What is ginger root?
Ginger root (Zingiber officinale) is the rhizome or horizontal underground stem of a flowering plant that originated in Southeast Asia which is commonly used as spice and medicine. Ginger is one of the most useful and yet delicious spices and it is closely related to turmeric, cardamom, and galangal.
Ginger root is used in baking, cooking, or even making tea out of it. Ginger can be used fresh, dried, in powder form, as juice or oil. In the United States, ginger is commonly presented as powder form and is mostly used for baking.
Fresh ginger root, on the other hand, is a very common ingredient in Asia’s recipes, and they work well with meat and vegetable dishes, especially with seafood. It helps to balance out the strong seafood tastes from the sea creatures on the plate with a fresh ginger aroma.
What is the reason(s) to store ginger root?
Fresh ginger root is an extremely useful ingredient in all recipes. It adds a mild warming fresh aroma to sweet or savory dishes. You will find that ginger roots retain most of their warm spiciness from their juicy flesh while it is fresh. Dried or powdered form ginger has less of that. Thus, you want to store ginger root fresh due to its usefulness and fresh aroma.
How do you store ginger root at home?
Before you even store ginger root at home, it is important to start with purchasing fresh ginger from the market or grocery store. Make sure to buy heavy and firm ginger roots with smooth skin. Avoid ginger roots with bruises and blemishes. Also, try to avoid buy ginger root which appears to be dried and old, for which they are wrinkled, less firm, and look dry.
There are several ways to store ginger root at home. It is recommended to store fresh ginger roots (pat dry using a paper towel) by putting them in a sealed plastic bag and store them in the refrigerator. You should always store them as a whole chunk rather than breaking them into smaller pieces. This will reduce the overall surface area of the fresh ginger flesh so that it can retain its juicy moisture more effectively.
For those who want to shortcut the usage of ginger, peel off the skin and mince them into fine dice, then store them inside an airtight container and place it inside the fridge or freezer. By prepare them earlier, you can use the ginger dice quickly every time you need them.
Where do you store ginger root at home?
As mentioned earlier, put the fresh unpeeled ginger roots in a sealed plastic bag or zip bag and store them in the fridge should be the best option for it to last fresh longer. The moisture of the ginger will evaporate if you store them at a higher temperature and most likely turn into a dry and less aroma ginger root.
Do you peel off the ginger root skin before storing it?
It depends on how and when you are going to use them and the way of storing ginger root. If you are preparing minced ginger for the next few meals, obviously you must peel off the skin before mincing them and store them in the fridge or freezer. If you are storing fresh ginger root as a big chunk of rhizome itself (likely to use them much later), it is recommended not to peel off the skin of fresh ginger before storing. The fresh ginger will likely last longer with the skin on because the outer skin layer helps to maintain the moisture of the ginger. Only peel off whenever you are going to use them.
Can you store ginger root at room temperature?
Yes, you can store fresh ginger root at room temperature, it will last for about a week. Make sure that the place to store the fresh ginger is not too hot as the moisture from the ginger root will evaporate and leaving behind a dry ginger root. On the other hand, make sure the outer skin of the ginger is pat dry before you store them at room temperature. Excessive moisture on the surface of the ginger promotes bacteria and makes it easy for it to rot. The ginger root will get soft and mushy if it is in contact with moisture for a long time.
However, storing ginger root at room temperature is not recommended unless you are able to finish the whole chunk of fresh ginger root in a week’s time.
Can you store ginger root in the fridge?
Yes, you should store ginger root in the refrigerator, and it will last for 1 or 2 months with the skin unpeeled. Due to the low temperature of the crisper drawer in the fridge, the ginger will not dry out as quickly as you put them at room temperature. Ginger does not emit ethylene gas which could make other ethylene-sensitive fruit or vegetable ripen faster, nor is it sensitive to it. Thus, you can store ginger root together with other fruits and vegetables in the fridge.
Can you store ginger root in the freezer?
Yes, you can store ginger root in the freezer, and it will stay fresh for up to 6 months. You should store fresh ginger root peeled or unpeeled in the freezer if you do not anticipate using ginger frequently. You can also pre-cut them into small pieces and pack them in a freezer-safe bag before storing them in the freezer so that it will be easier for your cooking later.
Can you store ginger root in water?
No, it is not recommended to store ginger root in water as it will make it soft and mushy after some time. The fragrance or aroma of the ginger root will also decrease as they dilute into the bottle of water.
Can you store ginger root in alcohol?
Another way of preserving ginger roots for a longer period (6-12 months) is to store them in alcohol like vodka (at least 40% of alcohol content). Make sure to peel the outer skin of the ginger and cut off any bruise or damaged portion of the ginger root to avoid any contamination during the storage period. Cut the peeled ginger root into small pieces before placing them into a jar of alcohol and into the refrigerator, this way, it will be easier to use them when needed. The only downside of this methodology is that you will need alcohol and the stored ginger roots will have an alcoholic taste.
How long to store ginger root?
It depends on the preservation methodology as mentioned above, a fresh ginger root from the market can last for about 1 week at room temperature, 1 or 2 months in the crisper drawer in the fridge, up to 6 months in the freezer, and more than 6 months by submerging the ginger root in alcohol and store in the refrigerator.
What is the best way to store ginger root for the long term?
To store ginger roots for the long term, especially when you are not planning to use them frequently, you should store ginger roots in the freezer. The ginger root will stay fresh for 6-12 months in the freezer.