How to Freeze Ginger Properly

Ginger Root
Ginger Root. Maximilian Stock Ltd./Photolibrary/Getty Images

Fresh ginger root adds a unique and essential burst of flavor to many dishes. Using boring old ground ginger just doesn't have the same impact. However, fresh ginger root won't keep forever at room temperature or in the refrigerator. You'll often find it has gone bad, shriveling into a desiccated lump or even rotting. This is especially true if you cut or grated part of it already. So, what's the solution?

To preserve your fresh ginger, try freezing it instead.

What You Need to Freeze Fresh Ginger Root

  • Fresh ginger root
  • A knife
  • A freezer-safe bag or container
  • A marker

Here's How to Freeze Fresh Ginger Root

Start with the freshest ginger root that you can find. You want to choose pieces that are plump, firm, unwrinkled and fragrant. These will have the best flavor. If your usual grocery store doesn't have the best ginger, try shopping at a specialty market, where there's more demand for it. Asian and Indian markets are a good bet.

The simplest way to freeze ginger is to just seal it up tight in a freezer-safe bag or container. You don't even have to peel or chop it first. Just pop the whole root in the freezer, and it'll be there whenever you need it.

If you bought a large ginger root, or you already know how you're going to use your ginger, it's perfectly fine to cut it up into smaller pieces before you freeze it.

In fact, you may even want to freeze it in recipe-size portions to save time later. Be sure to label your packages with the contents and amount, so you don't forget what's inside. Things aren't as easy to identify once they've been frozen.

Tips for Using Frozen Fresh Ginger

  1. To use your ginger, simply remove a piece from the freezer, and grate as much as you need. There's no need to thaw it first. In fact, frozen ginger is actually easier to grate than fresh. You can return the rest of it to the freezer, if you don't use it all for one recipe. Just be sure to wrap it up tight again.
  1. Peeling ginger with a vegetable peeler or knife can be difficult and lead to a lot of waste (not to mention slipping and peeling your fingers instead!)  Try peeling it with a spoon, instead. It's easier, and  you're less likely to injure yourself.
  2. If you don't have any freezer space to spare, here are some other ways that you can store ginger to prolong its life.

Storage Time: As with any frozen foods, it's best to use your ginger within six months. You can safely use it after that date, but it probably won't be quite as flavorful.

In a Pinch ...

You can substitute one form of ginger for another. Here's how to make a good ginger substitute when you don't have the type of ginger that your recipe calls for.

More Ingredient Substitutes to Know