Ginger (zingiber officinale Roscoe) is a member of the family zingiberaceae and sub-family “zingiberoideae”. It is a perennial monocotyledonous herb. The underground rhizomes are thick, hard and much branched, giving rise to primaries, secondaries and tertiaries which are about 1.5-2.5 cm in diameter. Fine fibrous roots arise from the base of the rhizome and are confined to the top layers of the soil. Most parts of the stem above the ground (with a height of between 30 and 100cm) is unbranched, thin and formed sheathing petioles of the leaves. The leaf blades are narrow and lanceolate. They are borne at high angles to the stem with alternate arrangements. Flowers, when present are small and few with purple cap and rarely produce fruits.
Uses of Ginger:
- Flavour in food traditional medicine
- Manufacture of liquor and cordials
- Cosmetics and perfumery industry
- Soap industry
- Manufacture of toothpaste and powders.
- Soups and other pre-cooked camped goods, soft drinks and meat processing.
- Soil and Climatic Conditions Required for Ginger Production
Ginger grows best in a level (flat land) with sandy loam and sandy clay loam soils, well drained with adequate rain fall well distributed over a period of six months. Sloppy areas and water logged ecologies should be avoided as the crop does not tolerate water logging and hydromorphic soils as well as gravelled soils. The ideal soil should have considerable depth for root anchorage and proliferation of the rhizomes. Although ginger can be produced in forest zones, the crops is best suited to guinea savannah ecologist as obtained in the major zones of production in the Southern Kaduna areas.
Ginger is a tropical crop, generally grown as a rain fed annual. The oil-rich temperature requirement is between 23 to 28°C. The crop also requires ample period of sunshine hours especially during bulking stage. When ginger is exposed to higher temperatures, part of the rhizome may dry up, thereby becoming unsuitable for planting.
- Planting Materials
Two indigenous varieties are mostly planted by farmers. These are UGI NRCRI (Tafin giwa or yellow ginger) and UG2 NRCRI (Yatsun-biri or black ginger). Setts are planted on flats at 10 – 15cm apart and 25cm between rows to give 250,000 plants/ha. The best time for planting is when rains stabilize i.e. March/April in the forest zone and May/June in the savanna zones
Planting material should be obtained from ginger specially stored for the purpose. Select good “fingers” and break them into small pieces (“seeds”) each containing two or three “eyes”.
- Ginger Processing
Ginger processing in Nigeria is both manually and mechanically executed. Splitting ginger rhizomes manually using a sharp knife. Splitting and drying are necessary to protect the ginger from micro-organisms attack which can lead to reduction and deterioration in the quality and quantity respectively, after harvesting.
Ginger Splitting: There are two known methods.
- Traditional Method:
The traditional methods of splitting involve, passing a sharp kitchen knife through It longitudinally. This cuts it into two halves almost symmetrically.
- Mechanical Method:
This involves the use of: Manually or motorized operated machine to split ginger. The machine positions ginger longitudinally at the splitting point. At the splitting point is a disc with four knives for splitting ginger into uniform thickness as pre-set. The split ginger falls by gravity.
- Ginger Drying:
Drying is the process that comes after splitting. This drying is done to reduce the moisture content to a minimum that will not affect the ginger when stored. This is one of the storage methods for ginger. This can be achieved by:
- Sun Drying:
This involves spreading the split ginger in an open space where the rays of sun can fall upon them on a spread mat, bare floor or a platform made for the purpose. In sub-humid parts of Nigeria, where there is high intensity of sunshine and low relative humidity almost throughout the year, the split ginger is allowed to stay until drying is completely achieved. But if otherwise, it will be removed at sunsets and spread again at sunshine until complete drying is achieved.
- Artificial/Mechanical Method:
This involves the use of Kerosene stove as the source of heat. It is placed underneath a heat exchanger to transfer heat to the racks by convention. The other method is when the chamber is electrically heated and the ginger moved by convention into the drying chamber. It dries 3mm of ginger to 10-12% moisture content in 4-5hours.
- Production of Ginger Flavoured Drinks
In the production of fruits drinks flavored with ginger, two or more kinds of fruits could be used as this gives a better taste in the fruit product. The juice is properly mixed before preservation. In making ginger flavored fruit drinks, a combination of pasteurization and addition of sugar are used. Pasteurization is the boiling of the juice to boiling point which inactivated enzymes and the shelf-life is extended by the addition of sugar.
fc of ginger flavored drinks