Getting to the root of flavorful seasoning is easy with ginger. The ginger plant is grown for its knobby fleshy root, which has a hot, peppery and slightly sweet flavor.

Ginger comes from the semitropical regions of Jamaica, India, Africa and China. It is also grown in Hawaii.

It's a versatile spice that has long been a mainstay in Asian and Indian cooking. Those in the Far East use fresh gingerroot grated, ground and slivered in a variety of savory dishes. Europeans traditionally use the dried ground form of ginger in baked goods.

Mature gingerroot has a tough skin that must be peeled to expose the flesh underneath. Look for a smooth skin and a strong spicy fragrance. Unpeeled, fresh ginger can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks and frozen up to 6 months.

It's nice to spice with ginger.

Great Ginger Recipes

"Ginger and garlic nicely complement the tender shrimp in Gingered Garlic Shrimp (pictured above)," notes Rebecca Baird of Salt Lake City, Utah. "I hope you'll try this delicious pasta dish today!"

"Gingerbread Cake (pictured above) combines the old-fashioned flavors of ginger and molasses," says Ila Alderman of Galax, Virginia. "The dark, moist cake recipe was passed down to me from a dear aunt."

"Pork tenderloin gets dressed up for company in this easy-to-fix yet special main dish," writes Sue Mackey from Galesburg, Illinois. "Sesame Pork Tenderloin results in meat that is tender and flavorful. Sesame seeds and ginger go together so well."