Ginger (Zingiber officinale) rhizomes have long been used in Asian cooking and medicine. It was one of the first spices to be cultivated and does not exist in the wild. However, ginger gives its name to a whole plant family with turmeric, cardamon and galangal as well as ornamental gingers all being relatives. A small piece of rhizome takes just four months to grow into fresh ginger root for harvesting, but twice that time to grow into rhizomes to make dried ginger. This has been imported to Europe since the Middle Ages and the zesty, warming flavour is a key ingredient in many sweet Christmas bakes. In herbal medicine ginger has been proven to reduce inflammation and aid digestion. Why not make this old-fashioned gingerbread recipe for family and friends this Christmas?