Seriously, put the peeler down.
There’s so much to love about cooking with fresh ginger — the exotic fragrance, flavor that can tantalize with rich subtlety or an exciting bite — and just one thing to hate. Peeling those knobby roots. Well, put down your paring knife. There’s no need to peel.
Ginger peel is perfectly safe to eat
Eating ginger peel won’t harm you. It actually has a light gingery flavor and some nutritional value, too. In fact, some chefs make a broth with the peel to flavor dishes like steamed veggies and marinades. The only reason to peel ginger is textural: The skin is a little tougher than the flesh. But since ginger isn’t usually eaten in big chunks, there’s simply no reason to peel ginger in most recipes.
Do scrub it first
We may love potato skins but wouldn’t think of eating them if they weren’t cleaned first. The same goes for ginger. Be sure to wash the root or scrub it with a vegetable brush before you use it.
Choose the freshest ginger
Part of the trick is knowing how to shop for ginger root. The youngest, freshest roots are smooth and pale with a slight sheen, and the skin almost disappears when cooked. The papery skin of young ginger is thin and supple. The older the ginger, though, the darker and woodier it gets. You can usually find really fresh ginger root at your local farmers’ market or Asian grocery store, while supermarket ginger may be somewhat older.
Grate it, mince it, juice it or press it
Even if your ginger has thicker skin, you can still use it without peeling. Try freezing the root before you grate or mince. It's actually easier to grate ginger that's frozen, and creates less of a stringy mess — and the peel grates into the mix seamlessly. You can also bypass the whole peeling issue by juicing the root or passing it through a garlic press.
And if you must peel…
The best way to peel ginger isn’t with a knife or vegetable peeler — it’s with the edge of a metal spoon. The skin lifts off more easily and maneuvers around the knobby root more easily, leaving more of the flesh to enjoy.
And finally: We solve your ginger-storage problem
We’ve saved you the frustration fighting with a potato peeler, but let’s not stop there. Unless you’re eating a tremendous amount of the stuff, a chunk of ginger root from the store is more than you can use before it starts to shrivel and/or mold. But there’s an easy fix: Freeze it and use it straight from the freezer when you need it. Depending on how you most often use ginger, you’ve got options:
- Wash the root, freeze it whole, and grate as much as you need, still frozen, skin and all, on demand.
- Wash it, slice it into coins, lay the coins in rows on plastic wrap or aluminum foil, roll the foil up like a scroll and freeze the whole shebang. The coins can be dumped whole into stocks, hot tea or simple syrup for flavoring, or minced while still frozen for cooking. One of the easiest ways to make ginger tea is with a half-dozen frozen ginger coins plopped into a mug of boiling water and muddled right in the cup.
- Wash it, grate it skin and all, and freeze the grated ginger pulp in ready-to-use lumps. This is a great use for an ice cube tray. Pre-grated ginger is perfect for stir-fries, used directly for the freezer. To use in baking, just defrost it for a couple seconds in the microwave.
Once your ginger game is on point, try these ginger-centric recipes from Yummly: