Flavor of the Month: Ginger
One rhizome, many tastes.
Fresh ginger gets its pungency and aroma from the flavor compound, gingerol. Chemically altering gingerol ends up tweaking ginger’s flavor profile, which helps give ginger its flavor versatility.
Heating a ginger rhizome causes gingerol to undergo a reverse aldol reaction, transforming it to zingerone, a molecule that is completely absent in fresh ginger. Like gingerol, zingerone is responsible for the pungency of cooked ginger, but it also lends a sweeter note to the flavor.
Drying a piece of ginger triggers a dehydration reaction, changing gingerol to shogaol. Shogaol is twice as spicy as gingerol. Read more…
Photo Credit: Jim Lightfoot (112095551@N02/Flickr)