Ginger is thought to have originated somewhere in the tropics, between northern India and South-East Asia and is now cultivated all over the world in tropical regions and is even considered a weed in parts of New Zealand.
In its ground form, ginger is used extensively in European and Indian cooking. The dried, ground product of ginger is hot and slightly sharper in flavour than the fresh root, although not as pungent.
Ground ginger is commonly used in sweet dishes such as baked goods and desserts, gingerbread, ginger biscuits, ginger beer and spiced fruits. The warming and fragrant qualities of the spice are especially appreciated at Christmas.