Ginger root is the rhizome, or fleshy stem, of a tropical plant. It’s a vegetable but is usually treated as an herb or spice for cooking and medicinal purposes.
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Vegetable Vs. Fruit
The fruit is the seed-bearing part of a mature flower. Other parts of a plant, including the roots, stems and leaves, are considered vegetables. That means that ginger, which comes from the stem of the plant rather than from its flowers, is a vegetable. The leaves and flower buds of ginger, available in some Asian markets, are also edible.
Choosing and Using Fresh Ginger
For ginger that is less fibrous, choose roots that are slim and thin-skinned. Although it can be stored at cool room temperature, ginger keeps longer if you seal it in a plastic bag and refrigerate or freeze it. You can peel it with a vegetable peeler before grating, dicing or mincing it to add to soups, stir-fries, fruit salads and other dishes. Fresh, unpeeled ginger slices can be steeped in boiling water to make a tea.