by Chrishonda Brown
The winter holiday season is abundant with the iconic flavor (and aroma) of gingerbread. And though scholars may disagree on the actual history of making “bread” from ginger, the real holiday secret is the numerous therapeutic properties hidden inside the lowly ginger root.
While we know it to be aromatic, pungent and spicy, the warmth of ginger also promotes healthy sweating as a germ-fighting detox against colds, flus and infections. Ginger contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds, adding to its reputation as highly effective in alleviating arthritis and joint pain. And ginger offers natural relief for nausea and other stomach discomfort.
Despite the odd shape, fresh ginger is easy to peel with a paring knife. Simply chop or grate it for use in foods and drinks. The unpeeled portion will keep up to three weeks refrigerated or six months frozen. So spice up your season with plenty of heartwarming ginger. Your family will love it!
Chrishonda Brown holds a master of science degree in kinesiology. She is a guest columnist for Kansas State Research and Extension, Wyandotte County. For more recipes visit www.kidsacooking.org Like the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KSREWyco and follow on Twitter @WyCoSnapEd.
Gingerbread Hot Chocolate
Makes: Six 1-cup servings
6 cups skim milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Pour milk into saucepan. Do not turn on heat.
Add vanilla, sugar and spices. Stir until dissolved.
Turn on medium heat and slowly stir in chocolate chips.
Continue stirring slowly as the milk heats up and the chocolate chips melt. Keep the heat low enough to avoid boiling and stir constantly until the chips are completely melted and milk is heated through (about 5 minutes).
Carefully pour into mugs. Serve plain or with whipped cream or marshmallows.
Nutritional information for each serving: 173 calories, 4g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 8mg cholesterol, 22g carbohydrates, 1g fiber, 21g sugars, 141mg sodium, 9g protein, 11% Vitamin A, 4% Vitamin C, 33% calcium, 2% iron.