There is no better way to spice up a juice than using ginger. Only a handful of herbs and plants can deliver that unique zesty-sweet flavor. From spice to folk medicine, ginger has managed to find its place as a staple of health in the juice community. People all around the world consume this alien-looking root, so I figured we should talk ginger, and how to use it in the best way possible.
Should I peel it, mince it, or just chop the ginger and put it into a juicer? Maybe I put it in whole? What are the benefits of consuming ginger, and should I be concerned about side-effects? I’ll try to answer all of these important questions in the next couple of sections. Buckle up, it is time to peel off the myths around ginger!
Why Do We Put Ginger into Juices?
If you ever tried ginger (and liked it, of course) you have certainly fallen in love with its flavor. It is a unique combination of sweet, hot, zesty, and earthy. So obviously, this root is used for the way it tastes. But that is not all.
Ginger is not called a “superfood” just for its flavors. The nutritional value of ginger root may not be high calorie-wise, but when it comes to micronutrients (minerals and vitamins) this plant is one of the best you can get. So, what kind of nutrients ginger has? Here’s just a few:
- Vitamin B3 and B6
- Vitamin C
- Magnesium and Potassium
- Zinc and Iron
- Folates, Niacin, and Riboflavin
So, what does this all mean? Well, these active ingredients play a key role in helping our immune system stay balanced, our blood vessels and heart staying cleaner, and overall, helping our nervous system work properly. This is a lot to take in, but ginger is just that good.
2. Health Benefits of Ginger Root
While some claim that ginger is a “detox” plant (there is no such thing), the truth is actually close. A lot of cultures that had access to ginger, ancient cultures, had a remedy that helped with inflammations. The list of things ginger can help you with is long, so I`ll keep it to my top 3:
- Ginger, honey, and lemon – this remedy may be the oldest among others. By making a mix (or a juice) out of these ingredients, you get a potion that helps with a sore throat, runny nose, and common cold and flu symptoms. This will not heal you, but it will make your life more bearable while you’re sick.
- Ginger in juices – I like to hit the gym 3 to 5 times a week. Being it light cardio work or heavy lifting, adding ginger to your regular fruit juices will help you fight muscle soreness. Again, ginger will not make the soreness disappear, but it will speed up the natural healing process your body undergoes after a workout.
- Indigestion relief – One of the most popular uses of ginger is stomach pain relief. Pain due to indigestion to be exact. People with dyspepsia (a chronic indigestion disease) use ginger to alleviate the symptoms and get rid of the discomfort.
3. Potential Downsides of Ginger
Thanks to its potency, ginger doesn’t go well with some medications. If you are on medications or use therapy of some kind, consult with your medical practitioner before implementing ginger into your diet. This plant doesn’t go well with blood thinners like Aspirin, or with other medicaments that deal with blood pressure.
Another thing to be cautious about is not to give ginger to young children, because it may cause bloating. Finally, do not go overboard with the quantity you put in your juices. I always say – moderation is key!
Dealing with Ginger – Tips and Tricks
Ok, now that you know the ups and downs of putting ginger in your everyday juice recipe, let’s talk preparation and practical stuff. There is no right and wrong way to do these simple tasks, but I’d like to suggest a more practical approach.
1. Hygiene first!
We eat/drink the root part of the ginger plant. And, the tricky thing about roots is that they spend all their time developing under the surface. This is why I’d like to urge you to always wash the ginger before you put in into the juice. No matter if you plan to completely peel it after, you need to wash it under running water in the sink.
If needed, use a brush to scrub the dirt off. Washing the ginger root eliminates traces of dirt, bacteria, fungi, and pesticides that can be found on the outer side of the peel. Washing ingredients should always be the first thing you do, regardless of the type of plant you wish to consume or put into the juicer.
2. How to peel ginger?
The rind of the ginger root is not harmful for consumption. You can use it with the rest of the root. However, the rind, while it doesn’t have much nutritional value, delivers the bitter end of the ginger flavor. So, if you want to smoothen the taste out, you should consider peeling the root beforehand. Luckily, the peel is easy to work with, so all you need is a spoon, or if you are feeling enthusiastic, a potato peeler.
Here’s how you peel ginger:
- Wash the finger and let it dry out. You can help with a dry cotton cloth.
- If the ginger root is weirdly shaped, take a knife and cut out the smaller parts that would stop you from accessing all the parts of the root.
- Now it is time to use the peeler regularly, you do not have to worry about removing the rind entirely.
- Wash again after you’re done.
2.1. Does peeling ginger change its flavor?
It depends. People who enjoy zestier juices may want to leave the peel/rind on. Ginger peel doesn’t carry much of the nutrients, and the taste is essentially the same. The subtle difference is in the bitterness – the peel has a bit punchier flavor than the insides of the ginger root.
The only legit reason for peeling a ginger root is to lower the risk of bacteria coming into your drink. Also, if the ginger is older, the peel might remain too pulpy, even after juicing. So, if you are not a fan of the “fiber” texture, peeling might be the right way to go.
2.2. Should you peel ginger?
As I’ve said, it depends on your tastes. Let’s put the thing into perspective:
- Peeled Ginger – fewer bacteria, roughly the same amount of nutrients, less pulp in the juice
- Whole Ginger Root – more fiber, more punch and zest in the juice, pulpy texture
3. How to mince and chop ginger?
Due to its fiber-like structure inside the root, it can be challenging to mince and chop this herb. So, if you tried to cut it, and it fought back by not giving in, you should change direction. The thing with ginger is – if you go “down the grain” you will easily be able to chop the root into sticks (similar to matchsticks in size). After that, it’s all about cutting across the bundle of sticks.
Some juicers cannot process ginger well. This leads to a lot of waste and a potential juicer halt. If you are unsure about your juicer safety, you can go down the safest road and mince it.
4. Ginger and Tea
Not everyone talks about this, but ginger is a great addition to both hot and cold tea-based drinks. It will spice up your lemonade as well. You can mince some ginger root and put it into your tea, or you can add ginger juice from the juicer.
Should you peel ginger root to make tea?
No one likes small specks of herbal material into their tea. This is the main reason why you should peel ginger before you put it into that steaming hot cup. Also, if you want to introduce ginger as a regular tea spice, I recommend spending some time and learn how to properly wash, cut, and mince the ginger root.
I’ve told you the basics, yes, but the rest is on you – a little patience can go a long way. But – if you have a juicer…
Which Juicer does it better – masticator or centrifugal juicer?
Since we talked about ginger and its qualities for a while now, I think the answer to this question is pretty clear. Masticators, also known as cold presses, have more power and are built to deal with roots better. The process is a bit slower, and generally less noisy, by the results are significantly better, especially if you have a juicer for ginger. If you own a blender or a centrifugal juicer, things are not that hopeless, don’t worry.
Juicing ginger with the power of a centrifugal juicer is way easier if you cut it first. Try to mince it into tiniest pieces you can manage. Thanks to its fiber nature, ginger can jam the blades of a centrifugal juicer, so make sure to go tiny with the ginger mince.
Before You Go
I love ginger. I live its flavors and the health benefits it brings along. Truth be told, I needed some time to get the hang of cleaning, cutting, and most importantly – dosage. Ginger is strong and potent, and you should start small. If you are new to the concept of juicing, I will warn you of the dominant effects of ginger right away.
So, to recap – peeling ginger is not mandatory. It helps with removing dirt and some zest that comes from ginger rind. Start with small pieces, and always cut the ginger if you do not have access to a masticator. Now go spice up your juices with this amazing super root – ginger!