|Turmeric (Curcuma longa)|
|Ginger (Zingiber officinale)|
|I think we have the lesser galangal (Alpinia officinarum)
rather than the greater galangal (Alpinia galanga)
I planted ginger, galangal and turmeric from tubers that were starting to sprout. I planted galangal first, directly in the garden, and when it died off over winter I thought I had lost it permanently, so the next spring I planted ginger and turmeric in pots that I could move into the greenhouse. Then I noticed that the galangal had sprouted again and several years later it is now a very healthy plant, ready to harvest. So you can grow Zingies in pots or in the garden, depending on your climate, they may die back over winter and regrow in spring (I don’t know how much cold they can tolerate, we get frost but not snow). If you expect extreme cold over winter, you can grow the Zingies in a pot inside or in a greenhouse. They will take a few years to build up a good mass of tubers, so don’t overdo the harvesting right away. I like to let the clump get nice and big before I dig up the tubers. You can either dig them up as you need them (which is probably best for the plant when its small) or dig up a whole lot and preserve it, especially if you have a large plant that is taking over your garden. I just dig up what I need, trim off the stalk and roots and scrub the tuber, then its ready to use.
How to use Zingeraceae
All the Zingies tubers are known for their medicinal qualities as well as their tasty spiciness. Ginger is particularly good for treating upset digestion. It is also said to help with fever, to stimulate circulation, and used externally to treat sprained muscles. The active constituents are the oleoresins gingerol and shagaol and the volatile oil zingiberene. Galangal is also used for digestion, containing volatile oils alpha-pinene, cineole and linalool. Tumeric contains the volatile oils zingiberen and turmerone and has been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It can be used both internally and topically to treat allergies, and to improve circulation.
You can dry the tubers, either to make slices to use in tea, or to make a powder. If you want to make a powder, you have to boil the turmeric first (40 minutes apparently) and then dry it, and then pulverise it. You don’t need to boil ginger or galangal though (not sure why its required for turmeric, any ideas?). You can also freeze the tubers and just cut or grate a bit when you need it. You can make fermented ginger slices too, I haven’t tried that.
I use dried ginger and galangal in tea with lemon grass and rosella (and now I’ve made slices of dried turmeric, I use that too). I use ginger and galangal to make fermented drinks (galangal ale anyone?), and turmeric can also be used. Turmeric is an ingredient in many Indian curries, I am not yet proficient at curries and I use a premixed spice powder, but now I add grated turmeric to casseroles and soups to add flavour and colour.
|Galangal tubers on the left and tumeric on the right|
|Slices of galangal in the dehydrator|
|Galangal, tumeric and brahmi ale|
|boiling the turmeric before drying in|