From tummy troubles to baked goods, fresh ginger has many uses in the kitchen. It's packed with flavor, and a little bit goes a long way. If you've ever bought fresh ginger root, you know that you can spend 50 cents on a 2-inch piece of ginger that will last for weeks — but how do you store ginger to make sure that it stays as fresh as possible?
How to store fresh ginger
Before you pick up any piece of ginger from the grocery store, choose one carefully. Look for a piece of ginger that is quite firm to the touch and has smooth skin; any soft spots or slightly wrinkly skin is a sign that it's already past its peak.
There are a few ways to go about storing pieces of ginger, and fortunately, they're all pretty easy! You can store unpeeled ginger at room temperature or in the refrigerator in an airtight zip-top bag or container and tuck it in the crisper drawer; if stored properly, fresh ginger can last for weeks. If you have already peeled the ginger, it must be stored in the fridge to prevent oxidation. Blot the peeled side of the ginger on a paper towel to remove any excess moisture before sticking it in the fridge.
For even longer-lasting fresh ginger, pop it in the freezer! The same method applies for storing ginger root in the freezer; just make sure to use a freezer-safe bag. But bonus: Like cheese, frozen ginger is actually easier to grate for recipes. Win-win!
How to pickle ginger
Another way to make use of fresh ginger is to pickle it! Molly Yeh shared her recipe with us, and it's about as easy as pickling gets. All you need is a large knob of ginger, sugar, water, rice vinegar, and salt. Peel the skin of the ginger root with the back of a spoon or a Y-shaped vegetable peeler (my personal favorite kitchen tool!) and thinly slice it on a mandoline. Place in a sterilized jar. Now all you have to do is cook the pickling liquid! Combine all of the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil; as soon as it boils, pour the mixture into the jar over the sliced ginger. Let it cool slightly before covering, then refrigerate. Serve it as soon as 24 hours later or keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Recipe: Pickled Ginger
- 1 large knob of ginger (about 6 inches long)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Rinse the ginger and then use a spoon to gently scrape off the skin. Slice it very thinly, ideally with a mandolin or vegetable peeler to get the slices extra thin, but a sharp knife will work, too. You should have around 1 cup of sliced ginger. Place it in a sterilized jar.
- In a small saucepan, stir together the sugar, water, rice vinegar, and salt, so that the sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and then pour the mixture over the ginger. Let cool slightly and then cover and refrigerate overnight before serving. It will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks.