For thousands of years, many people have been enchanted by the food spice, ginger, for its rich flavour and sharp tang. It dates back to being one of the oldest spices in records and is still very much in demand today. Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) has been long seen as a tonic root, a solution to whatever “ails” you.
Originally used by Indians and ancient Chinese, ginger was discovered in South East Asia and introduced to other parts of the world such as the Caribbean, the Americas, and Africa: regions that have eventually have become the top growers of the crop, especially in areas like Fiji, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Jamaica. The name “ginger” came a long way, but its root is in a Sanskrit word “srngaveram” which means “horn body”.
Being one of the world’s most popular spices, ginger is used in many different ways and for various reasons. Its characteristic aroma makes it an ideal flavour ingredient to add to a multitude of food and beverage systems. Today, ginger has emerged as both a popular flavour and a sought-after scent, making its way into everything from beverages, snacks and dog food products. In Africa, ginger is not only a spice: it is also a source of wealth and has significant medicinal uses.
According to a Transparency Market Research report, the global ginger market is expected to reach a value of $4.18 billion by the end of 2022, growing at a CAGR of 6.50% between 2017 and 2022.
Ginger has many applications. As a kitchen spice, when it is young, it is juicy and fleshy and can often be pickled in sherry or vinegar and eaten as a snack. Tea can be made from pieces of the root which is steeped in boiling water and mixed with honey. It can even be made into wine, fermented with raisins, and fortified with brandy. When left to mature, ginger is dry and can be made into a powder that serves as a spice or ingredient in gingerbread, cookies, crackers and cake, ginger ale, and ginger beer. Even candies can be made of ginger by mixing it with sugar and cooking till soft, resulting in candied or crystallized ginger.
Its use for medicinal purposes has been prevalent over centuries, particularly in China where it is one of the most widely used palliatives. It is prescribed to treat numerous illnesses such as arthritis, migraine, and sore throats. In the West, some people also use ginger as a herbal remedy to aid digestion and alleviate the symptoms of nausea and travel sickness. The active ingredient, Gingerol is known to help fight infections, lower blood sugar and reduce heart risks. It is also used in the brewery/beverage industry, cosmetic industry, and the cooking Industry.
In Africa, fresh ginger (minced, crushed, grated, sliced, or chopped) is an essential flavour to many dishes, imparting a fresh, peppery flavour and spicy aroma. Once cooked, ginger is less pungent giving off a milder flavour. Ginger plays multiple roles: as folk medicine like in Jamaica or the making of Tangawisi juice aka “cure-all” from Congo mixing ginger and sap from a mango tree. Ginger made into a paste is used in India to relieve headaches by placing it on the temples, while in other localities, it is a short-term relief for pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting.
Nigeria is currently the third-largest exporter of Ginger in the world after China and India. Its powerfully pungent pure Nigerian ginger gives a rich, quality, strong aroma containing a high amount of oleoresin (gingerin) which imparts its refreshing, pungent yet warm taste into every application used.
Post-Covid surveys have revealed that people are looking for more than just great taste in their food and beverages. They are now placing new-found importance on nutrition and well-being. This inspired us to design new and exciting ginger flavours used for multiple applications, whether in soups, stew, snack dusting, and noodle applications which has an impact on finished products and creates a hearty, savoury, and rich African delicacy. The flavours are available in Nigerian Fermented Ginger and Chilli, Fresh Ginger and lime, Roasted Ginger seasoning, Honey Ginger seasoning, and Ginger onion and Garlic seasoning.
We wish you a spicy and richly garnished month. Welcome to the twelfth edition of our ‘A Taste of Africa’ newsletter!
Managing Director, Freddy Hirsch Nigeria
The Flavour of the Month
Our flavour for the month is the Africa Ginger-inspired seasoning, designed to satisfy the demand for the spicy and pungent ginger aroma in African delicacies. It recreates the savoury goodness of the fresh ginger spice and leaves a lasting impact on the finished product, creating a warm, hearty and sweet note to local delicacies.
Africans and ginger are a match made in heaven as it is an essential spice for every meal, whether it’s a snack, bouillon, rice, and noodles seasoning. Ginger is also very healthy as it possesses high medicinal attributes and treats a range of illnesses.
Find out more about our Africa Ginger seasoning here
You can also watch our video on our African BBQ flavors here
Freddy Hirsch Nigeria spices up West African foods with new smoky, grill flavour seasonings
We recently unveiled a range of new, authentic smoky and grill seasonings targeted at the West Africa market.
In this mention by Food Business Africa we spoke on Africa’s grilled food culture, rising consumer preference for local smoke and grill food profiles, and demand for enhanced meat, soups, seafood, and snacks flavours, which are why we launched the new grill seasonings.