Did you know that the term Ginger Root is a misnomer? Ginger is actually a rhizome that resembles a root. Many recipes call for fresh ginger root, but to me, even though it is incorrect, it sounds more friendly than fresh ginger rhizome! Whether you call it fresh ginger or ginger root, this pungent spice gives a distinct flavor to many dishes. It is used extensively in Asian cooking; in fact, it originated in China and then spread to other Asian countries over hundreds of years.
Ginger goes especially well with fruit, so I use it in dressings for fruit salads and I also like to use it in fruit punches like this Tropical Paradise Punch which is a favorite at barbecues and picnics. This punch is also perfect to serve at your next Hawaiian Luau. If you're ambitious and have time, garnish glasses of this delicious punch with paper umbrellas and slices of fresh pineapple. Actually this picture is of my grandson, Jake drinking Tropical Ginger Paradise Punch at his Birthday Luau.
Since this punch is always very popular, I would recommend doubling the recipe; it doesn't take any more time to make a double batch, and then you'll have plenty for seconds.
Tropical Ginger Paradise Punch
2 tablespoons peeled and finely chopped fresh ginger
3 cups water
1 3/4 cups sugar
4 cups water
1 1/2 cups guava juice
2 1/4 cups pineapple juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves
Boil the chopped fresh ginger with the 3 cups of water for about 20 minutes; turn off the heat and let cool to room temperature. When the mixture has cooled, pour through a strainer, pressing on the ginger to get all of the ginger juice.
Mix the sugar and remaining four cups of water; bring to a boil; turn down to a simmer and cook about 10 minutes or until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved.
Mix the ginger water and the sugar syrup. You may prepare the punch to this step up to one week ahead.
When you're ready to serve the punch, pour the ginger/sugar mixture into a punchbowl half filled with ice; stir in the guava, pineapple, and lemon juices. Taste to see if it's too strong; if it is, add more ice or dilute with water. Garnish with mint leaves.