Wednesday Wonders are back! Your burning nutrition, food, and cooking questions are answered here every Wednesday. Ask your questions in the comments section of any blog post, post your question on the Nutritioulicious facebook page, tweet it to me, or email me directly!
Q: Hi Nutritioulicious!
I’m trying a new recipe tonight for a lower-fat sweet & sour stirfry chicken. The recipe calls for fresh ginger and I bought way more than what I needed. How can I store the ginger that I don’t use and how long will it keep for? Do you have any ideas of what to do with the leftovers? Thanks for your help! — Caren in Atlanta
A: Hi Caren!
Thanks for this great question. Good for you for trying something new! (And the low-fat sweet and sour chicken sounds great too!) Many people don’t know what to do with fresh ginger, so they use ginger powder or they skip the ingredient altogether. Ginger is an excellent spice that has great medicinal properties, such as helping relieve nausea and reduce inflammation, especially in people who have arthritis, so it would be a shame not to cook with it.
I often use ginger in marinades, sauces, and vinaigrette dressings, but it can also be added directly to a dish to add flavor. For example, you can add julienned ginger to roasted or sautéed vegetables (I really like it on broccoli), make ginger cookies, or steep ginger in water for a nice homemade ginger tea. Ginger is also great paired with fish, like in these Black-Sesame Salmon Balls.
One thing to note is that fresh ginger and ground ginger have very different flavors, and cannot always be used interchangeably. However, if a recipe calls for ground ginger, you can use fresh ginger in its place, but remember that the amounts of fresh and dried herbs and spices are not equal. Generally, 1 teaspoon ground ginger = 1 tablespoon fresh ginger (remember 1 tablespoon=3 teaspoons), but be sure to taste often as you cook to see if you need more of the spice! Here are some recipes that use ground ginger, but can be made with fresh minced ginger: Tomato Jam, Sweet Potato and Tofu Thai Curry, and Roasted Butternut Squash and Sweet Potato Soup.
You can store ginger unpeeled in the crisper in the fridge in a plastic bag for up to 3 weeks or you can freeze it, unpeeled, for up to 3 months (put a date on it so you remember). If you freeze it, when you go to use it you can cut off what you need to use and then put the rest back in the freezer. Another thing you can do is peel it, grate it onto plastic wrap, roll up the plastic wrap into a log, and then when you want some, cut off the amount you want and wrap up the rest. You can then either let the frozen grated log defrost or grate it again.
Readers, please share with Caren how you use fresh ginger in your cooking! And if you have a Wednesday Wonder you’d like answered, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!