Got Ginger?

     Unmistakably pungent and aromatic, the spice of fresh ginger root adds a zing to many dishes. Long used as a remedy for numerous ailments from colds to cancer, ginger has been the recent focus of research aimed at revealing its true therapeutic potential. 
     The part of the plant recognized as ginger root isn’t actually a root, but a rhizome; the horizontal underground stem yielding shoots above and roots below. Its beige skin is somewhat course with an inner aromatic flesh ranging from pale to bright yellow. Ginger tonic has been used in China and India for more than 5,000 years to treat many types of ailments. Ginger became an important trade product for the Roman Empire for its medicinal properties. Ginger is grown in Asia and tropical areas; India is the largest producer.
      In addition to using dried ginger, take full advantage of the powerful properties of ginger by incorporating fresh ginger root into your meals. Before consuming ginger, remove the skin using a paring knife or scrape off the skin with the edge of a spoon to preserve more of the flesh. Blend ginger root into your favorite fruit and vegetable smoothies. Turn up the spice by adding freshly minced ginger to sauteed and stir-fried dishes. For a more subtle flavor, add ginger at the beginning of cooking. Aromatic, pungent and spicy, ginger adds a special flavor and zest to Asian stir fries and many fruit and vegetable dishes. Fresh ginger root is available year round in the produce section of your local market. The taste that ginger imparts to a dish depends upon when it is added during the cooking process. Added at the beginning, it will lend a subtler flavor while added near the end, it will deliver a more pungent taste.

Five Spice Chicken with Green Apples and Ginger
You can marinade the chicken in the olive oil and spices overnight for a bolder taste.

1 organic chicken cut into 8 pieces
2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 large onion cut into slices
10-12 garlic cloves
1 4-inch piece fresh ginger cut into slices
2 teaspoons Chinese Five Spice
5-6 green apples cut halved and cored

1. Preheat oven to 425F.
2. Cover the chicken pieces evenly with the virgin olive oil if you haven't done so already
3. Spread the onion, garlic, and ginger in a roasting pan.
4. Lay the chicken pieces skin side up on top of the onions. Sprinkle the spice powder and salt over the chicken.
5. Place the apple pieces cut side down in between the chicken and place the roasting pan in the oven.
6. Roast for 45-60 minutes until cooked through. Baste the chicken with its own liquid halfway through.
7. Remove from the oven and serve. Garnish with lemon balm or mint if desired.


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