How to peel and store ginger

The day I graduated from college, I vowed to never go back to school again, probably because at that moment I was so exhausted from finals, packing up the apartment, and the graduation ceremony. Funny thing is, life is school with the fun part being I choose the lessons. The rub? Sometimes the lessons choose me. But here I am on this delicious journey with a big group of people as we participate in Wok Wednesdays, choosing our lessons through Grace Young’s Book “Stir-frying to the Sky’s Edge.”  The lesson I learned this week from her book is how to peel ginger. I had always used a knife, carefully carving the skin off, taking too much flesh, and struggling in the nooks and crannies. Until I came to Grace’s helpful tips on ginger.

She teaches us to peel the ginger using the edge of a spoon! What a revelation. And with tips like this, I wonder where I have been all this time, in all these years of cooking- under a rock?  The spoon gently takes only the papery skin, easily manages the nooks and crannies, and is not awkward at all to use.  No fancy tool needed here!

I was sharing this tip with my Ma and she reminded me how to store ginger by placing it in dry sherry as Mrs. Shirley Chan, a long time family friend and excellent Chinese home cook, taught her to do 30 years ago. Another good tip since I was tired of finding my ginger shrivelled to the size of a pinkie toe by the time I went back to use it again.  I am sure now that I am stir-frying so often, I will be using my ginger frequently, but still wanted to give storing it in sherry a try. I peeled it all, placed it in a mason jar, and covered it in sherry to store in the fridge.  Will sherry change it’s texture, flavor, and performance in a dish? My Ma never had trouble with it, so I am going to give it a go.

UPDATE– See Grace Young’s (Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge) comment below. She explains how she stores her ginger and when to use “wet” frozen/sherry soaked ginger v. fresh “dry” ginger. Stir-fry=dry. Don’t get spattered!

How do you store your ginger?

18 Comments

  1. Carla
    Posted June 12, 2012 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

    I’ve frozen it or pickled it…both have worked. I’ll definitely try the sherry…it’s easier than the pickle process. BTW, I use the pickled ginger just like fresh…and often it’s better than what I see in the store depending on the time of year.

    • Robin Sue
      Posted June 12, 2012 at 12:32 PM | Permalink

      Carla, good to know about both the pickled and frozen. I had thought about chopping up a bunch and freezing it in small batches. I may try that too. Pickling it sounds interesting!

  2. Suzanne Sjögren
    Posted June 12, 2012 at 10:43 AM | Permalink

    Great idea! I usually store my ginger in the freezer and just grate it as I need it.

  3. Dee
    Posted June 12, 2012 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

    A woman saw me looking at the ginger at Trader Joe’s just the other day! I was contemplating whether to buy it for the little bit I needed for a recipe and then throw the rest away later when it was shriveled to the size of a pinkie toe like you said! She must have heard my thoughts….she started to explain to me how to peel, store and use Ginger! She first peels the entire piece with a spoon (which I tried that day) and then puts the rest in a ziploc bag and stores it in the freezer! Every time she needs some she just takes it out and grates it with a fine cheese grater…it will look like snow but works beautifully in recipes!

  4. Kurlykris
    Posted June 12, 2012 at 12:32 PM | Permalink

    That is how my Chinese MIL taught me to store ginger. It works great. The ginger tastes a little more mellow after it ages a bit, but the texture is the same. “New” ginger is available in March, so that is the traditional time to put up enough for the year. The best reason for doing it this way is you then have ginger-flavored sherry to cook with! It’s great for steaming fish in the microwave.

    • Robin Sue
      Posted June 12, 2012 at 12:36 PM | Permalink

      I was wondering about using the ginger flavored sherry in recipes, now you convinced me that I am getting 2 for one! Stored ginger and flavored sherry!

  5. Posted June 12, 2012 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

    Sounds delicious!
    I just store it in the fridge. I cut and peel only what I need and it lasts a long time. May have to try the sherry idea, too!

    PS-Thanks to you, I started the Whole 30/Paleo thing this weekend. 🙂

    • Robin Sue
      Posted June 12, 2012 at 4:15 PM | Permalink

      Kimberly how are the first few days of Paleo going- always the hardest!! Hang in there and keep me posted! Robin

  6. Suzanne B
    Posted June 12, 2012 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

    If I have very fresh ginger, I don’t bother to peel it. I just grate it. No one notices the little bits of peel. Later I peel with a spoon and store in the freezer. Grating it frozen is easy. Will try the sherry trick.

  7. Posted June 12, 2012 at 6:16 PM | Permalink

    I never peel it when I store it. Ma

  8. Posted June 12, 2012 at 7:11 PM | Permalink

    i like the sherry idea, will definitely try that.

    i usually freeze it whole, and then when i want some i slice off the very edge that i want to use, and take a microplane to the frozen ginger (perpendicular to the grain). works very well as long as it is in a good bag to not absorb freezer flavors.

    • Robin Sue
      Posted June 12, 2012 at 7:48 PM | Permalink

      I will have to try the freezer method too- everyone says it is really easy to grate from the freezer- I just fear my knuckles;-)

    • Posted June 12, 2012 at 9:31 PM | Permalink

      yeah… i have lost a few bits of skin to that tactic. consider keeping an oyster glove in the kitchen! it’s handy for lots of stuff and cleans up easily.

    • Robin Sue
      Posted June 12, 2012 at 9:54 PM | Permalink

      Ha! Great idea, those things are indestructible!

  9. Posted June 13, 2012 at 9:02 AM | Permalink

    So interesting to see that so many people like to freeze ginger. In Stir-Frying to the Sky’s Edge I write about the fact that in the old days when ginger wasn’t readily available cooks would store it in sherry. The beauty of this is that indeed the sherry becomes infused with ginger flavor and is wonderful for cooking. However, ginger that has been soaked in sherry is great added to a braise, but I find that it’s not great for stir-fries because it’s so wet. When you add it to the oil it causes spattering. Likewise, frozen ginger will also spatter because of the excess moisture. I guess I’m lucky living in NYC because every market carries ginger. I store it in a paper bag in the vegetable bin and I find it lasts a week or more. If I’m not going to use a lot I buy a small piece.

    • Robin Sue
      Posted June 13, 2012 at 9:11 AM | Permalink

      Thank you Grace! I never thought about the spattering that would occur from frozen ginger or ginger soaked in sherry for stir-frying. And it would add an extra step of having to squeeze that excess fluid out of it. I will save the “wet” ginger for other dishes and try to find smaller pieces for paper bag storage in the refrigerator. I like the paper over plastic storage idea- we must cut down on so much plastic.

  10. Posted June 13, 2012 at 11:21 AM | Permalink

    I too freeze my ginger whole. I use a melon baller to peel it – it’s a little thinner/sharper than a regular spoon. One of my most used kitchen tools! It’s great for coring apples and pears with less waste of the fruit.

  11. Posted June 17, 2012 at 6:46 PM | Permalink

    I can’t wait to get my next ginger root to try this.

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