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Is Ginger Fruit or Vegetable?

author image Virginia Van Vynckt
From 1978 until 1995, Virginia Van Vynckt worked as a writer and editor at The Chicago Sun-Times. She has written extensively about food and nutrition, having co-authored seven cookbooks. She also published "Our Own," a book about older-child adoption. Van Vynckt holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Indiana University.
Is Ginger Fruit or Vegetable?
Whole and sliced ginger root Photo Credit: grafvision/iStock/Getty Images

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

Whole fresh ginger bulbs
Whole fresh ginger bulbs Photo Credit: kazoka30/iStock/Getty Images

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

Slimmer ginger roots
Slimmer ginger roots Photo Credit: DAJ/amana images/Getty Images

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.

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