Mother Earth Living

The Benefits of Ginger: Pain D'Epice

Warming ginger jazzes up winter foods.
By Cornelia Carlson, Ph.D.
January/February 2001
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Makes one 9-inch loaf

It’s no wonder fresh ginger tastes pungent. It contains a family of molecules called gingerols that are structurally related to capsaicin, the compound responsible for the hot bite of chiles.

A relic of medieval cookery, this bread (really a cake) contains no eggs or other sources of fat. It keeps well in the refrigerator for several months. Two forms of ginger are packed with antioxidants that help the bread stay fresh.

• 1/3 cup water
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1 1/4 cup honey
• 1 cup white flour
• 2 cups rye flour
• 2 teaspoons baking soda
• 2 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
• 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
• 1/8 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup (about 3 ounces) chopped candied ginger

1. Heat the oven to 425°F. Grease and flour a metal 9-inch loaf pan, or line it with buttered parchment paper. (If the pan is dark metal, wrap the exterior with aluminum foil.)

2. Combine the water, sugar, and honey in a very large saucepan and heat over a moderate flame until the sugar and honey dissolve. Sift the white and rye flours with the baking soda, spices, and salt. Beat the flour mixture into the liquid with either a wooden spoon or an electric mixer. When it’s smooth, fold in the chopped candied ginger.

3. Scrape the batter into the pan and bake for exactly 5 minutes, then turn the oven down to 325°F. Do not open the oven door or the cake will fall.

4. Continue baking for about 50 minutes, then test for doneness with a toothpick. Bake longer if required. Remove from the oven when done; tip the bread out of the pan and set on a rack to cool.

5. When cooled, cover with plastic wrap and an outer layer of aluminum foil. Store in the refrigerator for up to three months.

Cornelia Carlson holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and is an avid grower and user of herbs. She writes frequently for Herbs for Health and is the author of The Practically Meatless Gourmet, (Berkley, 1996). She writes from her home in Tucson, Arizona.

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