Ginger is a versatile and popular spice, used to add a unique spicy sweetness and delicious aroma to everything from curries to cookies and even drinks. Make sure your ginger lasts for longer with our guide to ginger in all its forms, and how to store them.
How long does ginger last?
How long your ginger will last depends on how you store it. Fresh, unpeeled ginger root will keep for perhaps a week on your kitchen counter, but it can last for over a month in the fridge, and even longer using other storage methods such as freezing or pickling.
Once ginger is past its best, its appearance, texture and smell will begin to change. Avoid ginger root that has a dull brown or grey colour, feels soft or mushy, or has lost its distinctive gingery fragrance.
How to store ginger root
Ginger root can be stored at room temperature, in the fridge, or in the freezer, depending on how long you need to keep it. It will last for longer if you store it unpeeled.
If you’re confident you will eat all of the ginger within a week, you can keep it at room temperature, either on your kitchen counter, or in a cupboard or pantry. For best results, store it somewhere cool and dark, and take special care to avoid direct sunlight.
If you need to keep your ginger for a little longer, or if it has been peeled, your best bet is to store it in the fridge. Place the ginger in a resealable food bag, and remove as much of the air as possible, then place it in the crisper drawer of your fridge. If the ginger has been peeled, blot it with a paper towel first to remove any excess moisture. Stored in this way, unpeeled ginger will last for a month or more, and peeled ginger will last for 2 to 3 weeks.
Ginger root can also be frozen, and should keep for up to 6 months if stored properly. For more information, read on to our section on freezing ginger.
How to store grated ginger
Grated ginger won’t keep for as long as chunks of root, as it has more surface area exposed to risk factors like air and moisture. It will not keep well at room temperature, but can last for up to 1 week in the fridge. If you need to store grated ginger for any longer, it can be frozen for up to 6 months.
How to store ginger paste
How to store ginger paste depends on what type you have. Shop-bought pastes will likely contain preservatives, which means they will last for much longer than homemade pastes. A shop-bought paste is best stored in the fridge, and will typically last for several weeks once opened, but you should check the use by date on the jar for more accuracy. Homemade pastes will only last for 2 to 3 days in the fridge, however, so you may wish to freeze them to keep them for longer.
How to freeze ginger
Ginger can be frozen whole, grated, diced, or as a paste. To freeze whole pieces of root, simply place them inside a freezer bag and squeeze all of the air out. Once you need them, you can simply peel a section of the frozen root and grate off what you need without thawing it.
If you want to freeze grated or diced ginger, or ginger paste, you will need to freeze it in portion sizes. The easiest way to do this is to fill an ice cube tray with the ginger, and once it has frozen, transfer your ginger ice cubes to a freezer bag.
Whichever of these methods you use, frozen ginger should last for up to 6 months. It may be a little mushy once thawed, and will be better suited to dishes that are cooked through or blended.
How to preserve ginger
Changing the storage temperature isn’t the only way to keep ginger for longer. If you’re looking for something a little more creative, why not try one of these alternative methods of preserving ginger?
Storing ginger in alcohol is another simple way to preserve it. Simply peel the root and cut it into slices, then place your slices inside a clean glass jar and top it up with sherry or brandy. Use them in cooked dishes and the alcohol will evaporate without affecting the flavour, or try adding a few boozy slivers to your favourite cocktail.
Pickled ginger is particularly popular in Japan, and is served as a palate cleanser with sushi and sashimi. To make your own, peel the ginger and cut it into thin strips, then place it in a clean jar. Heat a pickling solution of 2 parts rice vinegar to 1 part sugar on the stove until the sugar has dissolved, then pour over the ginger.
You can even use ginger to make a probiotic, naturally sparkling soda. Ginger root can be used to make a starter culture called a ginger bug, which can be added to fruit juice or tea to make a refreshing, lightly carbonated drink.
Try adding some ginger to your favourite preserve or chutney. Apple, pear and rhubarb all taste great with a little added ginger.
Dried ginger keeps for much longer than fresh, and is perfect for using in baked goods like gingerbread or cookies. Peel the ginger and dice it into the smallest pieces you can manage. Spread the ginger pieces in a single layer on a lined baking sheet and dehydrate in an oven on the lowest heat setting, then grind them to powder in an electric grinder.
With its unusual, nobbly shape, ginger root can sometimes be a little difficult to work with. Learn how to peel and cut ginger like a pro with our handy guide.