I grew up in a very Balkan family that loved adding ginger to everything. Every morning before breakfast, my whole family would drink a cup of fresh orange juice mixed with fresh, grated ginger root or simply just drink a cup of ginger tea. They strongly believe that ginger is a superfood of some sort.
And I must tell you, they aren’t wrong. Ginger is It belongs to the Zingiberaceae family, and it’s related to turmeric, galangal, and cardamom. Ginger has to be one of the healthiest, best spices in the world(along with turmeric of course); It’s one of the most used spices in my household.
I always am very used to having ginger in my house, no matter what version. I love to use a teaspoon of ground ginger or ginger powder in my favorite cup of tea or some sweet dishes like pumpkin pie.
If you happen to run out of ginger don’t hurry up to the store to buy some, there are many alternatives to it. Here are the 7 best ginger substitutes that can help you in a time of need.
Substitutes for ground ginger are
- Frozen Ginger, Candied Ginger, or Ginger Paste
If you want to learn more about these ginger substitutes then keep on reading the article down below.
Top 7 Ginger Substitutes
Allspice is an excellent alternative for ginger. It’s a warm spice with a pungent smell and a mildly sweet flavor. Allspice is a little expensive and it’s definitely not a spice that you would use on an everyday basis.
The reason why this spice is so pricy is that it’s made from the dried, unripe berry of the Dioca tree(a rare breed of tree). But don’t worry, you can make this spice blend at home and get surprisingly similar results to the real deal.
All you’re going to need is some pungent, sweet spices like ground cloves, nutmeg(or ground nutmeg or nutmeg seeds), and cinnamon. Mix all those dried ingredients together and voila, you have your own version of Allspice.
For thousands of years the cousin of ginger, Turmeric, has proven to be the healthiest and most nutritional spice of all of the other spices(yes, even healthier than ginger). You may know turmeric from savory foods or your favorite rice dishes that involve curry; in fact, turmeric is the one that gives the curry its famous yellow/orange color. Naturally, curry is mostly used in many Asian dishes but it’s especially famous in Indian cuisine.
Turmeric contains a powerful chemical active compound called curcumin. Curcumin is the one ingredient in turmeric that has so many health benefits. It’s good for improving heart health, preventing cancer, and works wonders cleaning your lungs, especially if you’re a heavy smoker.
Now, here is a secret on how to really activate the curcumin from turmeric; when using turmeric for its health properties(usually in tea or DIY face masks) add a pinch of Ceylon black pepper. Black pepper also has an active chemical compound called piperine. That’s where the peppery flavor comes from.
The combination of piperine and curcumin is very powerful since both of them have anti-inflammatory properties. You can substitute fresh ginger root with fresh turmeric or powder turmeric.
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The perfect substitute for ginger is galangal; the resemblance is uncanny to the fresh ginger root. I can’t tell you how many times I made a mistake and instead of a ginger root, I picked galangal. This spice belongs to the ginger family, just like turmeric and cardamom.
But, this spice differs in taste. Ginger has a spicy, pungent taste, and galangal has a much more bitter, citrusy taste. The best way to mimic the taste of raw ginger is by using ground galangal because the taste is a little more pronounced when the galangal is dried.
Nutmeg is a spice that’s made from the seeds of the nutmeg tree; a tree native tree to Indonesia. The nutmeg tree produces two types of spices, mace, and nutmeg. Mace is the red cover that the nutmeg seed is covered in. Ground mace is also a decent substitute for ginger.
Nutmeg is a warm spice that’s used over the autumn and winter seasons. It’s mainly used in soups, stews, desserts, and cocktail recipes. Even though nutmeg is used for mostly sweet dishes, you can also add it to savory dishes and give them a little sweetness. A teaspoon of nutmeg will be a great ratio when a recipe calls for a teaspoon of ginger.
Frozen Ginger, Candied Ginger, or Ginger Paste
There are many variants of ginger on the market. If you don’t have one of the ginger versions, you can easily substitute it with the other ones. Instead of fresh ginger, you can use ground ginger powder, frozen ginger, and there’s even a variation of ginger pastes.
If you don’t know what a ginger paste is, it’s simple; it’s blended fresh ginger with a little bit of oil in it. People use ginger paste in smoothies or soups for boosting their immune system and improve their digestion. You can easily do it at home if you own a blender or a food processor.
Candied ginger or candy ginger is exactly what you think it is. It’s literally tiny ginger pieces that have been boiled in sugar until it’s been candied and coated with the liquidated sugar. You can use it in many dessert recipes.
Powdered ginger or ground ginger is made by drying and grounding the fresh ginger root. You can use powdered ginger instead of fresh ginger in your cup of tea, smoothies, energy-boosting drinks, and stir-frys. If you’re really in a hurry and you happen to have a ginger beer or ginger juice in your fridge, you can use it to add a little bit of flavor to your drink.
While you can’t really use cinnamon instead of fresh ginger, you can still use it as a substitute for the ground one. Ground cinnamon comes from the bark of the tree Cinnamomum. Cinnamon has a sweet, spicy, wood-like, aromatic flavor (because it’s basically a tree bark).
Although the flavor of ginger tastes a little bit different than cinnamon(cinnamon has a stronger taste than ginger), they both belong to the ginger family and can be good substitutes for each other.
Cinnamon powder is known as a breakfast spice,(used on top of waffles, pancakes, and French toast) but you can use it in both savory and sweet dishes like cookies, pies, hot drinks like tea and hot chocolate, bread recipes, soups, and even some meat dishes.
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Lemongrass is a medicinal plant as well as a spice. Well, lemongrass is not exactly a spice like nutmeg or cinnamon. Its flavor is more light and aromatic, suitable for flavoring food, not spicing it. Lemongrass is used in everyday cooking since its flavor is so mild, it does not change a thing in your dish, it just adds to the aroma.
You can find lemongrass in many cosmetic products, tea flavors, hygiene products, and beverages. Lemongrass also has many health benefits; it can reduce swelling, improve sugar and cholesterol levels, and reduce fever.