Ginger vs Ginger Root: How They Are Different

Ginger has become essential in health, cuisine, and even beauty needs. The spice is versatile and fits into many niches in life. The rich, nutrient-filled spice often gets mistaken in recipes because it has different forms. So I will be treating the comparison between ginger vs ginger root.

If you have a recipe and it’s stated to use ginger, then it says ginger root, it could get confusing. If you think they are the same. You are right and wrong. Consequently, it is a must you know when ginger is talked about and what it means to use ginger root.

Read the article to get a deeper understanding of the two.

What Is Ginger?

Ginger is a root plant belonging to the Zingiberaceae family. The botanical name is Zingiber officinale. The plant is most common in Southeast Asia countries; however, it has received widespread acknowledgment and popularity, making it an easily grown plant anywhere in the world.

It is yellowish with a spicy taste. It also has a pungent aroma. This component is made from the gingerol component. The spice can be used in various forms. The most common is ground/powdered ginger.  

The root spice is known to be rich in anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and vitamin nutrients. Therefore, you will find it used for medicinal, culinary, and cosmetic purposes.

The benefits ginger provide includes- aiding digestion, regulating blood pressure, reducing blood sugar, reducing inflammation, and providing antioxidants to fight infections and viruses in the body.

The health benefits the ginger plant provides make it unique and sought after in the medicine and culinary fields.

Furthermore, it is a major ingredient in both Chinese and Indian medicine and food areas for thousands of years, which is why it is a standout plant.

Ginger root

Ginger root is the raw root part (rhizome) of the ginger plant (Zingiber officinale). It is harvested and prepared for any form of use. The ginger root is mostly described in terms of fresh and raw ginger. However, it is not the spice.  

SEE: Why You Should Never Substitute Garlic Powder for Garlic Salt

Is Ginger the Same Thing as Ginger Root?

Yes, and at the same time, no. Ginger can be said to be ginger, and ginger root can be said used as ginger. They are both synonymous here. However, it depends on the context. Ginger, for example, means all forms of ginger, as long as it is from the ginger root.

When describing ginger, you can mean the root, fresh ginger, powdered ginger, chopped ginger, cooked ginger, or dried ginger. They are all forms of ginger.

However, ginger root is the root plant- fresh, raw root pulled from the ground. Ginger root is the first form of ginger. It is from it you derive all other forms of ginger.

However, ginger root is not processed, while other ginger forms (dehydrated or grounded) are processed to their derived form.

Ginger Powder vs Ginger Root

Ginger powder and ginger root are not the same things. Also, ginger powder is the processed and grounded form of ginger root. On the other hand, ginger root is a fresh and raw version.

Not only do they taste different, but they also have different levels of properties. For instance, gingerol, the active component of ginger, is reduced in powder form than in the raw root form.

This also affects the flavor of the spice food or medicine. If reduced, the strength of the spice in food is reduced and tamed.

Furthermore, chopped ginger in food provides a crunchy effect in any food you add into. However, you can use ginger powder in tea than root. The ginger root is used in making tonics or natural remedies.

SEE: Peppermint Vs Mint: Key Similarities and Differences

Ginger Juice vs Ginger Root

Ginger juice is extracted juice from a ginger root. You can drink it for health benefits. Ginger juice is rarely featured in meals; however, it can be used to marinade meat. Ginger root is the root spice.

To make ginger juice, chop or blend your ginger root. Add little water and let it sit for minutes (up to 30 minutes). Then sieve the soaked ginger, separating the pulp from the water. Then you have your juice.

The thickness or pungency of your juice depends on the quantity of water used. The thicker the juice, the more pungent the aroma and taste are.

Ginger Beer vs Ginger Root Beer

Ginger root beer is a ginger-flavored root beer. The main ingredient in the beer is the root bark of the sassafras tree with a hint of ginger.

Meanwhile, ginger beer is a beer made from ginger root spice itself. Ginger beer is made through the fermentation of ginger, which makes the beer the end product.

The taste of both beers is different so is the alcohol content. Nonetheless, they can both be alcoholic or non-alcohol beers.

SEE: If Ginger Beer Is the Best Option for a Gluten-Free Diet

Can You Substitute Ground Ginger for Ginger Root?

Yes, you can. However, it is not advised. Moreover, depending on what you need ginger for, you should use the form required.

For example, in marinating or making broth, it is best to use chopped ginger root than powder. The pungent aroma and taste have a better chance of improving your dish than powder.

However, powdered ginger is best for tea or adding as a spice to light dishes.

SEE: Is Wasabi as Spicy as Chili Peppers?

How to Use Ginger

You can use ginger in its raw root form or powdered form.

Raw Ginger

For raw ginger, you either use them in making tonics or chopping and adding it to dishes. To use raw ginger root, you will need to scrape or peel the body and then chop it to the required sizes. You can follow the required recipe that needs the raw form of ginger.

Powder Ginger

Powder ginger is already ready to use. It is a convenient form of ginger. To use, all you have to do is add the required amount to whatever you are making or drinking. However, if you are substituting this with raw ginger, expect a slightly different taste.  

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FAQs

Which is better, powder ginger or ginger root?

While it depends on what you are using ginger for, most times, fresh ginger is better than the grounded form. The grounded form has reduced properties, especially gingerol, the active ingredient in ginger.

Can you freeze ginger?

Yes, you can. You can freeze ginger root and ginger juice. However, you cannot freeze ginger powder because it is in the best-preserved form.

Does ginger root go bad?

Yes, it does. Ginger root can go bad if not preserved properly. It dries up when exposed to too much air. Nevertheless, it takes time, and you can have your ginger root sitting out for weeks before it completely becomes unusable.

However, ginger powder can last for years, even after the best-by date. The powder is processed and dried up. This makes it lasting, even without preservatives.

Does ginger help with blood pressure?

Yes, it does. Ginger contains anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce blood pressure. That’s why it is said to be a natural remedy for reducing and regulating blood pressure.

Can you use ginger root as tea?

Not likely. You should drink ginger powder instead. Ginger roots are mostly used to make tonics because they are stronger than the powder form.

Moreover, you need to blend or ground ginger before using it as tea. Therefore, the powder form is best and more convenient.

SEE: Is Ginger Spicy Or Not? 

Conclusion

You can use ginger and ginger root synonymously when talking about the fresh root itself. However, this does not mean the same thing for ginger alone, which encompasses all forms. Nonetheless, they provide the same benefits to health and meals.

Consequently, you can say when comparing ginger vs ginger root, it is purely semantics and not in function. However, when comparing ginger powder and ginger root, there are slight differences and purpose of use.

It all comes down to what is required at that moment, be it ginger powder, juice, or root itself.

Thanks for reading.

You can get more informational guides on kitchen ingredients here on Cheffist.