There’s one very popular ingredient in Singapore, commonly used in the kitchen, that could add a subtle, warming hint of spice to almost all dishes that are sweet and savory.
Could you make a guess which ingredient that is? Ginger!
Fresh ginger (or old ginger), is one of those irreplaceable ingredients that is a necessity in every kitchen which you should always have on hand. It is therefore important to learn how to store ginger, not only for it to last longer, but also for it to retain as many health benefits as possible.
Though you may be thinking: Can’t I just substitute it with the powdered (ground) version of the spice, since it can be stored indefinitely?
Ground ginger may be a common kitchen staple and is relatively more convenient to use than the fresh one, there’s simply no competition with the counterpart, mainly due to the difference in properties and flavors.
Hence, it’s important to learn exactly how to store ginger for the best results. With just a few ingredients storage know-how, you’ll be able to keep your ginger fresh for weeks!
Table of Content
- What is Ginger
- How to Store Ginger
What is Ginger?
Ginger is a flowering plant whose rhizome (or swollen underground stem), is widely used as a spice and folk medicine. It has a pungent aroma with a woody flavor. It also has a zesty, sweet yet warm, and spicy taste to it.
Compared to blue ginger (galangal), ginger has a slightly brown outer layer with yellow to tan inner flesh.
Due to its unique exotic aroma, it pairs well with baked goods, while adding the right amount of heat and zing to savory main dishes.
When added to beverages, such as honey-ginger tea or masala chai-tea in Singapore, ginger gives out a spicy and warm flavor that soothes our throats right from the start. This explains why honey-ginger tea is always recommended for those who have a sore throat.
How to Store Ginger
Before you start storing your freshly bought ginger, decide how long you’d like to store them for then follow these tips below to keep them fresh!
This is because with each ingredient storage method comes a different length of freshness duration. These four methods include:
- Selection Phase
- Refrigerator Storage
- Over on the Kitchen Counter
How to Store Ginger: Selection phase
Want to keep fresh ingredients for as long as possible? It all starts with selecting the best ginger. When you’re at any of the local markets in Singapore, always look for firm pieces of ginger root that have a smooth unwrinkled outer peel.
If you see wrinkles on the ginger, avoid buying them as it’s already beginning to deteriorate. Be sure to check for signs of mold as well!
How to Store Ginger: Refrigerator Storage
Freshness retention: up to 2 months
What you’ve got to do first is, place your ginger in an airtight freezer bag to maximize the storage time; press out most of the air and place it in the crisper drawer in your refrigerator.
But why airtight freezer bag?
Keeping fresh unpeeled ginger in an airtight freezer bag helps keep out oxygen and moisture, the two variables that will cause ginger to mold.
What to do if you’re short on freezer bags?
Don’t worry! You could still place it in the refrigerator in a brown paper bag that the little knob of ginger came home in. With this method, it should be able to keep for up to two months!
The same applies to a piece of ginger root that you’ve cut off: just wrap it tightly in a paper bag or freezer bag and pop it into the refrigerator.
How to Store Ginger: Over on the Kitchen Counter
Freshness retention: 1-5 days
If you’re planning on using the entire ginger root within a few days, then you can store it in a cool, dark place, such as on your kitchen counter away from the sun.
Do not leave cut peeled ginger roots over on the counter if you still want them to retain that strong aroma and flavor!
How to Store Ginger: Freezing
Freshness retention: up to 12 months
To store ginger indefinitely, place it in a freezer bag and stick the root in the freezer with the skin on. In this way, the ginger root is protected from freezer burn.
Whenever you need fresh ginger for a recipe, pull the ginger out and grate what you’d need! Return the rest of the roots back to the freezer. There’s no need to thaw the frozen ginger first as it’s a lot easier to peel!
Ginger stored using this method can last for many months and even up to a year!
What about Peeled or Minced Ginger? How to Store them?
Freshness retention: up to 7-9 days
If you went a little overboard and peeled more ginger root than you needed, don’t worry! It can still be saved and stored! Just wrap the peeled root in a plastic bag (pushing most air out) and refrigerate for up to a week!
For leftover minced ginger, it can be refrigerated in a tightly covered jar for up to a week.
Can I Store These Ginger Roots in Alcohol?
So, you’ve tried storing ginger in a zip-top bag (or freezer bag), but that doesn’t keep it fresh for long. You’ve also tried freezing it, except that it’s hard to slice and dice unless you grate it.
So what’s the ideal solution? Yes, store the peeled ginger in alcohol.
You can store the extra piece by placing it in a small glass jar and adding enough alcohol to completely cover it up. Screw the top on the jar and store it in the refrigerator.
To use the ginger: Remove it from the alcohol, pat dry and grate, slice, or dice. Put it back into the jar after use, making sure that it’s completely submerged!
Using this method, the ginger roots should keep for several weeks up to 8 weeks. However, toss it out when the alcohol starts to look cloudy – that’s usually an indication that the roots are moldy.
To revise, here are the 5 reasons why you should store fresh ginger in alcohol:
- No more waste
- The ginger retains its intense flavor and crisp texture for a long time
- You can grate, dice, and even slice the amount of ginger you need and put it back in the jar
- Slash prep time because you don’t have to peel ginger every time you want to cook with it.
- Over time, the alcohol takes on the gingery zing and potentially turns into a cocktail
Storing ingredients is as important as selecting them, which in this case is storing ginger. Ginger is known for its warming hint of flavor and zing taste profile, but most importantly is its health benefits that include high antioxidant properties, fighting off inflammation, chronic diseases like heart disease, and many more.
To retain those health benefits for as long as possible, it’s best to look into the storage methods of ginger that you’re incorporating into your daily life.
Follow these storage tips and tricks and you’d be guaranteed a longer lifespan of ginger on your hands!
Let me know in the comment box down below whether these methods work for you!