Wednesday, 17 October 2012

New Ginger Beers, Preservative Use, Oleoresins & Crisps

I was surprised to read that in the late 1950s, doctors in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, recommended ginger ale and pretzels as a cure for babies with an upset stomach. Apparently, the drink is no longer used as the sugar content can exacerbate the problem and also giving a baby a fizzy drink isn't ideal. I would have thought that the spiciness of ginger would have been completely unsuitable.

Last month, Fever-Tree launched its Naturally Light Ginger Beer in the US. It joins the company's existing Ginger Beer and Ginger Ale with all three made from a blend of three gingers from Nigeria, Cochin and the Ivory Coast.

The latest unusual ginger-spiced beer I've spotted is Antebellum Ale from the Craggie Brewing Company in Asheville, North Carolina. The brewery has taken an 1840s American recipe containing ginger, molasses and spruce tips and added malt and hops for a modern twist.

In June, the Philadelphia Brewing Company launched Commonwealth Ciders. Next year, the brewery is planning a seasonal ginger cider. I'll let you know when it arrives.

The Gleaner from Jamaica carried an interesting article recently which had me reaching for the dictionary. It's about a farmer who grows soursop and who wants to produce a soursop juice commercially. Soursop, for those of you who, like me, had never heard of it before, is a tropical fruit with a taste of strawberry and pineapple. What brought the article to my attention was the use of ginger as a preservative for the juice.

Ginger has long been known as a preservative and a quick online search will reveal a wide range of ginger preservative uses including bread, pork, West African soft cheese, fresh fish and orange juice.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has announced the recall of certain Clef Des Champs brand Organic Ground Ginger products which may contain salmonella, reports MarketWatch. The recall appears to be nationwide.

Waitrose is to launch an alcoholic ginger beer as part of an own-label revamp. I'm surprised that there hasn't been one before (as far as I know).

Hollows & Fentimans will be promoting its alcoholic ginger beer with a Halloween marketing campaign this month, reports FoodBev. My understanding is that although Fentimans and Hollows & Fentimans are, in effect, the same company, Fentimans produces non-alcoholic drinks and Hollows & Fentimans produces alcoholic drinks. Nice drinks.

The Nepalese Department of Food technology and Quality Control has selected ginger as one of six agricultural products with wider export potential, according to The Himalayan Times. With ginger exports earning an impressive Rs 507.6 million in the last fiscal year, farmers are being encouraged to switch to organic production and then gain the added financial benefit of processing the ginger instead of exporting it raw. Preserved ginger commands a good premium although Nepal would be up against established players like Hong Kong and China.

Another region looking to increase its market share is the northern Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh. The State Agriculture Minister has called for the creation of more ginger oleoresin extraction plants. Oleoresins are naturally occurring mixtures of oil and resin. Ginger oleoresin is used to flavour a wide range of food and drink products. (Source: The Hindu Business Line).

If you live in Japan you may be interested in a soon to be launched ginger and fried chicken flavoured crisp. But, according to PotatoPro, these crisps will only be available for a limited period.

The Nigerian Guardian has reported that a government department is developing plans to cope with the after effects of flooding on agricultural land. Although Nigeria produces enough both to feed itself and also to export for much needed foreign earnings, the production of crops such as ginger, cashew nuts, sweet potatoes and citrus fruits was affected this year by a combination of severe flooding and high post-harvest losses. Any farmer, politician or scientist will accept that you cannot mitigate against the effects of flooding but that something can and should be done to reduce the amount of post-harvest waste.

Incidentally, Nigeria start growing ginger in 1927 and is now fifth in the world production table.

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