Whether you consider ginger a herb, root, vegetable, or a part of your spices, ginger is everybody’s favorite. You can easily use it to bring a tsunami of flavors to your dish. With exceptional health benefits as well as flavors, ginger is used worldwide.
Due to its versatility, professional chefs and home cooks store it in bulk, potentially leading to severe wastage as it can go bad. But hey, we are here to solve that issue as you can elongate the shelf life of ginger with the correct storage techniques.
If that sounds intriguing, you have landed on the right page. Without wasting any minutes, let’s start by understanding the shelf life of ginger and how to know whether it has gone bad or not.
Can ginger go bad?
Ginger can go bad after a specific duration in all of its different forms like any other vegetable. If not that it can surely lose its fresh flavors over time.
Ginger will taste great as long as you know how to keep it fresh. There are various ways to do that, but the trick is to do it right.
Fresh ginger has a more intense flavor than the ground ginger you get from a spice section in the grocery store. But the shelf-life of each one of them is different.
But how will you know if ginger has gone bad? Well, here’s what you should know.
How can you tell if ginger has gone bad?
When ginger goes bad, you will notice different signs, and that’s when you should stop consuming it.
When ginger is fresh, it has a gnarled look. The texture of skin and flesh is firm, and the color is bright yellow. It has a spicy aroma and taste that will enhance the flavor of your dish.
But when it starts to age, all of these things tend to change. Initially, as time passes, it will begin to lose its color, followed by texture. So if you have ginger with slight wrinkles over them but the texture is still firm, it’s still safe to consume.
Flavors matter the most and so give it a try. The ginger goes bad when it loses both its colors and flavors. If the color of ginger is grayish, it likely has gone bad.
Also, when ginger spoils, it also becomes soggy and full of wrinkles. Sometimes due to specific weather conditions or storage, molds are seen. This clearly indicates that ginger has gone bad.
So these are the ways to tell if ginger has gone bad. However, it’s essential to know a bit more about its shelf-life so you can buy them accordingly instead of ending up wasting them.
How long does ginger last?
Ginger is in a variety, and each of them has a different shelf-life. So let’s start with the fresh ground ginger you bought from the market.
So fresh ginger, irrespective of where you store it, will be at the peak of its freshness for around a week or so. However, with jarred ginger, it’s a bit different.
How long does ginger last at room temperature?
Jarred ginger can last up to two to three months when stored under a specific temperature. But if you have whole ginger root, chopped ginger root, grated ginger, or minced ginger, it will also be fresh and full of flavors just for a week.
Ground dried ginger has the most extended shelf life as it can last up to months and sometimes even a year when you store it right. But it tends to lose its flavors with time, and you will have to use it in abundance to get the taste right.
How long does ginger last in the fridge?
You can pop fresh ginger in an airtight container and place it in the fridge. This will help you retain its freshness and taste for 2 to 3 months.
You can also try placing the ginger root in a jar of vodka. Storing this in the refrigerator will keep your ginger fresh and ready to use for 8 weeks.
How long does minced ginger last in the fridge?
If you have leftover minced ginger and are worried about its degrading quality, don’t worry, as you can easily place it in the fridge. Simply place it in a tightly covered jar before refrigerating it. This will last for at least 1-2 weeks.
Ginger paste has an ample amount of preservatives added to it and so can last for a month with ease. But with almost all of them, you need to be extra careful with storage. Storing your ginger right makes a huge difference.
So check anything with ginger as the main ingredient. You should check the manufacturing date. Opened ginger products don’t always last long when you are not careful with storing them.
That does not mean you can’t consume ginger in all its forms post the period mentioned above. If it smells and tastes good, it won’t make you sick.
The fun fact about ginger is that more significant pieces of ginger have longer shelf life compared to chopped or grated ginger. Chopped ginger is often more prone to molds. Also, it can dry out sooner.
However, most of the spoilage depends on how you store ginger. So here’s how you can do that right.
How to Store Ginger
There are different methods to store different types of ginger available in the market.
If you have ground ginger, you can store it as you would store other spices. Just make sure you keep it in a cool, dry place that is away from direct sunlight and heat. It could either be a pantry or kitchen cabinet, just it should be away from the stove.
Always keep it tightly sealed. If you have bought ginger in paper packaging, make sure you transfer it to a container. When kept in paper packaging, will make it lose its flavors and aroma over time.
Talking about fresh ginger, it could be stored as you would keep the rest of the veggie. You should not peel off the brown skin. Peel the skin right before you use it.
You can either refrigerate it or even store it in a kitchen pantry. But a refrigerator would be the better choice. If you are planning to refrigerate the raw ginger root, transfer it into a resealable freezer bag. Squeeze out the rest of the air in it and store it in a vegetable container away from ready-to-eat foods.
If you have a peeled ginger root, you can preserve it in vodka or sherry. Just put the chopped pieces into a small jar and cover it with vodka or sherry. You can chop the ginger into tiny pieces so there is less space and it requires less alcohol.
This will keep it fresh for a month or so. However, if the alcohol gets cloudy, make sure to discard it. You can also use ginger-influenced sherry for cooking. But if you do not use sherry in cooking, go with vodka and throw it out once you have used the ginger.
If you do not wish to use alcohol, you can go with rice vinegar, distilled vinegar, or other clear spirits as well. When stored this way, ginger stays fresh for several months in a refrigerator.
Also, before using ginger soaked in such solvent, make sure to rinse them well and pat them dry so you don’t get those flavors in your recipe.
Can you Freeze Ginger? How long can ginger last in the freezer?
Yes, you can freeze ginger. Frozen ginger will easily last up to 6 months and even more.
But when thawed, frozen ginger likely gets soggy. So you would probably want to keep it for smoothies or dishes that will need cooked ginger.
To freeze ginger, simply grate fresh ginger root, and spread it on a baking sheet or an ice cube if you want to freeze it in a smaller proportion.
There won’t be any big difference in the quality of ginger, but a slight change in flavors could be possible. Other than that, frozen ginger would be best to consume for the next six months.
What happens if you eat expired Ginger?
Eating spoiled or rotten edibles does take a lot of courage. When it goes bad, ginger tends to get soggy or develops molds over it, and it will likely look bad.
Many chefs do have a zero mold policy, which means they simply remove the mold and use it in their dish. You, too, can do that. Simply cut out the spoiled portion or mold over them and consume it.
But before adding it to your dish, give it a taste. We do not recommend adding anything to your dish that tastes bad. This is because it can spoil the overall taste, and you will waste it all.
Can old ginger make you sick?
Consuming rotten or spoiled ginger can make you sick if you are sensitive. You will have an upset stomach, nausea, and even food poisoning.
So it is always better not to eat spoiled ginger. This is because moldy or rotten ginger can produce safrole, a harmful toxin. So it is better to consume your ginger fresh to enjoy its excellent health benefits.
Benefits of Ginger
There are some excellent health benefits associated with regular usage of ginger we bet you didn’t know about. And so here’s what you should know.
- Ginger is filled with certain chemical compounds that help your body fight germs, eventually keeping you fit and healthy.
- Its anti-bacterial properties keep your mouth healthy and smelling fresh. It also tends to brighten up your smile as it fights oral bacteria.
- Ginger is said to be the best medicine for nausea. It also helps with queasy stomach during pregnancy and helps get rid of build-up gas.
- When you have sore muscles, ginger will be highly beneficial to tame muscle soreness over time.
- As said earlier, it has anti-inflammatory properties, which eventually are extremely helpful in reducing swelling.
- Even people with higher blood sugar can benefit from ginger as it is beneficial to lower blood sugar.
- Say goodbye to menstrual cramps by simply consuming ginger powder once a day during your three-day cycle.
What are the Alternatives to Ginger if it has gone bad
In case you want to replicate the taste of ginger, but your pantry is missing it, you can use the following alternatives:
- Pumpkin Pie Spice
FAQs About Ginger
How much ginger is too much ginger?
With its exceptional benefits, you obviously want to make the most out of all the ginger you got from the market. But consuming more than 4 grams of ginger throughout the day in any form can be dangerous, especially for people with heart disease, diabetes, and gallstones.
Can you consume ginger and turmeric together?
Yes, consuming ginger and turmeric together can be extremely healthy. The two ingredients blend well together in salad dressing, sauces, and even stir-fries.
So consume your ginger with turmeric as you want and enjoy all its health benefits.
How long does crystallized ginger last?
When ginger is slowly cooked in sugar water and rolled in coarse sugar, it can last as long as two to three years. So if you have ginger in bulk crystalizing, it could be the best possible choice to keep its flavors intact.
Is it necessary to peel ginger?
If your ginger is yellowish-brown in color, it’s likely young and fresh, and so its skin need not be peeled before using. But if you have got older ginger, the skin must have already turned brownish, so it’s better to peel it off before using it.
What can you do with old ginger?
As long as your ginger is not covered with mold, you can use old ginger in your recipes. In case you see mold growing, simply cut that part off and use the rest of it.
Why did my Ginger turn gray?
Studies show that storing in the fridge for a long period can make it lose its acidity. This causes its anthocyanin pigments to change to a gray color.
Why does Ginger need to be refrigerated?
Ginger requires proper refrigeration as such a process can help preserve the quality for a long time and prevents mold.
Is Rotten ginger poisonous?
The rotten ginger root produces a toxin called safrole that can effectively harm your liver cells. This is why it is always advisable to discard such pieces of ginger.
Can I just cut the mold off ginger?
Cutting the mold off ginger might seem like a good plan, but we’d highly advise against it. It is because the mold might be deep into the food. Hence, it is best to throw the entire piece of ginger.
Final Notes on Ginger
You have come a long way, and we are definitely sure you don’t want to waste even a tiny piece of ginger. The exceptional health benefits do want us to make sure we make ginger a part of our diet and any and every form we can.
So we have to make sure we store it right. Whether you choose to refrigerate it or freeze it, we are definitely sure ginger will last long. If you are not a big fan of using alcohol for preserving ginger, you can go for distilled vinegar or rice vinegar. It will also extend the shelf-life of ginger.
But if you notice any kind of discoloration, change in texture, or mold formation, we recommend you discard it. If you are unsure, give it a taste and use it only if it seems okay.
Hope this helped 🙂
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Michael A. Antoine is a Sr. Chef at one of the leading chains of restaurants in the USA. He might raise hell in his kitchen, but his deep and practical knowledge about food and recipes helps us give you the best and tastiest recipes.