Wonderful in baked goods, delicious in stir-fries and an absolute must-have for anti-inflammatory juice, grated ginger adds a welcome hint of warmth and spice to some of our favorite recipes. But transforming the knobby root into something you can actually use is kind of a pain. Or is it? As it turns out, there’s a handy tool that solves all your ginger woes. Learn how to grate ginger and the right way to prep this tasty ingredient for a myriad of dishes.
To Peel or Not to Peel?
Before you do anything with ginger, your gut may say, “um, don’t I need to peel this first?” While lots of recipes may call for it, our food editor Katherine Gillen is straight-up against it. Ginger root’s skin is paper-thin, so it’s tough to peel without wasting a lot of useable ginger in the process. And the skin is so thin that you won’t notice the difference in the finished product. So, if you’re feeling lazy (or culinarily rebellious), go ahead and skip the peeling.
If you’re dead-set on peeling, knock yourself out. Hold the piece of ginger and scrape away the peel using either the edge of a spoon or a vegetable peeler. If the peel isn’t coming off easily (this can happen if it’s knobby or old), try a paring knife.
How to Grate Ginger
Hands down, the best way to grate ginger is with a microplane, which will quickly and efficiently give you lots of easy-to-use pulp. Grate the root across the grain to get the most flesh…and that’s pretty much it. You now have a fragrant ingredient that can easily melt into mouthwatering bakes, stir-fries, soups and more. We love an easy task. Once grated, use the ginger immediately or transfer to an ice cube tray and keep in the freezer for easy access.
If you don’t have a microplane, you can try a grater or even the prongs of a fork. If those don’t work, a fine mince is your next best bet. First, lay the ginger down vertically on the cutting board and slice into planks. Stack the planks and slice them longways into thin matchsticks. Then, chop across to mince into tiny pieces.
Should I Invest in a Microplane?
Trust us on this one. Your standard box grater just isn’t going to cut it. If you try it, you might quickly notice all those stringy bits of ginger stuck in between the holes, creating a total cleaning nightmare. A microplane will get the job done without any mess, plus can be used in countless ways in the kitchen.
This clever little tool is great for Parmesan cheese (hello, fluffy umami snowflakes), ideal for zesting citrus fruits (lemon bars, anyone?) and the only acceptable tool to use when grating nutmeg (for your chilled glass of eggnog, of course). It’s also an excellent way to impress dinner guests with artful chocolate shavings on top of dessert. Think of it like a sophisticated secret weapon for every dinner party you ever have.
How to Chop or Slice Ginger
The best way to cut ginger depends a lot on what you’re using it for. If you’re using the ginger in soup or another liquid and want to infuse the flavor, cutting it into thick planks is the way to go, as mentioned above. For stir-frys, slicing ginger into matchsticks (julienning if you’re fancy) releases its flavor while maintaining singular, visible pieces throughout the dish. If you’re using ginger as an aromatic element or in a recipe that you want the ginger to basically disappear into without any distinct pieces, mince or grate it as small as possible.
How to Store Ginger
When you’re shopping for ginger, buy a firm piece with smooth skin. Don’t bother with soft or wrinkly roots. Once you bring it home, keep the whole, unpeeled ginger in a resealable plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your fridge. Make sure to let all the air out before storing. Or better yet, store it in the freezer in a freezer bag or container. Not only will it keep indefinitely, but it’s actually easier to grate when frozen. That means no thawing before breaking out the microplane.
If the ginger has been cut or peeled, blot it dry with a paper towel before storing like you would whole, unpeeled ginger. Just know that cut ginger will go bad faster. Once ginger is very soft, dark in color, excessively shriveled or moldy, it belongs in the trash.