Last week I told you about the Hudson Valley's All Star Gingerbread Competition that happens annually this time of year at the Mohonk Mountain House. It is one of my favorite holiday events because it has to do with one of my favorite holiday spices, ginger. Don't get me wrong I am a ginger fan anything time the year but winter and ginger seems to match up the best.

Ginger is one of those flavors that goes with everything. It is light with a snap of fresh, so as soon as you add it to something your are cooking or baking there suddenly a brighter flavor. Ginger can help bring out the best in a dish or a baked good and it can also bring out the best in us.

You may not realize it but that gingerbread cookie can actually be good for you. You can't say that about a lot of holiday treats. Ginger is know for it's healing properties. After all who hasn't drank a ginger ale when they are down with a bug. Healthline.com offers up 11 benefits of ginger that even include helping with brain function.

In case you aren't familiar with ginger it is the weird light brown root looking thing in the veggie section of your favorite grocery. It might remind you of something you would plant in your garden in the spring. Getting fresh ginger root is good for some recipes. And just a heads up, if you are going to work with ginger root directly you are going to want to make sure you have a good slicer and grater in your kitchen. You also want to be careful how much ginger you use, like all herbs there is a balance.

I will use ginger root in some of the recipes I have but most of the time I use a dried form of ginger. If you go to the dry spice isle in the store you will find it usually as a powder and sometimes courser in a grinder. It can also be found mixed in with some other spices such as curry powder if you are looking for more flavor. (DIY Curry Powder)

One of my other favorite ways to enjoy ginger is in a candy. Ginger chews are one of my favorite and you can always talk me into a dark chocolate bar with dried ginger in it.