The most common staples of any kitchen, whether it be the typical home kitchen or that of an experienced master chef, are the spices. With an array of spices, one can transform simple, sometimes even tasteless foods, into the most delectable delicacies to hit one's palette. Perhaps one of the oldest of these spices is that of ginger root. Ginger root can be used in a variety of ways such as in baking cookies, cakes, and pies, in seasoning poultry and fish, in brewing teas, and as a medicinal herb to help suppress nausea, heartburn, and ease pain.
Initially found in Southeast Asia, West Africa, and the Caribbean, ginger root can now be found almost anywhere in the world, including the United States. The ginger root is tubular in shape in its natural form and is often found in the produce section of a grocery store. Because ginger has a strong flavor, it is best to use only a very small portion of the ginger root when cooking and then store the remainder.
One of the most common mistakes made in storing fresh ginger root is to put it into the refrigerator. Refrigeration will actually dry out the ginger root and diminish its flavor. Therefore, once you have taken the portion you need for your cooking requirement, the remainder of the root should be wrapped in aluminum foil with the ends folded down to completely seal or enclose the root. This will help keep the root fresh for up to two weeks on your pantry shelf.
If, however, you will not be using the ginger root within a two week period after its purchase, then it should be wrapped in a paper towel, placed in a plastic bag, sealed and placed into a freezer. Your frozen root will then last up to three months. The paper towel will help the root keep its freshness when thawing.
Another way to store your ginger is to dry it. This can be done by shaving the ginger into little slivers. It is important to note that a ceramic grater will shave your ginger more easily than a metal grater, such as a cheese grater; if at all possible, please use a ceramic grater. The shaved ginger can then be placed on a cookie sheet. Set the cookie sheet in a cool, dry place such as a cellar or storage room, for three to four days. When the shavings have completely dried, they can be placed in spice jars and will remain fairly fresh for up to a year.
Finally, you can actually pickle your ginger. To pickle your ginger root, place your root in a glass jar, such as a mason jar, and cover the root in either white vinegar or in sherry. Seal the jar and place it in your refrigerator for about two to three weeks. The root will then be fully pickled and can last for about a year, as long as you continue to keep it refrigerated.
Now that you are fully armed with your storing hints, you will be able to continue to enjoy your ginger root for longer periods of time. Even more importantly, you can continue to enjoy the scrumptious flavor it will bring to your foods!