Ginger and ginger root have many medicinal and health benefits, and it’s easy to grow yourself if that’s what you decide to do.
Since it’s fresh, you’ll need to know what to do with it after it’s ready to be used, and storing ginger will be one of your concerns.
The length of time between “harvesting” and using your ginger can vary, but as a general rule, you can keep fresh ginger around for several weeks if you store it properly. Otherwise, it will wrinkle up and lose all of its positive benefits within days.
First Things First
Before we get to the do’s and don’t’s of storing fresh ginger, you need to know what to look for when you’re buying ginger in the store or farmer’s market.
Most people do not grow ginger themselves, so you’ll need a quick lesson in how to choose the right ginger:
- First of all, ginger should have smooth skin and be firm to the touch.
- It should also be a bit heavy.
- Never buy ginger that is soft or looks moldy or wrinkly.
The Best Way to Store Ginger
So, you want to know how to store ginger root properly – well, it isn’t difficult if you keep a few important tips in mind.
- The best way to store fresh unpeeled ginger root is to take the whole, unpeeled root and place it in a resealable plastic bag.
Push the air out of the bag and keep it in the crisper section of the refrigerator.
- Peeled or cut ginger should be stored the same way, but first you have to make sure you blot it dry with a paper towel because dampness is not its friend.
Once ginger is peeled or cut, it isn’t going to last as long as the whole ginger root does; nevertheless, you can still store it just like you would unpeeled, whole ginger.
- You can also take fresh ginger and soak it in a jar of vodka or sherry to “preserve” it, but most people prefer the refrigerator method because it is more practical.
Once the alcohol starts to look cloudy, it’s time to remove the ginger and throw it away.
While there are various methods of storing ginger, keep in mind that each storage method is going to affect how long the ginger lasts.
Just How Long Does Ginger Root Last?
These are some general guidelines to follow:
- When sitting out, fresh ginger lasts for roughly one week.
- When refrigerated, fresh ginger lasts for one month.
- When frozen, fresh ginger lasts for three months.
- If you’re working with crystallized ginger, it can last two to three years if you keep it at room temperature.
Related: How Long Does Ginger Last?
But the best part is, the right ginger storage container is simply a resealable storage bag, so it’s quite easy to store ginger properly whether it’s fresh or already cut.
Where to store ginger – whether at room temperature or in the freezer or refrigerator – is just as important as how to store it.
How about Other Storage Rules?
Whole ginger is one thing, but if you want to know how to store shredded ginger or even minced ginger, the rules are just as simple.
Basically, ginger that is peeled and either shredded, diced, or minced has about a one-week lifespan, but only if you keep it in the refrigerator.
All this talk about putting ginger in the fridge or freezer brings up another point: can ginger be stored at room temperature? As a general rule, fresh ginger won’t last long when kept at room temperature.
You can, however, plant it in a small pot and keep it on the windowsill. There, it will keep for a long time because it continues to grow. When you need fresh ginger, simply lift up the root, cut off what you need, then replant it. Keep the plant watered and you won’t ever run out of ginger.
This doesn’t mean you can store ginger in water. Soil and water are alright, though, and keep in mind that fresh ginger will only keep at room temperature for about a week.
Now let’s talk about how to freeze ginger. If you want to know how to store whole ginger in the freezer, the only thing you have to remember is to store ginger in an airtight bag before placing it there.
Freezing ginger extends the life of the item, and it’s easy to keep the ginger in the refrigerator, even if you intend to use it periodically then replace it. For instance, if you want to make a nice cup of ginger root tea, you can remove the ginger from the freezer bag, scrape off as much as you need, then place it back in the freezer when you’re done.
You can also freeze shredded or chopped ginger in an ice tray then once frozen, keep the frozen ginger cubes in a freezer bag. When in need, just take a piece or two of the frozen ginger and use as required.
Taking Good Care of Your Ginger
If you want to know how to tell if ginger is bad, here are a few things to look for:
- A texture that is moist or soft.
- A moldy appearance wherever the ginger has been cut.
- Edges that are darkened if the ginger has been peeled or cut.
Since there are health risks associated with ginger that has already gone bad, it’s good to become familiar with what to look for when you’re checking out your own ginger root.
Uses of Ginger
There are tons of uses for this spice, and ginger tea is one of the most popular ones.
Ginger has a lot of health benefits, but two significant ones are its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to soothe upset stomachs.
Many pregnant women drink ginger-infused tea for morning sickness, and if you’re curious how to mince ginger or shred it so you can use it for teas or in other recipes, it’s a lot easier than you think.
To mince your ginger, start by peeling it, then cut it into disk-like shapes. Then, place the blade of the knife over the disks and press down on it with your fist, and when that is done, turn your knife upright and rock it back and forth against the disks. Keep working at it until it is minced enough for your taste.
Of course, there are other ways to learn how to use fresh ginger because it is a very popular ingredient in numerous dishes and recipes.
Now we’ve learned how to store ginger in cold storage via fridge and freezer, but what about how to store ginger tea? If you’re like most people, you’ll simply wait until you want a cup then make the tea fresh at that point. Otherwise, the ginger that you mince or shred will not be fresh by the time you make the tea. Instead of making the “tea” and saving it, it’s best to wait until you’re ready to drink the tea.
There are other ways to keep ginger longer, including making a ginger-garlic paste (check out this ginger-garlic paste recipe) that usually lasts for weeks, and if you do some research online, you can find a lot more invaluable information.
Final Thoughts on How to Store Ginger
Ginger is a very potent spice with many health benefits and uses.
Only a small portion is needed for small-family meals. Therefore knowing how to store ginger properly is necessary when you buy a huge ginger root or when you have left-over ginger pieces.
This will ensure that you don’t waste any ginger by allowing it to go bad due to poor storage practices.
But should you have any ginger that has gone bad, composting it is a more preferred way of using up the ginger waste rather than throwing it away.