Ginger is often sold in a quantity too large for the average home cook to use before it spoils, so freezing your ginger is a good way to preserve it.
Ginger is an herb that is used to flavor foods and beverages. For centuries, ginger has been used for its beneficial health properties, most notably for digestive ailments. Fresh ginger root is used in a variety of dishes, and can be grated, minced, or sliced. In terms of storing this spice for later, can you freeze ginger?
Not only can you freeze ginger, most people find ginger easier to work with once frozen. Ginger lasts three weeks or less in the refrigerator when left in its peel and sealed in a plastic bag. This short shelf life makes ginger an ideal candidate for freezing, which can extend its shelf life indefinitely.
Many people find ginger easier to peel frozen ginger, and frozen ginger root can be grated without thawing, and then immediately returned to the freezer. Over time, the ginger root may become a little mushy, but given its use to flavor foods, this change in texture is rarely a problem.
Though it may last indefinitely, for the best texture and flavor, use the frozen ginger within 3-4 months.
Image used under Creative Commons from Delphine Ménard
How to Freeze Ginger?
Ginger can be frozen in a variety of states. Below is a step by step guide on how can you freeze ginger:
Freezing Whole Ginger
Ginger root should first be cleaned and dried, but you can leave the peel on if you intend on freezing it whole. If you plan on using large chunks of the root, you should cut it into segments now, as frozen ginger will be hard to slice. Place these chunks of ginger root in an airtight plastic bag, removing as much air as possible. Label and store in the freezer.
Freezing Cut Ginger
If you prefer, your ginger can be peeled and chopped prior to freezing. Prepare the ginger in the manner you intend to use it (sliced, diced, chopped, or julienned), place in a plastic bag, and freeze.
Freezing Minced Ginger
If you are planning to use minced ginger, peel and finely mince it with a grater or food processor.
Spoon this minced ginger onto a lined baking sheet, either in teaspoons or tablespoons, depending on how you plan to use it. (Three teaspoons are equal to one tablespoon, so if you are unsure, use a teaspoon.)
Do not allow your mounds of ginger to touch. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in the freezer. Once fully frozen, transfer your minced ginger to an airtight container or bag. Be sure to label with the date and size of each scoop.
How to Defrost Frozen Ginger?
While there is no need to thaw frozen ginger before using it, you can defrost it by leaving it to thaw in the fridge overnight.
Grating ginger while frozen is often easier than grating fresh ginger, which gets stringy. Peeling frozen ginger is also easier than peeling fresh root and you may find that a spoon causes less waste than a knife.
However, frozen ginger is difficult to slice, so extra care should be taken, or the ginger root should be allowed to thaw in the refrigerator until it is easier to slice. While texture may suffer if ginger has been kept frozen too long, the flavor should remain strong, and not negatively affect most dishes.
Freezing ginger is a wonderful idea especially if you use this spice often. Now that you know how can you freeze ginger, you can use up the spice and maximize your supply without fears of wasting the product.