I like ginger and find I’m using it more and more as my repertoire of dishes expands from the traditional European cuisine I grew up with. But, I’m still at that point where I choose the smallest ginger root when at the store and even then end up with shriveled, or worse, black moldy ginger in the back of my fridge.
I also find peeling and grating ginger a fiddly business that adds to the time of prepping home cooked meals. I’m sure I can peel a pot of potatoes faster than I can grate a tablespoon of ginger!
But not anymore. I’ve discovered I can save time and reduce ginger waste simply by freezing it. What?! Save time and reduce waste, tell me more!
Freezing ginger is a terrific way to store it if you’re like me and don’t use fresh ginger fast enough. By pre-grating one big batch, you’ll also save time on those busy weeknights when you’re trying to toss together a quick meal. It’s just like using frozen onions or pre-mixed spice blends.
What happens to flavor and nutrient content when you freeze ginger?
Just like any fresh food, freezing ginger will decrease its quality to some extent. The research I could find on the topic indicated that “whole ginger could be stored for 2 or 9 months at −5 or −20 °C, respectively, maintaining a good overall quality.” In case you’re wondering, our home freezers are somewhere around -18°C, so we should get good overall quality frozen whole ginger for almost 9 months. That sounds much better than having wrinkly, poor quality “fresh” ginger or having to resort to ginger powder.
With this information on hand, here are four ways to freeze ginger. The only thing you’ll have to decide is whether you prefer the convenience of pre-measured, ready-to-use grated ginger or the slightly higher quality of whole frozen ginger.
Freezing Whole Ginger
Place ginger root in freezer bag, remove as much air as possible and freeze. To use, remove ginger from freezer, peel and grate as much as you need (no need to thaw). Return the remainder back to the freezer.
This method retains the best quality, but will require peeling and grating each time you need a piece. The good news is that grating frozen ginger is easier than grating fresh ginger – there are fewer stringy bits.
Freezing Ginger Pieces with Peel On
Cut ginger root with peel into recipe sized (1 -2 inch) pieces. Place in freezer bag, remove as much air as possible and freeze. To use, remove a piece of ginger from freezer, peel and use as required without thawing.
Peel and slice ginger. Place in freezer bag in single, flat layer (so they won’t freeze together into one big lump), remove as much air as possible and freeze. To use, remove as many pieces as needed, return the remainder back to the freezer.
Freezing Grated Ginger
Peel and grate ginger. Place in small, teaspoon or tablespoon sized piles (or whatever amount you’re likely to use in a recipe) on a cookie sheet or cutting board lined with wax paper. Cover lightly with another piece of wax paper and freeze for 1 to 2 hours until solid. Remove ginger piles from wax paper and place in freezer bag. To use, remove as much as needed and use in recipe. For most recipes, thawing won’t be necessary.
While experimenting with freezing ginger, I also learned a thing or two about peeling ginger and some of the changes that occur as ginger ages. I’ll be sharing those posts shortly so stay tuned for more exciting ginger posts!