Learn all about ginger and how to store it in the refrigerator and freezer with this detailed guide.
What is ginger
Ginger is a flowering plant whose rhizome (ginger root) is widely used in cooking. It has a warm and spicy taste and adds heat to the dish it is used in.
Fresh ginger is an integral part of cuisines all over the world as is used in both savory dishes and sweet treats. It is also used in making beverages like ginger tea.
Ginger grows in warm weather conditions. It is difficult to get locally grown ginger during the cold winter months. In this guide, we will show you how to prep and store ginger so that you can use it throughout the year. Prep and freeze it and you will never run out of this versatile root.
Freezing fresh ginger root is the easiest way to increase its shelf life and also makes it very convenient to use. Use it straight from your fridge or freezer without the need to defrost and add them to curries, stir fry, and more.
Health benefits of ginger
It not only adds taste, but it also has so many health benefits.
- It is rich in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties.
- It is a known cure for sore throat.
- Chewing on a piece of ginger helps reduce nausea and motion sickness.
- It is associated with reducing bloating and improving digestion.
How to select ginger
Ginger is easily available at Farmer's markets, Asian grocery stores, and most supermarkets. There are two types of ginger roots available - young ginger and old ginger. Young ginger is said to have a lighter flavor and is freshly harvested. Old ginger is more mature and has a stronger taste and flavor. It also stores better when compared to young ginger.
Ginger has an uneven shape and has several protrusions, called the knob of ginger. If a recipe calls for a knob of ginger, it usually means 2 inches (5 centimeters) of ginger. A one-inch piece is called a thumb of ginger.
Always pick a ginger root that is firm, smooth, and feels heavy for its size. Check the root well to make sure there is no blemish or signs of mold. The skin must be shiny and not dry. If it looks wrinkled and dehydrated, it means that the ginger is old and will lack taste and flavor.
How to use ginger
Ginger is used extensively across all cuisines. It is an integral part of Indian cooking and is used in several ways. Depending on the recipe, it can be prepped in different ways:
- Finely chopped or minced: Used in curries, stews, stir fry, or salads.
- Grated: Used in salad or dipping sauce.
- Sliced or cut in large chunks: Use in beverages or for infusion, and in stews.
- Paste: Used in marinades and curries.
- Julienned: Used as a garnish or in stir fry.
For example, sliced ginger can be used to make masala chai, minced ginger is used in curry sauce. Topping finished dishes with julienned ginger is a great way to add freshness and zing to them. Adding large chunks in beverages will help remove them easily before serving.
While ginger skin is edible, it is best to peel the ginger before storing it. The whole ginger root can be easily peeled using a vegetable peeler or paring knife. To peel a smaller thumb or knob of ginger, use the back of a spoon. This will help reach the corners of the thumb of ginger and also reduce food waste.
Storing ginger root
Here are three different methods you can store ginger root.
At room temperature: If you are planning to use the ginger within 8-10 days, you can store it in a cool and dark place at room temperature. Place the whole root in a dry bowl and store it inside a cupboard.
It is important to make sure that the ginger is clean and dry before storing it at room temperature. Any moisture content on the root will lead to the formation of molds on it.
In the refrigerator: Clean the ginger and remove any dirt or debris on the root. Pat dry using a kitchen towel or air dry on the kitchen counter, making sure there is no moisture content.
Lightly wrap the ginger in a paper towel and place it in a resealable plastic bag. Seal and place it in the refrigerator (in the crisper drawer). It should keep well for up to one month. The paper towel will help absorb any moisture content that may form.
In the freezer: The easy way to store whole ginger for a long time is to freeze it. You can freeze it without peeling. You can store the whole thing or cut it into large pieces.
Place the large piece of ginger root in a freezer-safe bag and store it in the freezer for 6-8 months. You can grate the ginger straight from the freezer.
Storing ginger paste
The ginger paste can come in very handy on busy weeknights and can be made and stored as a part of meal prep.
To make the ginger paste: Peel and chop ginger into smaller pieces. Place them in a blender or food processor to make a fine or coarse paste.
The moisture content in the ginger is enough to grind it; however, if you want a fine paste, add very little water for grinding.
Storing the ginger paste in the fridge: The ginger paste can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. Make the ginger paste and place it in a clean airtight container.
This is the best way to store it for quick use. Always use a clean and dry spoon to take the ginger paste and place it back in the fridge immediately after use.
Freezing ginger paste: Place the ginger paste in ice cube trays and place it in the freezer until it freezes.
Transfer the frozen cubes to a freezer-safe bag and store them in the freezer for up to one year. Remove as much air as possible before sealing.
Storing grated ginger: Grate the ginger using a Microplane grater or box grater. Portion and place them in ice cube trays. Freeze them and transfer them to a Ziploc bag or freezer-safe container for long-term storage.
Use small ice cube trays that hold around one teaspoon of ginger paste. This way, they will be portioned and each small portion can be taken for single use.
If you don't have access to a small ice tray, use a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Portion out the ginger paste and place them on a lined cookie sheet. Cover them (to prevent freezer burn) and flash-freeze them for a few hours before transferring them to a ziplock or airtight bag.
You can also freeze thin slices of ginger in the same way. Flash freeze the ginger slices first and then store the frozen piece in a freezer bag.
There is no need to defrost the frozen ginger cube before using them. You can add them directly to the cooking.
When storing the ginger in the fridge, keep an eye on molds. The peeled part of ginger may get molds. For every use, make sure you cut the ginger from the same side. This way, only a small part will be without the peel and this will minimize mold growth.
Always use a dry and clean spoon when handling the ginger paste and place it back in the fridge immediately after use.
Buy organic ginger where possible as it will have the best flavor.
Unpeeled ginger root can last for one month when stored correctly in the refrigerator. The ginger paste can be stored for up to one week.
Unpeeled ginger root can be stored in the freezer for many months. The ginger paste can be stored for up to one year in the freezer.
Dried ginger powder can be used as a substitute. For one tablespoon of ginger or 1-inch piece of whole ginger, use ½ teaspoon of ground ginger. Dry ginger is also a great way to store it for a longer time.
Ginger is a very versatile and healthy root that can be used in so many ways. It is always good to have ginger handy to be added to curry, stir fry, or baked goodies. It is an essential ingredient in so many dishes. The good news is that ginger can be stored in the freezer for many months.
Next time you find the best quality ginger in your farmer's market or grocery store, buy a big batch and store it for future use. Use them in your favorite recipes to add zing to them. When stored correctly, they can last for a long time and are very handy on busy weeknights.
How to store ginger
- 1 cup fresh ginger (or as required)
Prep the ginger:
- Wash the roots of ginger well in running water. Remove all the dirt and debris.
- Pat dry well using a kitchen towel. making sure all the water and moisture are removed. Alternatively, air-dry the cleaned ginger on the countertop.
Storing ginger root:
- At room temperature: If you are planning to use the ginger within 8-10 days, you can store it in a cool and dark place at room temperature. Place the clean ginger in a dry bowl and store it inside a cupboard.
- In the refrigerator: Lightly wrap the ginger in a paper towel and place it in a ziplock bag. Seal and place it in the refrigerator (in the crisper drawer). It should keep well for up to one month.
- Do not peel the ginger if you are storing it in the fridge as this may cause molds to form. Make sure you keep checking for any mold before using it.
Storing ginger paste:
- Peel the ginger and cut them into small chunks. Place them in a blender or food processor to make a fine or coarse paste.
- In the fridge: Place the ginger paste in a clean and dry air-tight container and store it in the refrigerator for up to one week.
- In the freezer: Place the ginger paste in icecube trays and place it in the freezer until it freezes. Transfer the frozen cubes to a ziplock pouch and store them in the freezer for up to 6 months.