Chances are, the first time you saw fresh ginger at the grocery store, you wondered: “What the heck is that? Is it even edible?”
You may even be wondering that right now.
If so, this how-to article is for you!
You’ll be forgiven if you’ve ever thought that fresh ginger looks like a really tough, gnarly, largely inedible root.
It’s not exactly sexy looking, yet underneath that tough exterior lies a health-promoting food with a lot of nutritional love to give.
Studies have shown that ginger:
- may help reduce inflammation associated with Type 2 diabetes
- may help reduce pregnancy-related nausea and vomiting
- may help support cardiovascular health by reducing total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL) levels
- may act as an anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory agent in specific types of cancers
- may help reduce the severity of symptoms associated with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis
Fresh and dried, ground ginger are both useful for different culinary uses. It also adds a wonderful zing to any meals you make with it.
Today, we’re focusing on fresh ginger because there’s really no substitute for it!
How to tell whether fresh ginger is really fresh:
Look for pieces with intact skin and a strong, spicy smell. Avoid any that look wrinkled or wizened!
When you cut into ginger, if you notice longer fibrous strands, your ginger may not be as fresh as it should be.
Next time, try to buy your ginger at a store with a higher turnover on their produce.
How to store ginger:
Fresh ginger will keep for several weeks in the crisper drawer of your fridge. If you plan to keep it any longer than that, I recommend freezing it.
It will be difficult to slice when it’s frozen, but it’s easy to peel (using a spoon as mentioned below) and even easier to grate directly from the freezer on a microplane grater.
To make prep easier, you can also peel and chop fresh ginger into usable pieces before throwing them in the freezer and then adding them directly to the blender for smoothies, soups or other blended meals with little fuss.
How to peel fresh ginger:
If the piece of ginger is fairly straight (not too many bumps or curves), you can use a vegetable peeler. It works well!
Another option is to get a firm grip on the piece of ginger and then use a spoon to gently scrape the peel off. Hold on to one end and use the edge of the spoon to scrape the skin away from you. You can also scrape it toward you if you hold the spoon the way you would for a paring knife.
The great news about this method is that you can do it when the ginger is fresh or frozen.
How to grate fresh ginger:
My favourite way to grate peeled, fresh ginger is to use a microplane greater; the grated ginger will be very fine and easy to use in your main course, breakfast or dessert recipes… there is nothing worse than a large chunk of spicy ginger in a dish when you’re least expecting it!
If you don’t have a microplane, you can use a box grater. Use the small holes for a finer texture that is easier to add to your healthy recipes.
How to use fresh ginger as an ingredient in recipes:
The best way to use ginger is to grate it. I find this provides the smoothest, finest texture and it’s easier to add to your recipes. You can also mince it very finely with a knife. Or throw it directly into the blender for soups, smoothies, hummus, dips or other spreads, etc.
It’s delicious in both sweet and savoury recipes. In stir-fries, yogurt, bean and legume-based recipes, meat dishes, cakes and cookies. Pretty much anything you can think of. Just follow your nose and adjust your ingredient amounts based on how spicy you like it!
Looking for recipes to use ginger in?
I use both fresh and dried, ground ginger often. Here are a few recipes I’ve used ginger in:
- Warm Gingerbread “Oatmeal” featured in my FREE “10+ Breakfasts You Can Make in 10 Minutes or Less” e-book
What’s YOUR favourite recipe to use ginger in?
Life is a plate… Eat up!