If you have ever had to create a recipe using 'real' ginger, then going to purchase an example of it at your local supermarket can be a bit of an eye opener. Why, because there is nothing else like it in the fresh food aisles that can compare with its knobbly strangeness!

So, just what is ginger?

Well, as it turns out, the reason why ginger looks so freaky is because it is actually a lump of root from the the plant Zingiber officinale.

Ginger was originally cultivated in China but its production has now spread around the world - notably in Jamaica.

Ginger root is usually found in sweet foods in Western cuisine, but it is probably better known for being included in popular recipes such as ginger ale, ginger snaps, gingerbread, ginger biscuits and ginger cake.

It is also used in many countries for medicinal purposes, although its true health benefits are still being researched. However, it is believed in some cultures to help cure diabetes, head aches, colds, fatigue, nausea and the flu when used in tea or food.

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