Fresh Ginger Tips

Fresh Ginger Tips

During cooking classes, my students always say that they love the taste of fresh ginger, but complain that it’s a pain in the butt to peel and chop! Half of the students shamefully admit that they buy the pureed stuff that comes in a jar or tube.


Call me a ginger snob, but that jarred pureed stuff is just plain nasty and chemically tasting. There is definitely something suspicious about a food item that sticks to the roof of your mouth. Especially when it’s not chocolate, peanut butter or caramel.

So, I’m going to share with you some of my ginger secrets….

Ginger is actually a root, the rhizome of a name of a plant I can’t say 10 times fast, “Zingiber Officinale.” It’s one of the ingredients that I use in my everyday Asian cooking.

How to store ginger

  • Refrigerate: I use ginger so much that I buy a big massive root once every couple of weeks. The best way to store ginger is place it in small paper bag in your vegetable crisper drawer. I used to tightly wrap it in plastic wrap, but then one day while pregnant with Andrew and HIGHLY emotional, I felt sorry for the ginger suffocating in the wrap and started crying. Don’t ask. I can’t explain.
  • Freeze: When I have one of those moments at the store and forget I that I already have 2 pounds of ginger in the refrig…and end up with ginger overload, I use a the handy microplane grater to grate the entire root. Lay a sheet of plastic wrap on your counter and spoon the ginger on top in a nice even line. Roll up tightly, twist the ends (hmmm….reminds me of something i used to to do when i was in college) like a piece of candy and freeze. When you need, just unwrap, snap off a chunk and it defrosts quickly. Or just regrate on your microplane grater while frozen. What a clever idea from Lunch In a Box!

How to cut?

How I want to use the ginger determines how I cut the root.

  • Flavor the oil: Sometimes, I don’t want a strong ginger flavor in a dish, but I want my oil to be fragranced and flavored by the ginger. Wash well, don’t bother peeling. Cut the ginger into 1/8″ coins. With the side of your knife, “whack” the coin to break the fibers a bit and release the essence. Heat up your cooking oil in a wok or pan on high heat. When the oil is hot but not smoking, add the ginger coins (usually about 3 coins) and let the ginger fry for 30 seconds. If I want a little stronger flavor, I turn my heat to medium and let the ginger infuse the oil for a little longer. Don’t let the ginger burn! Combine the ginger with smashed garlic cloves and you have a start to a classic Chinese stir-fry. At this point you can remove and discard the ginger.
  • In stir fry, sauce, dressing: There’s nothing more annoying than getting a fibrous piece of ginger stuck in your teeth. No matter how long you spend at your cutting board mincing this stubborn root, it’s never going to be as fine as the method I use. I use a microplane grater (photo above) to grate my fresh ginger. It works wonderfully and you can see that the fiber stays on the root and doesn’t end up in your dish. You’ll end up with fine, silky, clean ginger. Easy and it only takes 15 seconds to grate enough for your dish. I also have a Japanese ceramic ginger grater but it’s a unitasker that takes up space in my drawer. Simply put, the microplane grater is an indispensable tool in my kitchen, and I use it for everything, especially ginger. Hate peeling ginger? It’s an awkward affair with all those bumps, crevices and curves. Yes, you could use a spoon, but pssst….here’s a secret….I don’t always peel it. If you use a microplane grater, most of the peel stays out of the way. Because the ginger is so fine, you’ll have to take extra care not to burn. Start with a wok at medium-high heat. When oil is hot but not smoking, add the grated ginger and stir fry for 15 seconds. Turn heat to high and immediately add your stir fry ingredients. Sometimes, I don’t add my ginger and garlic until the middle of the stir-fry process, to ensure that the delicate aromatics do not burn.
  • As a condiment: Sometimes I love sprinkling fresh ginger threads on top of my dumplings, steamed chicken, noodle soup or vegetables. I want the fresh, crisp, tingly sensation – but if the ginger piece is too thick, it’s just too strong and fibrous. If you are REALLY good with a knife and have the patience of a sloth-watcher, slice the ginger as thin as you can. But I’m not patient, nor really that deft with sharp, pointy objects. I cut off all the little knobs protruding from the main body of the ginger. I just want a nice 3″ smooth piece (save the nubs for #1 above). Peel ginger skin with vegetable peeler. Now continue using the vegetable peeler and peel paper-thin slices of the ginger root. After you’ve got a pile of slices, line them up and use your chef’s knife to cut further into ginger “threads.” You’ll end up with fairy angel thin slices that you can use fresh, uncooked.


PBS Telethon

One of the coolest things I’ve done this month was to see the live production of PBS’ fundraising telethon.Β  This is the legendary Jack Perkins and my friend Jen who is the producer of his Emmy Award winning show, the Gulf Coast Journal with Jack Perkins. Jen produced the lovely segment that I was featured in.

This is where all the magic happens. Look at all those buttons! I just want to push them ALL!!!!

Nice, expensive cameras that have long, thick cables, perfect for tripping 5’2″ Chinese girl with 3″ heels.

Support your local PBS and donate!

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Comments 125

  1. denver seo

    I found your website perfect for my needs. It contains wonderful and helpful posts. I have read most of them and got a lot from them.

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  3. Bob Fairlane

    What about putting some ginger pieces in a $10 electric food chopper? Will it beat or blend or chop them up enough to make the fruit-roll-up thing for the freezer?

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  6. Natalie

    I’m guilty of using the jar variety and you are right, it smells nothing like the real thing!

    On my not so lazy days, I will take a batch of fresh ginger, puree it in a chopper/blender and then fill the compartments in an ice-cube tray for freezing. Voila! Single serve ginger cubes!

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  9. Monica

    Your students say peeling ginger is a pain… Ask them to try this: peel the ginger using a small spoon/teaspoon. It’s amazing! You can peel ginger so fast and effortlessly. My friend say it on some cooking show and passed along the tip. πŸ™‚

  10. q33

    Great tips! Can’t find the long U shaped channel-looking micro grater in amazon or google. Please help. Thanks.

  11. Baixar Sertanejo

    I’m guilty of using the jar variety and you are right, it smells nothing like the real thing!
    On my not so lazy days, I will take a batch of fresh ginger, puree it in a chopper/blender and then fill the compartments in an ice-cube tray for freezing. Voila! Single serve ginger cubes!

  12. Kathy Daly

    Great tips grating fresh ginger! Freezing, etc… Very helpful, also Using Vegetable peeler! I would not have ever thought of that one! Thanks for all the great tips!

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  14. Sue

    Thank you so much for this lesson! I’m new to ginger and am using it for a chronic nausea condition. So far, I’ve only used ginger paste, eaten straight from the jar, because I haven’t known how to handle the real thing. As you know, there’s a lot of information online but your’s is much more concise, clear and informative. First, can I grate enough for a day or so and keep it in the fridge? So far I’ve only played with small pieces, not enough to grate a lot and freeze. Also, do you have an easy recipe for ginger candy, including how to make and store it and how long it will last? It needs to be something simple that doesn’t require a candy thermometer! Thank you so much and God bless you!

  15. David Hochstettler

    Thank you for the information. I have tried peeling ginger with a peeler and cutting it up into little pieces. After reading your website I just scrubbed the outside of it with a vegetable brush and cut it up in marble size pieces and threw them in a food processor. It came out grated real nice. I put 50 grams per ziplock sandwich bag (about 1/2 cup per bag) and flattened the bag out so it was about a single layer of ginger and put it in the freezer. I put the little stuff in the food processor that was left and shook it out over my oatmeal. It
    was good! When It freezes I will just crush the ginger in the bag and sprinkle it over my food . Thank you for the information.

  16. Bill Banche

    I use ginger root for pain. (They say It’s a natural analgesic, with no side effects. & they are certainly right about the pain releaving part.)
    for killing cancer, (they say it kills cancer three ways.)
    and for the lovely taste.
    Thanks for these tips. πŸ™‚
    mostly I’ve been JUICING ginger root and putting it in everything.
    This reminds me I can eat it other ways, like I used to.

    I buy it 3 to 5 pounds at a time.

  17. Julie McLain

    I was only looking for easy storage for my new massive purchase (5#) of ginger, I came across so much more here. Thank you. Great tips and insight to what I can use my ginger for and how to compensate in areas where I lack certain equipment. Comments are always a good help too, Bill Banche, I did not know ginger was good for pain. That will truly help me, thank you. Also, I would be upset about the “suffocating ginger” even not pregnant. πŸ™‚

  18. Tara

    After you’ve frozen the ginger, can you grate it while it’s frozen or is it better to thaw it out completely?

    Thanks for the awesome tips!

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