In my kitchen, I always have several types of ginger that I frequently use to spice up my meals. Knowing when ginger has gone bad can help prevent food poisoning and save time in the kitchen. Fortunately, there are several easy ways to tell if your ginger has gone bad and should be thrown away.
The first and most obvious way to tell if ginger is bad is by looking. If you see any signs of mold, discoloration, or thinning of the skin, then it is time to toss it and get a new piece. When ginger starts to turn rubbery and dry around the edges, the ginger is no longer safe to use. It’s also important to check the texture of the ginger – if it feels soft, slimy, or squishy, it’s time to say goodbye.
Well, what’s next? You should give your ginger a sniff. If it smells sour, too sweet, or has an off-putting odor, it is likely past its prime and should be thrown out. Fresher ginger has a prominent ginger scent so if it is no longer pungent, it’s time to get a replacement.
You can also use your sense of taste to tell if the ginger is still edible. If the ginger has a bitter or sour flavor, it’s gone bad. Taste a tiny piece of ginger to check for bad flavors. If it tastes off, discard it, and don’t risk getting ill from bad ginger.
One of the easiest ways to tell if ginger is bad is by feeling for moisture. If the ginger is sweating, it is no longer safe to eat and should be thrown away. You should also feel around for soft spots which could lead to the ginger rotting and becoming toxic.
In addition, watch out for wetness or sliminess around the ginger. This can be a sign of bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Slime often develops if the ginger was stored improperly or stayed moist for too long.
Finally, ginger changes it’s color as it ages and discoloration is a clear indicator that it’s past its prime. A brown or black color on the ginger is a strong indication that it’s bad and should be discarded.
If the ginger slices and dice easily, smells fragrant, and has a uniform color then you’re good to go. Remember that discoloration, sliminess, bad smell, and bitter taste are signs that your ginger has gone bad and should not be consumed. Paying attention to these signs will keep your meals safe, delicious, and healthy.
But how long can ginger really be stored? You may have bought a bunch of it from the store or marketplace and now wondering how much of it you can keep for the next recipe or relief of your upset stomach.
Good news – ginger not only can last for several days when stored correctly, but it can also remain fresh and flavorful for over a week. Even more – with proper and mindful preparation and preservation, it can last a month or more.
Let’s take a look at the various ways ginger can be stored, and how long it can last, so you always have a healthy, zesty ginger root on hand when you need it.
Fresh Ginger Roots
The most important factor in how long you can store fresh ginger root is the presence of water. If you buy a piece of ginger with the skin still on it, you can store it for up to three weeks in your refrigerator. Wrapped in plastic and kept away from contact with other foods, it should stay moist and flavorful for quite some time.
For specifically storing ginger for longer periods, you need to pay close attention to the moisture content. You can go for air drying the ginger root or you can even deep freeze the ginger – but remember to wrap it in an air-tight container. Following this, you can store the prepped ginger root in the freezer away from contact with other foods, and it will last for several months.
If we’re talking about taking it out, make sure to thaw the ginger root in the refrigerator before you use it in a recipe.
Dried ginger root can make cooking the perfect East-Asian meal much easier, but it may cause you a dilemma. Is dried ginger gluten free? Yes, it’s gluten free!
Dried ginger, when stored in an airtight container and not exposed to excessive humidity or temperature variations, can stay up to a year. But, it’s very important to note that the flavor and intensity will greatly reduce over time, especially after about 6 months. To give your dishes that zing, you’ll want to replace the dried ginger root every 6-9 months with a freshly bought piece.
Regardless of whether it’s store-bought or you grind it at home, ground ginger will not last as long as either fresh ginger or dried. The finer the grind, the faster the degradation of flavor will occur. Still, used within the first six months, your store-bought ground ginger should be fine to use.
One more tip – if you buy ground ginger and don’t plan on using it all within a week, store it in the freezer. This will extend its life up to 9-11 months.
Believe it or not, ginger juice can be preserved for a surprisingly long time. You can make it with a juicer and then store it in the refrigerator for up to six days. Just make sure you place your ginger juice in an air-tight container and leave it away from other foods.
Additionally, unlike the chocolate milk, you can freeze ginger juice for up to 6 months with the use of proper storage containers that keep out the air and enable quick thawing.
When to Use It?
Once you’ve purchased, prepped, and stored ginger, it’s important to know when to use it. While researching the best storage solution, many of us might forget that fresh ginger roots tend to last longer than dried or ground ginger.
Therefore, if a recipe requires you to deliver a strong ginger flavor, then it is better to use fresh ginger root than dried or ground form.
It may also be better to cook with fresh ginger root more often and then store the leftovers for later use. Ground and dried ginger are perfect for many recipes, but you can’t really preserve their flavor for too long.
Now that you know the tricks on how to store ginger, it’s time to get creative! There are so many great recipes with ginger out there for you to explore, some of which include pickled ginger root, seasoning with hollow ginger stems, and ginger ice cream. What’s most important is knowing when to use which type of ginger in order to achieve the desired flavor and texture. As it’s such a unique and healthy ingredient, why not experiment a bit and make something unique?
The bottom line is that ginger can last quite some time when stored correctly and in various forms – dried, frozen, and fresh. And with proper preparations, it can be stored and used in one form or another. So don’t be afraid to buy this in bulk the next time you come across the ginger haters!