Why are these two sooo different? Just wondering.
While shopping for some grocery store produce, we couldn’t help but notice that the organic ginger looked visibly different from the conventionally grown ginger variety, while the former cost right at twice as much. Fortunately, a little ginger goes a long way, so budgeting for organic ginger root usually isn’t a big deal.
But just why exactly does the conventional variety – typically subjected to pesticides, fertilizers and other conditions considered unacceptable for organic – appear physically larger, less detailed/textured, shinier (almost in a plasticized way) and otherwise look significantly different from its organic cousin?
Melissa put it this way, commenting, “The conventional is all waxy and shiny… as if it’s more likely destined for old lady’s coffee table arrangement rather than someone’s tummy.”
We honestly don’t know why, but a side-by-side look of these two gingers makes you wonder what exactly goes into the superfood. To our knowledge (backed up by a cursory Internet search), there is not currently a genetically-modified version on the market. However, it’s hard to be certain of that these days, and there may be enough concern just with the conventional treatment of one of the world’s foremost medicinal roots.
Ginger’s key health benefits are so important, we couldn’t earnestly recommend anyone skip it in their diet, or go cheap and bypass the organic (or perhaps better, local/homegrown source). These amazing health benefits include fighting/preventing cancer, easing nausea and menstrual pain, aiding digestion, alleviating arthritis and headaches and more.
Here’s some points to think about with respect to ginger when it comes to conventional vs. organic (and most apply to produce of any kind in general):
As Chalkboard Magazine explains, “Root vegetables such as ginger, carrots and beets are more susceptible to fertilizers, therefore making organic and/or local the best bet.”
The Ginger blog also recommends organic ginger as well, noting that particularly when using it for its health and medicinal benefits, avoiding conventional could pay off in terms of better effectiveness:
“For everyday cooking use, it may not be too critical to use organic since only a small amount is used for most dishes. However, when consuming a larger amount of it as a natural home remedy for certain ailments, it is wise to use organic. Using organic for ginger tea, made from fresh peeled or unpeeled chunks of the mashed root, assures that your body is assimilating only the natural healing compounds of the root and not any additional artificial chemicals potentially left behind from conventionally grown ginger.”
It’s reassuring enough to know that some of the most popular varieties of ginger products – The Ginger People brand – have been certified non-GMO.
It is ALSO worth noting, however, that even the iconic “organic/natural” grocer Whole Foods once had to pull certified organic ginger that was imported from China after it was discovered that it was contaminated with the insecticide aldicarb – that can “cause nausea, headaches and blurred vision even at low levels” – at levels above those even considered acceptable for conventional produce. Can anything be trusted? Only if it has earned that trust – there are the obvious benefits of growing your own or buying it from a local, known source when possible.