Does anyone really need to peel ginger root before using it? Yes, you can peel ginger root or decide to use the root with the skin, depending on the type of ginger you have. Matured ginger roots usually have strong papery skin that needs to be peeled off before use. Meanwhile, the fresh young root is less fibrous and has a thin skin which doesn’t need to be peeled.
Fresh ginger root is an essential spice in various cooking, it adds a unique spicy, earthy flavor to various dishes such as soup (like this Mia Kuka), stews, pepper soup, meats, salad, and stir-fries. It is also beneficial to our health in many ways. Preparing hot ginger tea with honey and lemon will help cure a cold, cough, nausea, sore throat, and whatever ails you in a short time. But to use this spice, you will have to know how to peel and cut ginger first.
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How to peel ginger roots
Ginger root is knobby in appearance, it can easily slip and slide over when peeling by hand. However, this can be a little bit challenging when peeling it or cutting through the flesh. Here are three basic ways to peel ginger roots; you can either peel ginger with a spoon or with a knife or with a vegetable peeler.
How to peel ginger with a spoon
The spoon method is one of the efficient ways of getting those papery skins off your ginger roots. It only removes the skin of the ginger and not the flesh, which leaves you with no waste, and you won’t accidentally cut yourself while doing this. This method only takes about a few seconds for the task to be done.
- Place the ginger root on the chopping board to anchor it, turn the edge of the spoon with the convex of the bowl facing towards you.
- Firmly scrape off the skin of the ginger with downward strokes while holding it with your left hand to steady the process.
- Scrape away the brown woody skin as much as needed from the top to the root. The spoon will make it easier to peel through all the little nubs. But you can remove some of the larger lobes to have access to tight crevices.
- Once you are done peeling off the skin, decide whether you want to mince, chop, slice or grate the ginger root.
How to peel ginger with a knife
This method of peeling ginger may be a little bit overwhelming especially if you don’t know how to use a sharp knife properly.
- Place the ginger in your hand or stand it on a chopping board.
- Hold the top of the ginger with your non-dominant hand.
- Start at the top of the ginger and peel off the skin with the knife, you can remove some of the small knobs to get to the crevices. Try not to take off too much of the skin as you peel.
- After peeling one side, rotate the ginger to the side facing you and peel until all of the brown skin is peeled off.
How to peel ginger with a vegetable peeler
Peeling ginger with vegetable peel is a good alternative to peeling it with a spoon.
- You can hold the ginger in your hand or stand it on a chopping board to steady it.
- Use the sharp edge of the vegetable peeler to slightly remove the brown skin of the root. You can use a knife to remove the remaining skin hidden under the smaller knobs.
- You need to do this gently and carefully so that you won’t have to cut yourself with the peeler.
- After peeling one side, rotate the ginger to the side facing you and peel until all the brown skin is peeled off.
How to select a good ginger root
Some ginger roots are rough with dried patches; when you come across such it doesn’t really mean they are spoil or bad. It may simply be where the root was cut off during harvest. However, when buying your fresh ginger root from the market or store, always look out for those with the firm, moist roots which feel a little bit heavy when you lift it up, at least for their size. Always avoid dried ginger roots that are dried and shriveled.
How to store ginger roots
There are many ways to store ginger, You can keep a few pieces of the roots on your kitchen counter for a week or a few days if you are going to use it within a short time. But to store ginger longer, you will have to wrap it in paper towels and then place in plastic bags and store in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator.
However, fresh ginger can be stored for a longer time by grating, mincing chopping it first, and then wrapped in resealable plastic bags and frozen for months. This method of storing ginger is very convenient, it allows you to access the ginger without having to start all over peeling and cutting it. Another better way to store ginger is to turn it into ginger powder. This way the ginger will keep up to 6 months if properly dried and stored in a jar with a fitting lid away from moisture. See how to make ginger powder.
How to clean ginger
Ginger is grown underground and, sometimes it comes directly from the farm to the market without being washed or cleaned properly. You can simply wash your ginger roots first under running water and scrub off any visible dirt. This is to prevent sand or dirt from touching the ginger flesh when peeling or cutting it. If you notice any trace of mold on your ginger, just throw away a whole piece instead of cutting the moldy area away just to be on the safer side.
How to cook ginger
Ginger can be added to many dishes such as salad dressings, smoothies to mellow the flavor. If you want to really taste its unique flavor in your food, add the grated ginger at the beginning of cooking, and a little again at the end. You can even combine ginger with some minced garlic and onion and saute in oil for a few seconds before adding other ingredients to your cooking; this will leave your food with an irresistible aroma and taste.
Ways of preparing Ginger before using it to cook
- Grating of ginger: this is done by placing a manual grater on the chopping board and then rubbing the peeled ginger across the tiny teeth of the grater. The tiny teeth are super sharp and will pierce through the ginger root’s fibers, rather than separating the flesh and juice.
- Mincing ginger: if a recipe requires minced ginger, all you need to do is to lay the peeled ginger on a chopping board then slice the ginger very thinly into planks. Cut across the slices into very thin matchsticks. Gather the ginger sticks and thinly slice crosswise to mince the ginger. You can chop through the minced ginger to make it finer if you want.
- Chopping ginger: ginger flesh can be chopped by cutting the root into coins first and then stacking all the coins together to further cut into thin cubes.
- Slicing: This method of cutting ginger is very essential especially if you’re using the ginger to infuse honey, oil, syrup, or broth with flavor. To do this, place the root on a chopping board, turn the peeled piece of the ginger so it lies vertically in front of you. Use a sharp chef’s knife to slice it lengthwise into thick planks. Further slice each plank into thin strips.
Dr. Brown is the founder of Jotscroll, he is a Medical Doctor, Entrepreneur, and author. Dr. Razi Brown holds a medical degree from the University of San Diego. He has invested in many startups and is currently working on his fifth book to be published in the upcoming year.