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Posted on May 4, 2007 | 31 comments

Speed technique: Freezing ginger

Speed technique: Freezing ginger

I like to keep a knob of ginger on hand, but I often don’t use it all up before it starts to shrivel up and lose its potency. Last week a friend gave me a whole bag of ginger and I knew there was no way I could use it in time, so I consulted the Japanese books on freezing and found that ginger can be frozen both sliced and grated. An ingenious way to store grated ginger is to form it into a long, skinny cylinder in plastic wrap, and freeze it. When you’re ready to use some, just break or cut off as much as you need and return the rest to the freezer! Convenient for adding quick flavor to a dish that you’re cooking for a speedy lunch or dinner.

Frozen grated ginger

I have a couple of special ginger graters, but a Microplane rasp-type grater also does an okay job. Ceramic ginger graters (like this and this ) and metal ones below do produce a nicer, silkier product without the fibrous strings, and collect the juice in a little reservoir in the grater. Worthwhile if you grate a lot of ginger, otherwise don’t sweat it.

Grating ginger for freezing Grated ginger wrapped for freezing

You can also freeze pre-sliced (or julienned) ginger. Just peel and slice, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and freeze in another container (freezer bag or plastic container like tiny Tupperware) to prevent freezer burn.

Cutting ginger for freezing Sliced and julienned ginger for freezing

Tip on peeling ginger: use the edge of a spoon to quickly and easily scrape off the thin peel without wasting ginger.

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31 Comments

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  1. Excellent timing on your part! I just had some ginger that despite Press’N Seal and refrigeration, had started to go ew-yuck on me. This will work nicely.

    But… now I need to organise my freezer. :/

  2. I generally cut my ginger into 1″ chunks (standard amount for most Indian-style dishes I make) and freeze the chunks. I find it’s easier to work with (chopping, grating, etc) the frozen chunks than the fresh ginger.

  3. I do the exact same thing. It works perfectly especially because it’s easier to peel and grate when still frozen!

  4. Me too. But freezing the grated ginger is a great idea, too. It’s even faster when you need it. And it’s just once you need to spend the time to grate a whole lot of it :o)

  5. Nice to know how to freeze ginger — but too bad that where I live (Turkey) ginger doesn’t seem to exist! How do you grow the stuff? I’ve got the craving…

  6. I just freeze the whole ginger hand and grate it frozen as needed. It’s really easy to grate frozen, and the skin comes off as you grate so you don’t need to peel.

  7. One of these days I’ll organize my freezer and take a picture — the Shufu no Tomo freezing book is chock full of freezer organizational tips. Makes me feel very un-Martha! ;-)

  8. Two important descriptives, ‘un-Martha’ and ‘Alton-like’. ;) Every time I think about that sesame-toasting pan, Alton pulls me up short (‘uni-tasker!’).

  9. My pleasure steamy! Beautiful and interesting blog, by the way — truly inspirational!

  10. Ooh, I don’t have a green thumb — perhaps someone else can chime in on this?

  11. I strive for Alton-like multitasking in my kitchen equipment, but the Japanese dollar stores are my weakness… I got my sesame-toasting pan for 100 yen a decade ago, but I wouldn’t pay a lot for one. You could always jury-rig one with a regular frying pan and a splatter screen. I think Alton would approve!!!

  12. Since I have no Japanese dollar stores, that’s exactly my plan. And I have cast iron! ^_^

    (Although after the mess the other night, I think I will pop for a tamago pan… did you know they carry them at World Market?)

  13. That’s CostPlus, right? Good tip (as long as the price is right)! BTW, I just added the jury-rig idea to the description of the sesame toasting pan in my store — McGuyering your own tools can be just as much fun as acquiring new kitchen gadgets!

  14. I think I’ll do all of them so that I have all kinds on hand — big chunks, slices, julienne sticks, and grated. I still have about half of the big bag from my friend left. I like the frozen grated ginger because where I’d been using the ginger in a tube (S&B stuff, like the wasabi in a tube) in a pinch, it’s got extraneous ingredients in it — not just ginger. I’m all for short ingredient lists.

  15. Thanks! I’ll add that to the repertoire so I have all kinds of ginger on hand — whole, big chunks, slices, julienne sticks, and grated. I still have about half of the big bag from my friend left and I’m feeling lazy.

  16. Yup – they kinda run the names together, apparently. We just got a big one built near work not long ago. Their pan, according to their website, is $14, same as Amazon’s. I think. The only cheaper I’ve seen has been Bento Obento’s $10 one, but there’s the question of how sturdy a handle.

    Woohoo! Alton has to be High Priest of the Church of McGyverism. I remember his drying rack and his cardboard-box smokers….

    BTW, I remember you mentioning a pan you stopped using because the handle got too hot. I found this ‘hot handle mitt’ critter at the heavenly Lodge Manufacturing Outlet Store, and it’s been great. I use it on the cast iron and my Visions glass cookware, and it holds the spatter-screen in position when you slide its handle into the mitt as well.

  17. Oh, I know where Bento Obento (BentoTV) sourced that $10 pan from — it was either $1 or $1.50 at Ichiban Kan in San Francisco’s Japantown. It’s very small and not very good quality, but I don’t mind for $1.50 (I’ve got that tiny one for two eggs and a better-quality larger one for four eggs, but not the really huge square one).

    I’ve got similar hot handle covers in silicone and leather, but I just gave up on the ridiculous tiny pan — bad balance (pan wouldn’t stay balanced on the burner), and the very short handle made it hard to use the handle covers. More trouble than it was worth, plus Bug and his friends like to play with it! Better toy than pan.

  18. She does have some… creative… markups, doesn’t she. Ya pay for convenience. I’ll check out the World Market one next week and give you a review.

    Ooo, leather cover? Nice.

    I’ve got various sizes of Lodge, including the ickle one they sell as a spoon rest. I seasoned it, and I’ve cooked a bit in it. ^_^ My mother was into Revereware, so I’ve got a lot of that now, but I usually grab the Visions glass first. I’ve got this thing for cranberry-red, see….

  19. Good idea.

    I wonder how much work it would be to make pickled ginger? Like the slices you eat with sushi? I love those, I can eat them to practically anything just like regular pickles…

  20. I voted for your blog yesterday. I am learning a lot from your tips and look forward to reading it everyday.

  21. Thank you for the vote and the kind comments! I’ll try to keep it interesting…

  22. Actually, it looks quite simple! I checked it out in the The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich — looks like young ginger is better suited to this than the mature ginger that I have, though. Someone else has reprinted the recipe here (hopefully with permission): http://www.fabulousfoods.com/recipes/appetizers/pickles/jappickginger.html I picked up this book at an organic winery in Sonoma Valley (Preston) to get into pickling (pickling recipes from all over the world), but I haven’t yet taken the plunge.

  23. You can do the same for garlic. Just mince the garlic and store them in a ziplock bag or plastic wrap, and store in freezer. I have a tuppleware in the freezer to store all these frozen condiments wrapped in plastic wrap. Take a tiny amount out every time you need to use it.

  24. Right you are! The freezing books say that it can also be frozen whole, sliced, chopped or grated, with different freezing tips for the different forms. I should probably do a post on that — sounds convenient.

  25. I buy large packs of ginger and garlic, whiz them in the food processor and press them into shallow plastic trays. Then I mark them into squares, pack in zip-locs and when frozen just turn them out and break into cubes.

    The processor is great for chopping curly leafed parsley too (pop in the thin stalks near the leaves as well). So handy for salsas, sauces, dressing, etc.

  26. @28 from Eileen:
    Good tip, Eileen — thanks for sharing!!

  27. Another ginger storage tip I got from Cook’s Illustrated is to peel and slice it, and store it in a small jar filled with cooking sherry. The ginger stays fresh in the liquor, and the sherry takes on a slight ginger flavor for cooking.

  28. @31 from Kittypants- that sounds really yummy! I like using sherry for cooking so that seems like it would work swimmingly.

  29. I do this for making curries but I pop it into ice cube trays and then bag it when frozen. Also works for fresh coriander (cilantro) – I buy both in bulk in an Indian market in east London.

    I like Kittypants’ idea in comment 31 too … lovely!

  30. Love the freezing idea! Another way to keep ginger fresh is to put some sand in a small container with small amount of water… then place bottom end of ginger in sand. Keeps fresh till needed.

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