Commercially sold gingers may have the same looks and appearance, but fresh gingers may vary according to their types. In this post, you will learn the different types of fresh ginger that you may spot in grocery stores or from the different parts of the world. Read further for more information about gingers and the different ginger varieties.
What Is A Ginger
Ginger is a special kind of spice root crop with a hot and fragrant aroma. Gingers are made from the rhizomes of the ginger plant that is cultivated mainly in southeast asia. To describe this kind of rhizome, it has a tough skin with yellow flesh when peeled.
Based on history, the first gingers are recorded in China and were introduced by the Arabs to the Mediterranean. It is also primarily grown in southern india around the first century through the spice trade era.
Gingers are a very popular spice around the world due to its flavor and health benefits. They can be used to spice up some meals and recipes, or as a medicine to some sickness or diseases. It can be incorporated into vegetables, candy, soda, pickles, tea and even flavoring alcoholic beverages.
What Are The 11 Different Types Of Ginger
Fresh gingers might have similar appearance but there are actually a few ginger varieties that are available in supermarkets and grocery stores. Gingers are grown in a flowering plant through a seed plant called rhizome or a baby ginger. Their varieties have been changing throughout time and it might be necessary to spot the different ginger varieties, especially the fresh ginger. Let’s check the types of ginger below.
1. Yellow Ginger
Known as cream garland lily, yellow ginger is a perennial flowering plant that is native to the Himalayas, Northern Vietnam, Sichuan and is cultivated in other regions like Hawaii. The plant of a yellow ginger has a short stem with tufted leaves, while its roots or rhizomes are short and thick.
The yellow ginger is a spice with a strong, bitter taste and musky odor that is coming from the rhizome. It could be used as an analgesic for muscle pain, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and a lot more health benefits. You can make a ginger tea out of this ginger that should help in treating stomach ache.
2. White Ginger
Known as the coronarium, white ginger is a variety of ginger that is commonly seen in various regions of Hawaii. This hardy plant type of ginger can grow up to 8 feet tall. In some areas, it is also called a Butterfly flower or ginger lily.
Aside from being used as a spice in some recipes, white ginger is also used in the medicinal field as it can treat several illnesses such as sore throat and tonsillitis. Just extract the juice from the rhizome and use it as a gargle. You can also use this in treating rheumatism.
3. Spring Ginger
This is basically the young version of a matured ginger. Spring ginger has a similar hand-like shape of a matured ginger but its rhizome is tougher and more fibrous. The rhizomes can also be plumpy and juicy with a blush of pink.
You can use this ginger on recipes with strong odor as it could help in neutralizing or eliminating those unpleasant tastes. You can also use its decoction in other recipes such as panna cotta or make into a ginger ale.
4. Culinary Ginger
Culinary ginger or also called edible ginger came from the rhizomes of the Zingiber officinale family. It belongs to the large ginger variety which is native to the shaded and moist regions of Southeast Asia.
You can use this ginger as a garnish by grating the peeled roots. You can also use it to spice up your preserves or beverages like tea. Incorporate this on your cookies and quick bread to give them a hint of sweet and savory flavor.
5. Blue Hawaiian Ginger
A not well-known type of ginger, the blue hawaiian ginger or blue ginger is an edible type of ginger that has a bluish color through the rhizomes. It will look like the common gingers when its roots are not matured yet.
You can’t go wrong in using this ginger as it is a rich source of iron, sodium and vitamins A and C. You can also count on its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory contents. Got a beauty routine? This ginger could be beneficial to you as well.
6. Peacock Ginger
The peacock ginger is one of the favorites from ginger cultivars. It belongs to the Kaempferia genus and is native in Asia. They are used as a collective plant as the peacock ginger produces pretty little flowers that are usually pale purple to pink in color. It also has round oval-shaped leaves that could grow up to 4 to 10 inches long.
Being an ornamental type of ginger, the peacock gingers can cover the grounds. Its leaves are patterned with shades of green, purple, and even silver.
7. Shampoo Ginger
Also known as Zingiber zerumbet, wild ginger or pinecone ginger, the shampoo ginger is native in areas of Malaysia and Indonesia. The ginger plants of the Shampoo ginger produce pine cone-shaped flowers that could range from yellow to pink in color.
The name of this ginger has been derived from the use of its cones. You can extract the creamy liquid substance in the cones and use them as a shampoo or conditioner. Its roots or rhizomes are still edible but they render a bitter taste, which may not suit any recipes.
8. Shell Ginger
Shell ginger is also known as the bright ginger that came from the types of Zingiberaceae family. Shell ginger is native to eastern Asia regions like South Japan to Taiwan. You can also find them in South China to the Northern Peninsula and Malaysia.
These shell gingers are being grown as ornamental types but they also play an important role in some cuisines and traditional medicine. This plant thrives best in wet environments and can grow up to 8 feet tall.
9. Ginger Lily
Also called a garland lily or garland flower, the ginger lily can be spotted in tropical and subtropical regions of Asia and Africa. These types are cultivated as ornamental plants as its flowers are used for garlands and other decorations.
The ginger lily rhizomes are similar to the common gingers but its flesh can be yellow or bluish in color. The ginger lily sports long green leaves with a tint of blue shade under. Some types of the ginger lily have dark green above and red underneath its leaves.
Other types of the ginger lily flowers are being used in perfume scents and are used in a medicinal system in india called Ayurvedic medicine.
We should not forget this very popular type of the fresh ginger variety, the Turmeric. Turmeric is a favorite of some cultivars like the Rio-de-Janeiro. Though turmeric can be classified differently from the gingers, its roots or rhizomes appearance is very identical to a common ginger.
It provides a warm and bitter taste with a peppery aroma and a golden yellow colour. It is also used in treating several body illnesses as it provides a very wide variety of medicinal benefits to the human body. Turmeric is used to treat skin conditions, digestive issues, body aches and pains in Southern India.
Turmeric comes from a flowering plant of the ginger family called Curcuma longa. If you have been to India, you can find turmeric in most of their recipes as it is used as a main ingredient out there like the curry.
Japanese ginger is commonly known as zingiber mioga or myoga, which is a wonderful Japanese and Korean native ginger plant. It can grow up to 4 feet tall on home gardens.
Though this is a ginger, only the flower buds and flavorful shoots are used in cooking. Some Japanese cuisines incorporate the shredded flower buds as a garnish, like the famous miso soup. In Korean cuisines, they use the flower buds as alternate skewers with some meat on stir fries.
What Are The Best Fresh Ginger
Gingers are loaded with a lot of antioxidants and other health benefits, except for those that are not edible. If you are looking for the best type of the fresh ginger, you can’t go wrong with any of those listed above. Though there are a lot of ginger products that are available in the grocery store nearby, fresh ginger root still offer the best benefits.