by: Chellarkovil Unit Level Organisation (ULO), Idukki
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Botanical name : Zingiber Officinale. Family : Zingiberaceae. One of the earliest oriental spices known in Europe, ginger has been cultivated in India both as a fresh vegetable and marketed as a dried spice since time immemorial. The fresh, dried or powdered rhizome of this slender herb, the Indian ginger has been acclaimed worldwide for its characteristic taste, flavour and texture. Ginger has always meant many things to many people. A taste maker, a flavourant, an appetizer, a drug, etc. Though grown all over India, the finest quality ginger comes from Kerala. Indian dry ginger is known in the world market as Cochin Ginger (NUGC) and Calicut Ginger (NUGK). India offers ginger in a variety of forms; oils, oleoresins, fresh ginger in brine, pickles, candies and syrups. It also comes in garbled/ungarbled, bleached/unbleached and powder forms. The principle buyers are Middle East, USA, the UK and Netherlands. The dry ginger is inevitable in Ayurvedic medicines. The planting season is April/May just before the monsoon. Whole or split mother rhizomes are used for planting. It is harvested 8 months after planting when the leaves turn yellow and start drying up gradually. The peeled rhizomes are washed and dried in sun for one week.