Even if you only purchase a minimal amount, if you don’t learn how to preserve fresh ginger, it will either dry out or start molding before you can finish it. Like most fresh foods, when stored correctly, it can last for several weeks in the refrigerator, but if you take the time to preserve ginger root, it can last even longer.
When storing ginger root in the fridge, wrap the unpeeled root inside a paper towel and then place it inside a plastic bag. Unless you cook with fresh ginger every day, chances are you end up purchasing a more substantial chunk of the root than you will end up using.
Preserving ginger allows you to have a ready supply of fresh ginger so you can add that burst of savory flavor to your favorite Asian recipes that ground ginger can’t match. Luckily, there are several preserving methods you can use to preserve fresh ginger based on how you wish to use it in the future.
Amazingly Easy Ways to Preserve Ginger
If you have excess ginger after using it in your favorite Asian dish, you may wonder, “Does ginger go bad?” Unfortunately, if you don’t store it properly, ginger can spoil.
How long does fresh ginger last? It depends on your storage method. Let’s examine the different ways to store ginger to see which you prefer.
You can preserve all types of fruits and vegetables according to how you plan to use them later. The best way to preserve tomatoes depends on if you need tomato juice, sauce, or tomato chunks. The same applies to ginger. Check out our ginger preservation ideas.
Freezing is the Best Way to Preserve Ginger
Although freezing ginger is the best way to store a fresh ginger root, you have several different ways you can go about it. Many people prefer to chop the root into smaller pieces, so they only thaw as much as they need for a specific recipe.
Use a paring knife to cut the ginger root into small pieces; the ideal size is about one-inch or so. When you opt to freeze ginger to preserve it, do not peel it first.
Ginger root is far easier to peel once frozen. When freezing, use the freshest ginger root you can find. Look for pieces that are firm and unwrinkled; they should also smell fragrant. Your regular grocery store will carry it, but ethnic stores often have the freshest pieces as there is a higher demand for it.
Spread out the chunks of ginger on a baking sheet to form a single layer, then freeze. Once frozen, place into freezer bags and label each with the date and amounts frozen. You can also freeze grated ginger in small batches, similar to how you freeze other herbs like cilantro, in ice cube trays.
Use a grater to finely grate a piece of ginger and then measure out the grated ginger by the teaspoon or other measurements based on how you will use it. You can also slice the ginger into disc shapes for freezing.
Preserving Ginger Through Fermentation
When you store ginger through fermentation, you can turn it into healthy sodas. One benefit of these healthy soda options is that they provide your body with beneficial probiotic bacteria, which helps cure tummy aches and improves your immune system. Use the ginger bug to make your ginger tea or ginger ale, among many other drinks.
If using conventionally grown ginger, start by peeling it. Organic ginger does not require peeling. Place ingredients into the jar. Dissolve the sugar by stirring. Cover the glass jar with a piece of cheesecloth and leave on the counter at room temperature for three days.
For the next three days, add one teaspoon of freshly grated ginger and one teaspoon of sugar daily. Stir thoroughly to ensure sugar fully dissolves. On the third day, you will see bubbles forming along the top of the liquid. Once bubbles form, secure the contents inside with a lid and place inside the refrigerator.
To keep the ginger bug going, feed it occasionally by adding one teaspoon of grated or chopped ginger and one teaspoon of sugar. To use the ginger bug, add ¼ cup of ginger bug to one quart of fruit juice or herbal tea.
Strain the ginger bug into the juice and leave out on the counter for three days. Stir the mixture twice a day until bubbles begin to form at the top. Store the soda inside a sealed bottle; an old plastic soda bottle works great.
Leave bottled drinks on the counter for 24 hours and then store in the refrigerator. Do not leave it out past 24 hours, as that could lead to the soda exploding.
How to Preserve Ginger Root by Pickling
To pickle ginger, peel and slice the ginger root into thin pieces. Add the pieces to a jar filled with a vinegar brine.
Slice the ginger root thinly with a vegetable peeler. Go lengthwise rather than with the grain for longer pieces of pickled ginger. Rub salt on each slice, place inside a bowl, cover, and chill overnight. Remove the excess salt by rinsing ginger under cold water.
Use your fingers to remove any excess liquid, then place the ginger slices into a clean ½ pint jar. To make the pickling solution, mix vinegar, sugar, and water in a pot over medium heat.
Heat the solution until sugar dissolves and then increase heat to high and bring mixture to a boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat. Pour the pickling mixture into the jar filled with ginger until fully immersed.
Preserve Fresh Ginger in Alcohol
Use sake, rice wine, dry sherry, or vodka to preserve ginger. Begin by cutting and peeling the ginger rhizomes into one-inch chunks. Place the pieces of ginger into an airtight container and cover until fully immersed in your preferred alcohol.
Secure with a lid and keep in a cool, dark area, such as a cellar. What you decide to soak your ginger in may affect its flavor, but when used in dishes like stir fry and other high heat recipes from cookbooks, the alcohol flavor will cook out, leaving you with the savory taste of ginger.
Preserve Ginger by Drying
If you use ginger in baking, you can dry it for future use. Mince the ginger and spread across a shallow baking pan lined with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 150°F and place the baking sheet inside. Stir the ginger occasionally until dry.
Use a spice grinder or other electric grinder to grind up the dried ginger, just as you would turmeric, for baking. Freshly ground dried ginger adds a unique taste to cheesecakes and ice cream.
Preserve Ginger in a Vacuum Sealed Jar
You will need a vacuum sealing device, such as a Food Saver, to preserve ginger this way. Wrap the fresh ginger in plastic wrap and place it in a canning jar.
Secure the canning jar with a lid and then vacuum seal with the jar attachment. Label and date the jar for future use. Keep inside the refrigerator and use it within a few weeks for the best quality.
Vacuum Sealed Bags to Preserve Ginger
Place ginger inside a vacuum seal bag and then use the vacuum sealing device to seal the bag. Use a Sharpie to date the bag and then place it inside the freezer.
You can break the fresh ginger root up into smaller pieces before sealing, or you can seal it in one large chunk. The benefit of sealing inside a vacuum bag over a jar is the vacuum-sealed bag will keep the ginger fresher longer.
This is also a great way to keep garlic fresh for later use. Vacuum sealing is much preferred over using a standard zipper bag as more air is removed.
Thank you for learning about the best way to preserve ginger. If you found any of our ideas on preserving ginger useful, please take a moment to share this article on Facebook and Pinterest so others may learn how to preserve ginger, too.