You finally got around to picking up a ginger root from your local grocery store. Time to try Maddie’s ginger-infused chicken stir-fry recipe. But you’re not too sure how to grate ginger properly. Not to worry, we got the insider’s scope on some tips, tricks and techniques with ginger that you’ll definitely want to know about.
A Root Above the Rest: Ginger
Originating in Southeast Asia, the ancient Chinese first used ginger root as a medicinal spice and tonic to treat common ailments. Then the Chinese began trading the root with India, who later exported the product to Ancient Rome.
Today, people know ginger as the root with a bite.
While some people still use ginger as a healing tonic, it is generally used to flavor breads, teas, sauces, meat, and various pastry doughs. You can even find it in some processed foods and cosmetics. It can be fresh, dried, powdered, and in juice or oil form.
Picking a Fresh Ginger Root
The first thing you need to do to prepare your ginger root is find a fresh-looking root at the grocery store.
It’s easy enough if you know what to look for. Be sure to pick out one that is plump, firm, unwrinkled, and fragrant as these will yield the best flavor.
Your usual grocery story is unlikely to have the freshest ginger as it is a specialty item. Instead, take a trip to an ethnically Asian or Indian market as there is a higher demand for ginger at these stores.
Freezing Your Ginger
Wondering how to grate ginger easily? Freezer ginger root is the easiest form of ginger to grate.
The simplest way to freeze your ginger is to put it in an airtight container or freezer-safe bag as a whole piece.
However, if you plan on multiple uses for the root, cut the ginger into smaller pieces and put them into small bags for future use. Be sure to label your freezer bags with the contents, date and amount either by weight or measurement.
Note: Don’t keep your ginger root in the fridge as it tends to shrivel up and lose its power the
longer it remains unused.
Alcohol + Ginger = Brilliance?
This trick is for the fresh-obsessed chefs out there.
If you use ginger once in a blue moon, you’ll find that fridge ginger loses most of its fragrance and power.
You have probably also realized that freezer ginger root is good for grating, but not for slicing and dicing.
There is a solution though.
Store your ginger root in a glass jar filled with either vodka, sake, dry sherry, or wine rice. For best results, use vodka.
All you need to do is scrape away the root’s skin with a spoon and place the peeled ginger into a jar. Then, fill the jar with vodka.
Store the jar in your fridge.
Check the ginger root from time to time and you’ll notice that the vodka is now ginger-infused, a perfect cocktail starter.
Unlimited Supply of Ginger
You can, of course, have an unlimited supply of ginger root by simply planting a ginger root in a pot of soil.
It is that easy. Keep it by the window sill so that it gets sunlight. It will grow shoots in the pot just like any other houseplant. Whenever you need ginger for a recipe, all you need to do is lift the plant and cut off a piece for the recipe.
Then put the rest of the root and shoots back in the pot. Cutting the root won’t hurt the plant. Instead, it will grow back.
How to Grate Ginger in 3 Ways
There are three different ways to grate ginger.
1. How to Grate Ginger Using a Peeler Using a peeler to grate ginger is the most difficult way and can yield a lot of waste and even result in injury.
First, check the ginger root for any softness or moistness. Ginger should be firm. If you find any soft spots you should cut these out with a knife.
Then, square up the edges using a chef’s knife. Cut off the ends of the root to square it off.
Now peel the body of the ginger with a paring knife or vegetable peeler. If you’re a skilled chef, you may be able to do this without losing too much of the ginger. However, if this is your first time handling ginger, you are better off using a spoon to scrape the skin off.
Finally, slice, dice and chop your ginger. Again, if you are a more experienced chef, you can slice your ginger Julien style.
Once finished, package your ginger in the freezer.
2. Using a Grater for Ginger Follow the same instructions as in the first way using a peeler, but stop when you’ve peeled your ginger root.
Now, use a grater with a large surface area and finely etched holes. Avoid graters with metal nubs and teeth as they will be inefficient and more time-consuming.
Then, drag the ginger root up and down the grater. Watch your fingers as it is easy to cut yourself on the sharp graters when you’re not paying attention.
When you finish grating, use what you needed for your recipe and put what’s left of the ginger in a freezer bag.
3. How to Grate Ginger Using a Fork Once you’ve peeled your ginger with a spoon, you’ll swap your spoon for a fork in this technique.
Next, you’ll rub peeled ginger across the tines of the fork. Be sure to apply constant and even pressure on the ginger as you drag it across the tines of the fork.
You’ll need to pull the ginger in all directions to break apart the ginger’s fibers.
After you’ve grated the desired amount for your recipe, package the rest of the ginger in freezer bags for future uses.
Using Ginger Root
There are many different ways you could use your ginger root. You can make ginger-infused breads, teas, sauces or stir-fries. Here is just one of the ways you can use your ginger root.
Fresh Gingerbread Cookies
A warm gingerbread cookie is enough to make anyone feel warmer on a cold winter night.
This recipe by the wonderful Pioneer Woman makes 24 servings and takes a total of 3 hours to prep and only 18 minutes to cook.
For the Cookie:
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¾ cups softened butter or margarine
- 1-1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup molasses
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 tablespoon maple extract
For the Royal Icing:
- 2 pounds powdered sugar
- 1/3 whole milk
- 2 whole egg whites
- Various candies, sprinkles and other decorations
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients and set aside: flour, salt, allspice, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
In a mixer, beat the butter or margarine and brown sugar until fluffy. Then, add molasses until evenly combined. Toss in the eggs, maple extract and then mix. Add the flour mixture slowly until fully incorporated.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
When you’re ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350°F and remove the dough from the fridge. Roll the dough when soft but still firm, divide it in half and roll out each half between two sheets of plastic wrap.
Cut out shapes of your choice and place these on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking mat.
Bake for 12-15 minutes depending on the size of the cutters and on how chewy you want your cookies. The less you bake them, the chewier they’ll be.
While the cookies bake, make the royal icing by beating the powdered sugar, milk, and egg whites until thick, but thin enough to be piped.
Transfer into a piping bag and decorate your cookies however you like.
How to Grate Ginger Like a Professional
Grating ginger is not a difficult task once you know what you’re doing.
Be sure to grab a fresh ginger root from your local ethnic market and use our tips, tricks and techniques on how to grate ginger so that you’re ready for any recipe, anytime and anywhere.