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The Mystery of Blue Ginger

The Mystery of Blue Ginger

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(OrganicJar) I was at the grocery store yesterday when I noticed something I’d never seen… Blue Ginger. I was incredibly intrigued…it looked like ginger but had white flesh and pinkish skin with reddish brown rings. Come to find out, blue ginger comes from the Galangal plant and is commonly referred to as Galanga or kah in Thai. It’s an immensely pungent and fiery rhizome related to the common ginger but with a personality distinctly its own. Galanga has a tighter skin, is lighter in color and can have pinkish portions too. All of us know the taste and flavor of ginger, Galanga tastes more like pepper than ginger with a slightly milder taste, a dominant citrusy flavor and an earthy aroma. There are two different varieties, one known as "greater galanga" and the other, "lesser galanga".

Greater Galanga (what I tried)

greater_galangal Is larger in size, lighter in color and subtler in aroma, is the kind most used in Thai cooking. The fresh root is fleshy, knobby and very firm, to the point of being woody. When very fresh, its ivory color, with hardly any separation between skin and flesh, and its young pink shoots are reminiscent of the appearance of young ginger. But unlike its better-known cousin, it is much denser and harder with ring like markings spaced almost evenly apart.

Lesser Galanga

lesser_galangal This root is comprised of a cluster of long, slender, orangish brown fingers joined to an insignificant, knobby ginger-like rhizome. Because its exuberant, aromatic quality freshens the taste of seafood, it is used primarily in seafood dishes. The fingers are cut into fine slivers and tossed along with other fragrant herbs into hot-and-spicy seafood stir-fries, curries and incendiary soups. Its function in herbal medicine has been known for several centuries. Just like ginger, galangal (blue ginger) is boiled to make tea, used to cure colds, diarrhea, nasal conditions and great for the stomach and spleen. Galanga's heat makes it a good agent in reducing cramping and numbness, in healing bruises and swelling, in treating respiratory ailments and skin diseases and in removing toxins from the body. I know what you’re all thinking…why is it called Blue Ginger? Apparently its Chinese name ”南姜” is pronounced as “Lam Kiew” in Hokkien (a Chinese dialect) and its pronunciation sounds similar if one is to say “Blue Ginger” using the same dialect.

Leave a Comment and Tell Us If You’ve Tried Blue Ginger?

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  1. “Unfortunately, herbs and spices like garlic, onion, curry, cumin, ginger, cayenne, chili posder, and oregano contain alkaloids and other toxic chemicals. These seasonings stimulate our taste buds and nerves while delivering toxins to our nervous systems. Their use should be avoided, or at least minimized. They act as irritants in the digestive tract, often causing the body to produce mucus for protection. They also function to disguise the bland or noxious taste of cooked foods and seduce us into consuming foods that would not attract us on their own. ”

    In Natural Hygiene, there is a saying, “If you can’t make a meal of it, it likely is not people food”

    –Dr. Douglas Graham “the 80/10/10 Diet”

  2. I would have to disagree with Butch. Herbs and spices were intended to compliment food, not serve as a replacement. As a matter of fact, herbs were often incorporated throughout history to protect against disease because they serve a protective function in the body…not a toxic one.

    Excitotoxins, or toxins that cross the blood/brain barrier to affect the the nervous system, are almost always man-made (i.e. MSG, Sulfites, Nitrates, etc.). Furthermore, some of the herbs and spices you have listed do not CREATE a mucosal environment, rather they FLUSH mucus. It is true that alkaloids can be dangerous, but they are present in many ordinary foods as well such as potatoes, tomatoes and other nightshades. Alkaloids are generally considered to be more of a concern in purified form such as is the case with nicotine, cocaine and morphine.

  3. I will use a pinch of ginger or nutmeg when making Shrimp and Scallop Alfredo but otherwise who cares? I have been
    a physical culturist for 65 years (now octagenarian) and
    never used that garbage. Never had an operation. Organic food is for the rich and skinny. Good old Bernard McFadden told me to stay away from Tea and Coffee. And Charles Atlas told me to cleanse my body with milk!

  4. Well all other comments a side, I found the article interesting as I’d never heard of “blue” ginger before but am interested to try it out… if I can get my hands on some. Sounds like it’ll require a trip to Chinatown.


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