Ginger is a must when making Christmas spice cookies or fresh stir-fry dishes. Jar and powder options are available, sure, but there is nothing quite like the taste of fresh ginger to take any recipe to the next level.
As a naturally spicy and warm ingredient, ginger also comes with some pretty impressive health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties(Opens in a new window) which can aid in a slew of health-related areas.
But as delicious as it is to include fresh ginger in your meals, it can be difficult to navigate how to peel, slice and store ginger if you’ve never used it before (and even if you have). If you’re looking for a way to work more fresh ginger into your cooking, follow these tips on how to get the most out of this amazing root.
How to Peel Ginger
The first step to including ginger in your dishes is to peel it. There’s more than one way to do this, and different chefs recommend different techniques. The most straightforward way to peel ginger is to use a hand-held swivel peeler to take off the fibrous skin and slice away any gnarly knots along the root. A sturdy grip and swiveling twin blades make it easy to cut through tough skin, but note that using a vegetable peeler can take off more than desired if you press too hard, so make sure you’re applying just enough pressure to remove the skin and nothing more.
If you’re not going to use the entire ginger root, only peel the skin from the part of the plant you’re planning to use, as leaving the skin on the unused ginger will help keep the root fresh longer.
How to Cut Ginger
As you’ve probably discovered if you’ve made it past the peeling stage, ginger is fibrous. If you give the root a closer look, you’ll see that the fibers run in the direction of ginger’s lobes. Therefore, it’s best to chop the ginger root into “coins,” meaning width-wise across the grain of the fibers. This will make for a much easier cut.
Another top tip: It may be helpful to cut the root in half lengthwise first so that you can lay the flat side down on a cutting board for smoother and more stable chopping. This will help prevent slippage that can lead to a seriously nasty knife injury.
How to Mince Ginger
Different recipes call for different piece sizes. If the recipe specifically asks for “minced” ginger, the best way to do this is to first slice the root into coins, then stack two or three of your coins on top of each other and slice these into matchsticks (also known as the classic Julienne cut). Your ginger matchsticks can then be bunched together or lined up to be cut further into small cubes. End result? You have minced ginger that can be used in a variety of dishes.
How to Grate Ginger
Grating ginger is probably the most straightforward of all cutting methods, as it solely requires an etched ginger and garlic grater. This grater is a must-have for grating ginger because of the unique features it offers, including an etched stainless steel surface with sharp, high teeth to help grate fibrous ingredients. Plus, this grater contains a soft handle, which provides a comfortable grip for your hand. Finally, the snap-on cover can be used as a scraper, to avoid wasting even the tiniest morsel of ginger.
As with slicing, you’ll want to grate across the grain of the ginger fibers since there will be less resistance, making the process infinitely easier. If you’re not sure if you’re grating across the grain, simply turn your ginger root clockwise as you grate until you feel an easier glide.
Given the intense flavor, you probably don’t need that much of the root when you’re grating for certain dishes. It’s a great idea to keep the remaining ginger root wrapped in shrink wrap in the freezer (or fridge, if you’ll use it again soon) so that you can always have fresh ginger on hand for dishes.
How to Store Ginger
If you’re not going to use your ginger root right away, consider placing the unpeeled root in a smart seal glass container and storing it in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. These containers lock in flavor while locking out moisture so your ginger will last longer.
Once your ginger is cut, any leftover root should also be stored in an airtight container or plastic wrap and placed in the crisper part of the fridge. Just be sure to enjoy it within 2-3 weeks to avoid any waste.
If you wish to freeze ginger, your first step is to thoroughly wash and dry the root. Store your cut ginger in an airtight food storage container. The beauty of the smart seal containers is that they can withstand cold temperatures without cracking the glass. Generally, you can freeze ginger for up to 3-4 months. Once you are ready to enjoy your frozen ginger, simply put it in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds to thaw it before you use it. If you are making a smoothie recipe, you can skip the thaw and toss the frozen ginger directly into your blender jar.
How to Cook With Ginger
There is no right or wrong way to cook with ginger. And don’t stop at food! Ginger can be juiced, added to smoothies, and even steeped in boiled water to be enjoyed as a tea.
Maple and ginger candied yams make a hearty side dish (especially in the fall) that really harnesses the power of minced ginger.
And who doesn’t love the fortune cookies we find at the bottom of the Chinese takeout bag? These homemade ginger fortune cookies double down on the ginger flavor without overpowering the cookie. For anyone in search of a just-sweet-enough dessert to satisfy an after-dinner craving, fortune cookies make a great option.
Finally, ginger cookies are a staple in so many households, especially around the holidays when you are craving something warm and wholesome. These easy soft gingerdoodle cookies combine the best aspects of snickerdoodles and ginger snaps, and they are sure to be the hit of any holiday party.
Lest you think ginger has to be all about sweet side dishes and desserts, classic stir-fries often call for the spicy root. The great thing about stir fry is that which vegetables you include is entirely up to you, so you can make this healthy dish cater to your specific tastes and nutritional needs.
One of the quickest ways to boost flavor in your favorite recipe is by adding ginger, a root that boasts a host of health benefits as well. If you are ready to start cooking with ginger, be sure to snag an etched ginger and garlic grater to make your ginger prepping much simpler.