginger is just ginger, surely. It just makes food gingery.

However, I have found that ginger does taste different even in the same thing. One of my favourite things is to dunk a ginger biscuit into my tea. I regularly buy my favourite biscuit from my local supermarket. However, I went to a different store and bought a different brand. Both are labelled as Ginger Nuts. They look the same, therefore they are the same, surely? However, they weren’t. They tasted different.

They were very gingery, if there is such a word, but it was a different ginger flavour. The ingredients didn’t give any clues. I can only assume that it was the form of the ginger used or how it interacted with other ingredients. It was definitely different though and this might be part of liking or disliking it.

Who likes ginger

The benefits of ginger?

Whether you like it or not, it has long been promoted as being good for you. It is used in many natural remedies for common illnesses and conditions. Benefits have been reported with:

  1. Gastrointestinal problems – It is used to aid digestion and ease gastrointestinal problems. Its antibacterial properties help with diarrhoea and food poisoning.
  2. Coughs and colds – The aromatic compounds are antioxidants, as well as anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial qualities. It can help with headaches, nausea, cold symptoms, vomiting.
  3. Morning sickness – Ginger has been found to reduce nausea during pregnancy but can have side effects.
  4. Rheumatism and arthritis – Anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties can reduce the pain associated with these conditions.
  5. Menstrual symptoms – The analgesic qualities reduce menstrual pain.
  6. Migraines – Analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties reduce side effects and pain of migraine.
  7. Heart health – Along with a healthy diet and physical activity, it can help lower cholesterol levels, prevent blood clots, and lower blood pressure.
  8. Respiratory – multiple compounds in ginger can help reduce inflammation, fight respiratory viruses and help asthma sufferers.

Ginger baking

Back in the 80s I was a young lad on holiday in Florida. It was October, but it was hot. Exploring the town with a friend, we found an ice cream shop. It was only a small place but there were lots of unfamiliar flavours and two lads looking puzzled. The lady behind the counter took a look at us and said “Gingerbread Molasses”. She assured us that if we didn’t like it we could swap it for something else. So, we went for it and weren’t disappointed. Unfortunately, I have no memory of what it tasted like. I can only imagine based on the flavour of ginger and molasses.

Even though I don’t remember the flavour, it inspired me to try out some ideas with ginger and molasses (you might know it as treacle). I considered what kinds of bakes could suit these flavours. Maybe a flapjack, but what else?

Who likes ginger

Millionaire’s shortbread with a twist

How about a twist on a popular millionaires shortbread. A twist of ginger. The base will be crushed ginger nuts and the caramel will be a darker, more treacly, flavour. The usual milk or dark milk chocolate would become a rich dark chocolate, to counter the treacle sweet caramel.

Rocky road ginger

Similar to a normal rocky road but with the marshmallow replaced by ginger biscuits and the chocolate made darker. It resembles those chocolate ginger biscuits that you get around Christmas.

Keep a look out for these appearing soon.

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