Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

How to Store Fresh Ginger {The Ginger Challenge Series}

February 4th, 2014 · 33 Comments · Tips

How to Store Fresh Ginger


Throwing away food really does feel like throwing away money to me – I can’t stand it, and it just tears my heart out to pitch food that’s gone bad (especially if it’s leftovers that got “left” a little too long, because that’s not only money but my time, an even more precious commodity!!).

As much as I hate wasting food, I also have a peculiar impulse buying habit when it comes to produce. Weird, I know – for most women it’s cute shoes or toddler dresses, right?

When I see a recipe that has an ingredient I don’t usually stock, I usually skip over it the first time. But once I’ve seen that ingredient crop up in a few recipes or a really, really tasty or intriguing looking one, it sticks in my head. Then if I see it at the grocery store or farmer’s market, a blip goes off in my brain:

“Heyyyyyyy, I know you! I’ve seen you in a recipe I know I really wanted to make! You’re coming home with me…”

Sometimes I end up never being able to find the recipe again, and other times I just don’t find (or make) the time to jump into whatever new technique I thought I should try right away before the lovely produce turns to mush.

Le sigh.

I typically let the offending fridge-squatting visitor get really, really, clearly far gone, because if something is just a little past its prime, I feel even worse about wasting – even though intellectually I realize that throwing it away is throwing it away, whether it had 5% of its life left or negative 50%.

Such was the story with a sad piece of ginger, abandoned for two months in the very back corner of the meat and cheese drawer not once but twice, then finally brought to its demise, punky and wrinkled.

Until I learned that it doesn’t have to end that way, even if I can’t curb my crazy impulse buying habits when I’m encountered with the tantalizing prospect of a fresh piece of…fruit or vegetable.

Saving the Ginger – & the Best Part of the Tip!

How to store and freeze ginger

No kidding. You don’t even have to do anything special to it in case you’re low on time (who isn’t?), AND it even serves to make it easier to grate.

It’s a no-brainer to freeze your fresh ginger as soon as you can. If you still write “freeze ginger-” on your to-do list for 5 days straight and never get to it, just know that you’re still not alone. You of course choose to peel your ginger, which takes a little longer, right? Winking smile

How to Freeze Fresh Ginger

Preparing and Freezing Ginger

Because I don’t really want to deal with peeling frozen ginger or washing the rough surface of a ginger root, I always peel it first.

You can use a vegetable peeler or a paring knife – I use a paring knife because ginger is so knobby and uneven, a peeler gets tricky. (One reader uses a spoon, but I forgot to try that!)

UPDATE: The comments are alive with spoon-lovers — I can’t wait to try it! Also, at least one says that if you freeze unpeeled ginger, the peel sort of just gets out of the way as you microplane it! Awesome! Finally, if you want to ferment a “ginger bug” be sure to leave the peel on, as the beneficial bacteria are there.

Remember as you’re peeling that you don’t have to keep the ginger whole or beautiful. Cut yourself some slack on perfectionism and just slice off the knobs and then peel them, rather than trying to get the paring knife into the divots and valleys of the ginger. It doesn’t have to take very long.

Peeled ginger can be frozen in large chunks (in the plastic bag in the photo above), and then you can grate it with a microplane grater while frozen for dishes where you need a teaspoon or tablespoon of minced or grated ginger.

And in fact, if you’ve ever attempted to grate fresh ginger root, you’ve probably noticed how awfully fibrous and stringy it can get – it really gets hung up in the peeler and is quite annoying. Not frozen! Frozen ginger will grate smoothly without all the strings that make it seem like a close cousin of celery.

Ginger Tea

I also like to freeze some in thin slices so I can just pull it out to make ginger tea or ginger ale. Try to freeze slices very flat in a plastic bag so they’re separated. If everything really sticks together in the freezer, you might use ice cube trays to freeze initially so that just a few pieces are stuck together, enough for one serving of tea, for example:

How to Freeze Ginger in ice cube trays

If you have a really nice food processor that can handle grating hard cheeses like Parmesan, it might also handle fresh raw ginger, unfrozen. In that case, you could grate all of it and freeze in ice cube trays in one-teaspoon servings. (My food processor is not that cool.)

UPDATE: Amanda Rose shared an excellent time-saving peeling tip – that you don’t have to peel the little knobby parts! Here’s what she does with them.

How to Get Your Fresh Ginger Drunk

If you use this fun method of storage, perhaps your ginger will get even more fresh. Mwah. Winking smile

A number of readers say that you can preserve ginger in alcohol in the fridge:

  • Puree it with a little vodka and store cold
  • Cover ginger slices with sherry, in the fridge
  • Peel the whole root and cover with vodka – will last many months in the fridge in a glass jar

Root it!

If you have leftover fresh ginger and are feeling green thumb-ish, put it in some soil in a pot and it will take root!

And if all this “fresh” stuff just isn’t your thing, you can get bulk dried ginger root (not powdered) for things like tea at Mountain Rose Herbs, along with jarred minced ginger (I wonder if that’s as good as fresh???), pickled ginger, and a variety of ginger teas at Vitacost.

The Ginger Challenge

This post is part of The Ginger Challenge Series here at KS – follow along by buying some ginger. Get it in your freezer and be ready to try some new things with it as the month goes on! 

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Kitchen Stewardship is dedicated to balancing God’s gifts of time, health, earth and money.  If you feel called to such a mission, read more at Mission, Method, and Mary and Martha Moments.

Disclosure: There are affiliate links in this post to Amazon, Mountain Rose Herbs and Vitacost from which I will earn some commission if you make a purchase. See my full disclosure statement here.

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33 Comments so far ↓

  • Rosie

    Using a spoon really is the easiest way. It takes zero effort. And since it’s not sharp, the spoon won’t cut off the knobs.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Renee P.

    The freezer tip has been so helpful for me since I learned about it a while ago! Now I always have “fresh” ginger! I’ve always put the knob in unpeeled and when I grate it on the microplane, the peel isn’t a problem (how to describe? It doesn’t really get grated, it just “peels back” or falls off). Maybe I should peel before freezing, but does that cause the ginger to dry out at all?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Renee,
    Oh, I didn’t even try it without peeling! That would be easier if the peel just gets out of the way – awesome!
    :) Katie

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  • Heather

    Thanks for the freezing tip! Use the spoon for peeling next time! You’ll never use anything else again. Way better than a paring knife for ginger.

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  • Niki

    Definitely use the spoon to peel it, before or after freezing. It’s so easy, you won’t believe you ever tried using anything else!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Cequila

    I have never had success getting ginger to root and grow. It always rots first. Any suggestions?

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Nancy

    I freeze my ginger root and really enjoy having it available ! My problem is in measuring the frozen grated ginger. Do you pack it into a measuring spoon, or just let it float over the spoon from the grater ?? I have both under and over spiced a few dishes :) We like our ginger ! Thanks for sharing this Katie !!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Nancy,
    I’d take a happy medium – grate into a bowl and scoop into a measuring spoon, but don’t smash. :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • NancyLee

    Leave the peel on if it will be used to make “ginger bug” for fermenting. The ferment needs the bacteria from the skin to become active.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Thank you, I didn’t know that! Updated the post…

    :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Stacy C

    One other way is in rice wine vinegar. I have two jars of it in the fridge: one in sherry and one in vinegar. I like the vinegar ginger more in Asian recipes. It gives it a nice sour note I really love and as soon as I finish using the sherry soaked ginger, I’m converting to rice wine vinegar only.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Abi Craig

    Thank you, thank you! I freeze a lot of small things so they don’t go to waste, but never thought to do that with ginger! I’m thrilled to learn a new way to hang onto that last bit I don’t yet have a use for.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Jen

    Do you know of a place to buy organic ginger in the Grand Rapids area?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Jen,
    I’m almost positive I saw it at Harvest Health last week! :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Remy

    I didn’t know that you can freeze it, I will definitely tell my grandmother. This is a great tip.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Lauren

    Oh heavens, I ALWAYS have fresh ginger around! Even when it’s not sooooo fresh, whatevs, in it goes. Love it. That and garlic. And cinnamon. We like big flavours around here!
    I just can’t picture the spoon trick, but I’ve heard good things about it.
    I’m guessing here, but the jarred minced garlic suffers from “vitamin fade” and I’d suppose the same would happen to ginger. Does marinading a prebiotic destroy its starches like resting a dough?

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Andria

    Try the spoon! I used to use a vegetable peeler but my hubby mentioned a spoon and I’ll never go back! You also don’t lose as much in the peels using a spoon

    [Reply to this comment]

  • D

    This is the beginning of your series on ginger but I am still a few baby steps behind and coincidentally, I have had this piece of ginger to use … and when I go to use it, I don’t know what it is supposed to be as good, bad, fresh, old, dried… My ‘few questions’: directions on the plastic wrap said to store in frig, wrap loosely in a paper towel, yes/no? (I did see it can be frozen)? So,what does ginger look like when it is not usable? When slicing it, is some green tinge inside ok? Is not ginger(fresh) and ginger root the same thing, interchangeable words? Lastly, in terms of buying and using it as a”real food”, is any fresh ginger root in the store ok, do you need to know “where” it’s from, where you don’t want it from, & do you really need to find ‘organic’ ginger?
    THANKS

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    D,
    Ginger root and fresh ginger are the same.
    Not sure about sourcing – I can only find “ginger.” I don’t fret a ton about organic as a general rule though.
    I’m not sure I’ve ever seen green tinge unless it was definitely mold, so I can’t really answer that one. I would just freeze it right away, rather than refrig at all. :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

    Kristel Wiesner Reply:

    That bluish/greenish tinge inside the ginger root that D mentioned bothered me for years and I threw away countless pieces of ginger that I bought at Meijer thinking it might be some type of spoilage. The ginger I bought at Walmart was yellow and didn’t have the ring. I learned that a certain variety of ginger called Blue Ring Ginger has this ring of color inside the ginger when it’s sliced. For anyone concerned about this, search an image of blue ginger and it will put your mind to rest. Supposedly Blue Ring Ginger is superior, but I don’t notice any difference.

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Emily

    I LOVE KS and have been a follower for years. U ROCK! I have noticed that once you have taken the baby steps and have really started to live this lifestyle, that it’s hard to find new ideas and ways to keep kicking things up a notch. This ginger series is fantastic. I am learning so many new things and wonderful ideas! THANK YOU! Ok, I’ve got to stop typing and freeze my ginger ;)

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Thank you so much, Emily – I almost worried it would be too basic, but it was something I needed, so I’m glad to hear it challenges/teaches others! Yay! :) Katei

    [Reply to this comment]

  • annette

    I have been freezing my ginger for years I buy organic and never peel it. I use it peel and all as needed. I love the idea to freeze it in slices. I will be doing some of that from now on. Thanks

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Karen

    I wonder if you could also freeze the slices like I do peppers. Lay them out on a cookie sheet and freeze for 30 minutes, then toss into a freezer bag or container. Then they won’t stick together.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    Absolutely Karen! They haven’t really been sticking all that badly anyway…
    :) Katie

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Erin from Long Island

    I’m surprised you didn’t mention my favorite way, just puree it! I add a touch of oil as needed (coconut is awesome) and store in the fridge. Perfect for Indian and Asian recipes!

    [Reply to this comment]

  • Sue

    Haha, i saw myself in your description of “exotic” ingredients, and coming across them! My fridge/freezer is full of stuff I can’t bear to throw away, though I think some of it is only good for worm food now:)

    [Reply to this comment]

  • casey

    Hey Katie, I think I have the same food processor as you (jsut bigger 11 cups), and it grates hard cheeses just fine. As a matter of fact I grated up a whole wedge of parmesan on Sunday that I had bought on sale at Costco. You do need to cut off the rind first – it won’t cut that up.
    I used the ‘shredding’ blade as opposed to the chopper thing that fits in the bowl. The trick is to to cut small enough pieces so they fit through the feeder tube thingy – then put some kind of a weight on the lid, otherwise the cheese kind of gets tuck between the lid and the blade.

    (Full disclosure): mine is probably 20 years old at least – it was my grandmothers (she passed in 2001) so it’s probably even older than that so it is possible that the ‘newer’ versions aren’t as good. I recently broke her Oster blender and was very dissap9ointed at what is available now compared to what I had. I ended up replacing it with a $100 blender instead of the $35 one that was the same model as the original but didn’t work well.

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    casey Reply:

    Oh and i threw the rind into your Italian Wedding soup when I made it on Monday!

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  • Christi

    YOu must be related to me. I do all the exact same things when it comes to being triggered to buy something, probably never remembering why, and then keeping it until fully justified to compost or throw it out. I kept nodding my head “yep” over and over. I also have only recently progressed to using fresh ginger and really appreciate the tips shared here!

    [Reply to this comment]

    Katie Kimball @ Kitchen Stewardship Reply:

    LOL Christi, too cute – Katie

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  • mamalaoshi

    Crystalized ginger is yummy and will last for many months. It’s yummy to dice up and add to cookies and also a nice little treat or something to nibble on with an upset stomach. My kids aren’t crazy about pieces of fresh ginger in recipes- it has to be super finely chopped or grated. But they will beg me to eat pieces of crystalized ginger.

    The recipe is simple- just simmer with water and sugar, then let dry. Do a search to find more detailed instructions- they are all over the web.

    [Reply to this comment]

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Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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