Ginger is the name of a perennial tropical plant in the ginger family and its root, the rhizome which was originally used for medical purposes, is today mainly used as a condiment, especially in Asian cuisine.
It is assumed that ginger originally grew wild in southern China, but it had, even in ancient times, spread to wide areas of Asia and Africa. It is today cultivated in all tropical regions of the world.
Dried ginger is one of the main ingredients in gingerbread and ginger snaps. It is also used to flavour ginger ale and ginger beer. Preserved ginger, eaten with sushi is known as gari.
The Chinese language differentiates between “old ginger” (the kind you find in supermarkets in the West) and “young ginger” which is used in preserved foods. In Chinese homes the ginger rhizomes are often stored in sand to prevent drying.