How to Peel, Grate and Chop Ginger
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As you can tell from many of my recipes, I love cooking with fresh ginger. It’s a versatile ingredient that works just as well in savory dishes, like this Thai Butternut Squash Soup, as it does in those on the sweet end of the spectrum, like this Stone Fruit Salad with Ginger Lime Syrup. It’s also a key ingredient in Asian cooking, adding a slightly sweet yet peppery flavor to stir-fries, sauces, marinades, and salad dressings.
If you’ve been reluctant to cook with fresh ginger because it’s hard to imagine how to get it from that knobby-looking root to a version that can enhance the flavor of your meals, read on for simple guidance on how to peel and grate ginger.
How to peel and Grate ginger
Put the ginger on your cutting board and using a sharp knife, cut it into manageable pieces and cut off any small knobs.
Find a flat spot on the trimmed ginger so you can place it securely on the cutting board.
Use a vegetable peeler or sharp knife to remove the papery skin. While the skin is dry and rough, it’s thin, so once you start peeling, you’ll quickly reveal the flesh.
After you’ve peeled the ginger, grate it with a handheld grater or on the small holes on a cheese grater. (Ginger is very fibrous. The fibers run from the top to the bottom of the root. Hold the piece of ginger you are grating so that you grate across the grain of the fibers.)
Some recipes require chopped ginger instead of grated. To chop it, you’ll need to peel the ginger like you do in preparation for grating it.
How to Chop ginger
Find a flat spot on the trimmed ginger and place it securely on the cutting board. (If necessary, cut off a thin slice off lengthwise and then lay the ginger on that side for a more stable surface.) Slice the ginger into 1/8-inch-thick slabs.
Stack a few of the slabs and cut them lengthwise into 1/8-inch-wide strips. They should resemble matchsticks. Repeat this with the remaining slabs.
Line the small strips up in a horizontal row and cut crosswise to dice.
If your recipe calls for minced ginger, gather all of the chopped ginger into a pile and cut through it using a rocking motion with your knife.
Recipes that call for Fresh ginger
- Shrimp Pad Thai
- Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks with Mango Chutney
- Asparagus Salad with Almonds & Ginger-Sesame Vinaigrette
- Thai Chicken Soup with Rice Noodles
If the ginger is fresh you can put chunks of it in a garlic press and it comes out like grated ginger.
I find using a teaspoon to peel ginger is the easiest tool to use.
Great tips! Thanks again, Jenn.
So many recipes call for ginger amounts in variables of an inch, which confuses me as ginger root sizes can vary widely. Do you have a rule of thumb on translating measurements into weight or volume?
Hi John, I don’t – sorry! But I would say most recipes assume “1 inch” is a 1-in square (and 2 inches would be 2 in x 1 in).
Sounds good. Thanks!
Quick question, I also store ginger in the freezer, but find when you grate it frozen (with a microplane) it ends up looking like snow and seems to be a lot greater volume when put into a measuring spoon. I wonder if you let yours thaw a bit, prior to using your measuring spoon, and does that give you a truer volume measurement?
Hi Gary, I do let it thaw a bit before measuring it. 🙂
I store my ginger in the freezer, whole and unpeeled, in a zip top bag. I then cut off/break a piece off as needed. As for peeling, I find using a teaspoon (flatware, not measuring spoon) can be used to scrape off the thin peel. Cutting the ginger while it is still partially frozen helps too. I use ginger in a lot of my recipes and have done this for years.
Thanks for the freezer storing tip. I’m always reluctant to buy a large piece of ginger for that very reason, then when I need it, I have to run out to buy some!
I find storing left over ginger (unpeeled) in a jar filled with white wine keeps the ginger fresh longer. Plus you can use a splash of the gingery wine for flavouring other dishes.
Hi Jenn – absolutely love your site and cookbooks. I recommend all the time. Your details and pictures are so helpful to all of us. Just thought you would want to know there is a word missing on the ginger tutorial. Under the 4th picture above (below the picture with the peeler in it) the word “knife” is missing.
Have a great weekend.
Hi Cindy, So glad you like the recipes! 💗
And thanks for pointing out that error. I just fixed it — it takes a village!
I like to freeze the entire ginger root. Then when it comes time to peel it, the peeling comes off so much easier.
Hi Jenn! Can Ginger be stored in the freezer? And if so, is it necessary to peel it first?
Hi Sissy, Yes, pieces of ginger can be stored in the freezer and I would recommend peeling it first.