No, I'm not thinking about Gilligan's Island.
Ginger is another old favorite spice.
Especially at this time of year.
Who hasn't chomped off the head of a gingerbread man?
Or built and decorated a gingerbread house?
Speaking of building...
Egyptians were eating ginger when the pyramid of Cheops was new.
Gingerbread was popular in Greece 5,000 years ago.
By the twelfth century it was being enjoyed by the rich in England.
In India ginger was used as protection against disease and to aid digestion.
Ginger is still great at settling upset tummies.
Who hasn't been handed a glass of ginger ale while recovering from a stomach bug?
Don't like soda?
Ginger has been used by herbalists for more than 2500 years to create invigorating - and stomach settling - teas.
Ginger can be bought fresh in the produce section.
Just slice and use, much as you would fresh garlic.
If you're substituting, 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh ginger equals 1 teaspoon ground.
Ground ginger, like cinnamon, can go on or in just about everything:
Stir ginger into lemonade or iced tea.
Mix into fresh fruit salads.
Combine ginger with sugar and sprinkle on grapefruit halves before broiling.
Sprinkle salmon fillets with lime juice and ginger before baking.
Add ginger to cooking water for broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts to cut the cabbagey flavor.
Stir ginger into mashed sweet potatoes or squash.
Sprinkle slices of refrigerated cookie dough with ginger and sugar before baking.
Add ginger to sweetened whipped cream.
Use it in preparing custards.
And crystalized ginger is a healthier treat than most.
Oh, and don't forget to bake some gingerbread and cookies!