A subtropical plant grown for its nobby root (rhizome or underground stem). The root has tan skin, ivory to pale green flesh, and a peppery, slightly sweet flavor. Ginger is planted in August or September using the previous year’s crop. Ginger takes about nine months to reach maturity. After the flowers appear, the tops begin to die, leaving the ginger rhizomes ready to harvest Ginger is a mainstay of Asian and Indian cooking and is used grated, ground and slivered. Ginger juice is the juice of the root. Candied or crystallized ginger is ginger cooked in a sugar syrup, while preserved ginger is in a sugar-salt mixture: both of these are used primarily for sweets and desserts. Pickled ginger, used as a palate cleanser with sushi, is ginger preserved in sweet vinegar.