Is fresh ginger a staple in your house, or do you automatically go for ground ginger because you are unsure how to use that funky-looking “knob?”
There is absolutely nothing wrong with using dried or ground herbs, but once you experience the freshness and flavor of fresh herbs such as ginger and garlic, it makes it extremely worth it to figure out how to include "fresh" in your cooking routine.
And, we want to show you how easy it can be to do just that with fresh ginger!
What is ginger or ginger root?
Ginger is a flowering plant that originated in Asia. It is a perennial plant that grows to about 2 feet tall, and has stalks with white or yellow flowers. The fragrant “root” (technically called the “rhizome”) grows underground and is used around the world as a spice, either in fresh form or dried and ground into a powder.
Ginger is considered by many to be the most widely used and available herbal remedy in the world! It is within the same family as turmeric and cardamom and it has beneficial anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.
Whether you are using fresh or dried ginger, both provide huge health benefits! It provides fiber and potassium and is loaded with important vitamins and minerals. This would explain why ginger has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years! Here are just some of the benefits:
- Soothes digestive issues
- Alleviates nausea, and can help with morning sickness
- Treats motion sickness
- Reduces fever
- Calms coughs and can help with respiratory issues
- Reduces inflammation
- Lowers blood sugar and reduces risk for heart disease (2015 study)
- Relieves muscle aches and pains
- Lowers cholesterol (2008 study)
How do you pick the best one?
There will be a rough patch where the section of the root was cut off. If you can, choose a piece that has fewer knobs or nubs…this will make it easier if you decide to peel it.
How do you store fresh ginger?
It will be fine on your kitchen counter for a few days, but it will stay fresh for a month or longer if stored in the refrigerator.
We think the best option is to peel it and store it in the freezer, and then it will last for six months or more. Watch this quick tip from Zonya on how to get the most out of your fresh ginger!
How do you peel fresh ginger?
In many Asian markets, you can find younger ginger, which is harvested earlier and tends to be more tender and sweet. You can typically leave the skin on this younger ginger. Most of the ginger in mainstream U.S. supermarkets is the more mature variety, meaning the skin can be tough and fibrous. For this reason, peeling is recommended. It may look intimidating, but peeling ginger is easier than you think!
Peel with a Spoon!
Use a spoon (teaspoon size is ideal) to scrape the skin from the ginger root. This will let you remove the skin while retaining most of the ginger. Using a spoon also lets you easily peel around the knobs and crevices. Or, if you prefer, you can also use a vegetable peeler or knife, but use caution, with these you can easily cut more than just the ginger!
Our favorite way to grate fresh ginger is to use a microplane zester!
This will let you have superfine, almost snowflake-like, grated ginger ready to add to your recipe.
How do you use ginger?
Ginger can add incredible flavor to soups, stir-fries, salad dressings and a wide variety of both sweet and savory dishes. It is used extensively in Indian and Asian cuisine. Using fresh ginger will add the best flavor and will add great depth to your meals.
If you just need a very small amount of ginger in a recipe, or you don't have fresh ginger on hand, you can substitute with ground ginger.
A good rule of thumb is 1 Tbsp of fresh ginger = 1/8 tsp to 1/4 tsp of ground ginger.
Here are just a few great-tasting ideas to add this powerful herb to your meals!
- One-Pot Braised Chicken with Tomatoes (one of Zonya's favorites!)
- Stir Fried Greens with Jalapeño and Ginger
- Spicy Orange Chicken
- Scallion Kimchi
- Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken
- Vegetarian Tikka Masala
- Comforting Chicken Curry Soup
- Butternut Squash and Apple Soup
What is your favorite way to use fresh ginger?