With this handy guide, you’ll learn how to peel and cut ginger like a pro. Ginger can add plenty of warm, spicy zing and zest to any meal. Because ginger is such a staple flavor in many Asian dishes, it’s worth learning how to properly peel and cut ginger.
Those unfamiliar with ginger, however, might struggle to turn it from its knobby, tough natural state into a usable ingredient.
Here, we’re going over how to turn your fresh ginger into its most commonly used forms, including coins, matchsticks, and a finely cut mince.
Why Should You Learn How To Cut and Peel Ginger?
- Simply put, dry ginger isn’t the same as fresh ginger. You can’t substitute anything for the real thing: the dry powdered ginger in your local supermarket just doesn’t have the same flavor as freshly cut ginger. If you want that lovely aromatic tang, you simply have to use the real thing.
- With expert ginger slicing skills, you can use it however you want. Ginger isn’t just for stir fries and curries. You can turn your ginger into tea or a tea blend! Simply steeping some thinly sliced ginger in hot water, or adding it to something like chamomile tea is a lovely treat.
- Ginger is a basic flavor foundation for many cuisines. Once you’re familiar with ginger and getting confident when using it, your recipe repertoire will expand massively. It’s great for dinners as well as desserts.
How To Peel Ginger
- To start using ginger in your cooking, first you want to remove the tough brown outer layer from your ginger root.
- Start by washing and drying your ginger to remove any residue. Holding one side of your ginger firmly, take a spoon and use its edge to scrape the brown papery skin from the golden-yellow core. Scrape away until all the ginger skin is gone. Ginger will release some of its aroma as you peel it.
How To Cut Up Ginger
- You need a nice sharp knife for this. The first thing to know when cutting up ginger is that ginger has fibers running up and down the root lengthwise. When you go to cut your ginger, you want the first cut to be against the grain of these little fibers.
- To do this, first place your ginger on a chopping board. Using a nice sharp knife, make horizontal coin-shaped cuts. When you need to cut the ginger further, change the angle, sliving the ginger in the other direction.
To slice ginger into little coins, place your ginger on the cutting board. Holding the ginger firmly at one end, start at the other end by slicing through the ginger and making little round coins of your desired thickness. Continue this until you have reached the end, and you have your entire root’s worth of coins.
- Some recipes call for ginger matchsticks. To make these, you need to cut thin coin shapes horizontally against the grain.
- Then you’re going to stack a few coins - not too many, or all at once - on top of each other. Cut them into thin strips. These thin strips will be your matchsticks! If you want diced ginger, simpy turn the stack and cut across these strips until they’re reduced to tiny little ginger cubes.
When you need a bigger, more permeating ginger kick, you’ll want to grate the ginger.
- Firstly, hold your whole piece of ginger in one hand. Hold a microplane with the other. Rest the end of your microplane against a chopping board, and start to grate your ginger against the grating side of the microplane.
- Grate the ginger until you have your desired amount. Be sure to scrape out the back of your microplane with a spoon, fork, or little spatula to ensure you get any ginger that was trapped in the back.
You can also use a food processor.
Tips For Peeling and Cutting Ginger
- Firstly, don’t worry if you don’t have a microplane. These are great little graters that are super easy to use, but other graters are OK too. You can use the smallest holes on a typical box grater, or mince your ginger into the smallest pieces you can for the same effect.
- You can use a vegetable peeler to peel your ginger if you want. The spoon scraping method may not work for you and that’s OK. Veggie peelers do work better on older, wrinklier ginger, as they might not be able to easily penetrate the tougher hide of younger ginger pieces.
- Always sharpen your knives after use! Sharp knives are easier to use and lead to fewer injuries than blunt, damaged knives.
- You don’t always have to peel ginger. If you’re adding ginger to juice or using it to make tea, you can skip the peeling step. In fact, for really finely grated or minced ginger, you can skip the peeling, too. That’s because the ultra-fine texture of the ginger will pulverize the skin so much you won’t notice it in your food.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can store any cut ginger in a tightly sealed container. A glass jar is perfect for this!
Cut ginger will keep for about a week in your refrigerator. If you’ve only used a part of your ginger root, you can put the rest in a refrigerator bag or other airtight container to keep in the fridge.
Chopped ginger can be frozen! Larger pieces will need you to freeze them flat on a sheet pan, and once they’re frozen, tightly wrap them in a freezer safe bag.
You can freeze minced or grated ginger, too. Place it in ice cube trays until frozen. Then remove the cubes from the tray and store them in freezer safe bags or a tightly-lidded container. This frozen ginger will keep for about three months!
Store bought ginger should have smooth, brown skin. Wrinkled ginger is older and less fresh.
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