Nothing gives a dish or juice the same zest and verve that Jamaican ginger does. This spicy rhizome carries a stinging kick and a snappy zip that takes food and juices from mundane to miraculous. What is fruit juice in Jamaica without the tang of ginger? Can sorrel, beetroot or mango juice carry their flavours well without the piquancy of ginger nipping in the background? Most Jamaicans would say no.
But there’s so much more to this rhizome than Jamaicans know or appreciate. Ginger originated in Asia, but the Spanish transported it to Jamaica in the early 1700s. Since then, Jamaica has become known as the source of the finest ginger in the world, with Christiana, Manchester, being identified as the geographical location where the world’s best ginger is grown.
Ginger (botanical name Zingiber officinale) is a spice as well as folk medicine carrying myriad uses. Jamaican ginger is used:
- To add flavour and spice up foods, drinks and dishes – cookies, buns, breads, sauces, marinades, juices
- To cure motion sickness, vertigo, morning sickness, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, etc.
- To relieve ‘gas’ and pretty much any ailment of the stomach, colon or digestive tract
- To produce oil that is used as an analgesic (that reduces pain)
Sources: My Island Jamaica Ginger, Best Jamaica Ginger, Kew Science