Why is ginger pink?

Most people are familiar with ginger having a yellowish or brownish color.  Although there are also variants that have a very light pink hue, these are not that common.  With the popularity of dishes that involve ginger as a main ingredient, many have seen that this food item has become pink.

In the Japanese food item called “gari,” for example, slices of young ginger are used, and these are served along with standard dishes such as sushi.  Some even call the dish sushi ginger.  The food preparation involved in this meal includes soaking the sliced, young ginger in sugar and vinegar.  After the soaking process, the sliced ginger will come out with a deeper pinkish color.

Just like the Japanese method of food preparation, one just needs to soak the ginger in vinegar for it to change color from yellowish to pinkish.  Rhizomes of the young ginger varieties are said to have anthocyanins which are molecules that create the pinkish hue when mixed with acidic substances such as vinegar.  Because of this vinegar-soaking process, ginger has now become popular with a pink color.

Adding to the popularity of pink ginger are commercially available ginger slices which are pre-soaked in vinegar.  And since the ginger slices are already marinated with vinegar, they have already become pink even before they are  displayed in the stores.  Society has also somewhat dictated the popularity of pink-colored ginger as these are sought-after in restaurants.  As food experts will admit, prices will increase for pink-colored ginger slices because it is the trend in these modern times.  Naturally yellowish ginger is considered dull and ordinary and so it is sold at much lower prices.  Some companies also put artificial pink coloring into ginger just to keep up with the demand for this food item and to improve the sales of this product.  With all these scenarios combined, ginger is known today as having a pinkish color.

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