With its spicy flavour and warming effect on the body, ginger is an excellent food for the cool seasons. Ginger root is actually the rhizome, or underground stem, of a tall grass-like plant that originated in the tropical forests of southern Asia.
One of the first spices to arrive in Europe from Asia, ginger is widely used in many healing systems. In Ayurveda ginger is said to awaken the agni or metabolic fire that is necessary for good digestion and circulation, and removing toxins from the body. Western herbalists are also aware of gingers healing properties, especially in soothing the stomach.
Here Craig and Risa offer a wonderful way to benefit from the herb by adding fresh ginger juice to apple cider. And the editors share this cookie recipe, a favourite around the ascent office, for those moments when you want a gingery treat.
hot apple cider with fresh ginger
2 cups apple cider
1 thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger root
- Peel the ginger. Grate the ginger using a fine-holed grater.
- Using your fingers or a garlic press, squeeze the juice out of the ginger pulp into a dish. You should have about one tablespoon of ginger juice. Set the juice aside and discard the pulp. (If you have a juicer, you can also make your ginger juice that way.)
- Heat the apple cider in a pot until just before the boiling point.
- Remove the cider from the heat. Add the ginger juice to taste. Enjoy!
Makes 2 cups.
Note: You can reheat the drink, but be sure not to let it boil, as the medicinal value of the fresh ginger will be lost.
triple ginger snaps
3/4 cup vegan margarine, butter or lecithin spread
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 T soymilk mixed with 1 t ground flaxseed (equivalent to approximately 1 egg)
3 T fresh grated ginger
1/2 cup chopped crystallized ginger
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (you can also substitute a mixture of flours, such as spelt, hemp or rice)
4 t ground dried ginger
2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
- Beat the margarine and brown sugar together until creamy
- Add the molasses and soy-flax mixture. Beat well to combine.
- Add the grated and crystallized gingers.
- In another bowl, mix together the flour, ground ginger, baking soda and salt.
- Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until blended.
- Cover the dough and refrigerate for at least one hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.
- Shape the dough into 1-inch balls by rolling a small amount between your palms. Place them on the cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. Pat the balls down slightly.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cookies have flattened out and started to crinkle on the surface (think classic ginger snaps).
- Enjoy them fresh out of the oven!
Makes about 2 dozen.
Note: The dough will keep for up to a week in the fridge in a covered container. What we do is just bake a few at a time, whenever we want a cookie, so that they are always fresh and warm!
Risa Salsberg has been cooking vegetarian for over 25 years and is a graduate of Dubrille Culinary. She has studied macrobiotics and whole foods in California and trained at Sanko-in, a Buddhist nunnery specializing in shojin ryori (traditional Buddhist vegetarian cookery). Risa is currently studying fine arts in Vancouver. Craig Walker first began cooking vegetarian in tree planting camps. Craig has studied macrobiotics at the Vega Study Center and has cooked professionally in Japan.