Dear Home Ec 101,
My youngest daughter and I tried a new recipe last night (Trinidadian Chicken Stew) that called for freshly grated ginger. I admit to being a first time user to fresh ginger. I picked what I thought was a good rhizome (is that the correct term?) and brought it home and we did our recipe thing. What do I do with the rest of this branchy looking beast? Can ginger be frozen? Can I just grab it out of the freezer and use what I need and put it back? If so, how do we freeze it? Plastic bag or should it be wrapped first? How long is the right amount of time to keep ginger frozen?
By the way, the stew was awesome! We will be making it again within a few months I’m sure.
Maryanne and the Professor, too
Can I have the recipe?
You are right, ginger is a rhizome. This just refers to an underground, horizontal stem which may or may not be edible, but can grow shoots or roots. You were also on the right track picking out a ginger root with smooth skin. A fresh rhizome should feel slightly heavy, should be firm, and should have smooth skin. If the rhizome is light or wrinkly, it’s old and drying out.
You can freeze ginger. For best results, peel it -unless you have a microplane- then grate over plastic, wrap tightly, and freeze. I picked up this handy tip from Steamy Kitchen. A plastic bag would work, just be sure to squish out as much air as possible before freezing.
If you’re feeling lazy, just toss the uncut ginger into a plastic bag and place it in the freezer, unpeeled. Grate it while it’s still frozen.
Be aware that some people are bothered by ginger’s tendency to be watery after freezing. This happens due to the plant cells bursting when the water expands during the freezing process.
However, if you’re planning on making that stew soon, ginger can be stored for up to two months in a zippered plastic bag in the vegetable crisper.