Are you doing it all wrong? + Tips & tricks on how to store and prepare them for lasting freshness
Convenience is always a go-to, especially when a lot of us live such busy, hectic lives. But, convenience doesn’t necessarily mean best, particularly when it comes to our health.
If you’re a ginger & garlic lover, then you’ll know all about the minced kind you can find in jars at your local supermarket. Perhaps you’ve bought a jar or two, or maybe you’re an avid minced ginger and garlic buyer. If so, stop everything! (But keep reading)
Is store-bought minced garlic and ginger good for you?
The short, not so much. You probably have no idea what I’m talking about if you’ve never read the ingredients list on the back of a jar. Unfortunately, when buying garlic and ginger in a jar, there’s usually added ingredients like sugar, salt and other preservatives. And if you’re trying to steer clear of such food groups, sadly, that little jar of what you thought was just innocent seasoning isn’t as wholesome as you thought.
If you’re someone who goes through a lot of garlic or ginger and is also trying to cut refined sugar out of your diet completely, it’s probably for the best if you avoid any minced store-bought kind.
Fresh is best
Instead of buying the prepackaged variety, opt for fresh garlic and ginger. There are no added ingredients when buying them whole, making them better (and tastier) for you. Never substitute your health for convenience. But don’t worry, I’ve added a few tips and tricks, so you can still easily access your garlic and ginger when you’re cooking at home.
Ginger | Tips, Tricks & Storage Ideas
Many people don’t like buying fresh ginger root because they either don’t know how to work with it (I know it can be daunting), or they find it too time-consuming to slice and grate it every time they need it for a dish. Thankfully, there’s a super simple solution!
Tip 1: For Convenience
Did you know that you don’t have to peel ginger before chopping? A lot of the ginger’s goodness sits right under the skin, and when you peel it, it reduces the number of nutrients per serve. Did you also know that you can chop ginger in a food processor? Yep, that’s right. By putting ginger root in a food processor (skin on), you can easily prepare chopped ginger without the need to grate.
- Wash the ginger root under running water
- Pat dry with a paper towel or tea towel
- Roughly slice the ginger root (with skin on) into smaller pieces
- Put the cut pieces into a food processor and process for about 30 seconds.
- Your freshly chopped ginger will last a week when stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
If you use a lot of ginger weekly, this method should be excellent for you. Slice & process enough for the week and store the rest in the fridge or freezer using one of the techniques below.
Tip 2: Purchasing
There are a few things to look out for to ensure you’re buying the best ginger possible that’s full of flavour and will keep for longer.
DO choose fresh ginger root that is firm to hold and has a smooth texture. It should also be heavy compared to its size.
AVOID Soft pieces that have wrinkled.
Tip 3: Storage
There are several techniques for storing fresh ginger root that’ll prolong its freshness. I’ve listed the best ones below.
- Ziplock bag method (whole ginger): if you like to bulk-buy fresh ginger, place each piece whole and unpeeled in a ziplock bag, making sure any air is pushed out. Store the bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. Storing your ginger this way will help it last for several weeks.
- Ziplock bag method (sliced or peeled ginger): once you start using your ginger, you can continue storing it this way; just remember to pat the exposed ginger dry with a paper towel before storing. It’s also important to note that once the ginger is exposed (after slicing), this particular piece will only last a week or two.
- The eco-friendly method (whole ginger): if you don’t like using plastic bags, you can also store ginger wrapped in a paper towel and then placed in a paper bag. Ensure the ginger is unpeeled and unsliced before wrapping it in the towel, and ensure there are no air holes or uncovered parts. Place the covered ginger in a paper bag and ensure to push all the air out before storing it in your vegetable crisper. This technique will see your ginger keep well for up to two weeks.
- The spirit method (peeled ginger): once your ginger root has been peeled, submerging each piece in a sealable jar or container full of spirits will ensure the ginger stays fresh for several weeks. The most regularly used alcohol are vodka, dry sherry, and rice wine, although it’s been shown that vodka keeps ginger the freshest for the longest while not altering the taste. You can also store ginger in an acidic liquid such as rice vinegar and fresh lime juice. However, remember that any liquid too harsh will alter the taste of the ginger over time.
- Freezer method (whole ginger): if you want to store your ginger for long periods, then the freezer method is the one for you. The simplest way is to freeze the ginger whole in an airtight freezer-safe bag. There is no need to peel or chop the ginger first unless you need specific sized pieces when cooking; if so, the method below will be better for you.
- Freezer method (sliced and chopped): Follow tip 1, but instead of placing it in a container, scoop tablespoons or teaspoons (depending on how much you use while cooking) worth of chopped ginger onto a baking paper-lined tray. Pop it into the freezer until each scoop is frozen, and then transfer each one into a freezer-safe container. Having exact amounts make it incredibly easy to add ginger to your cooking. For most dishes, including smoothies, frozen ginger is perfectly fine, but thaw it out first if you need to use it raw. Like the above technique, this way of storing will keep your ginger fresh for up to six months.
Garlic | Tips, Tricks & Storage Ideas
Garlic, although delicious, can be annoying to prepare each time you use it in a dish. Luckily there are ways you can prep garlic to make it more convenient. There are also ways you can enjoy more garlic without the pungent odour lingering.
Tip 1: Rid The Stench
If you’re a raw garlic lover, then you’ll know all about the ‘wonderful’ odours that come with each bulb. And although you may love the taste, I’m sure you’re not fond of the smell that hangs around. Besides the obvious; washing your hands after peeling or using mouthwash to rinse the stench away, a good trick is to eat a green apple or chew on some fresh mint. You can also try using roast garlic in your cooking instead of it raw as the smell of roast garlic isn’t as harsh.
Tip 2: Easy Roast Garlic
Roast garlic isn’t only delicious to eat as is, but it’s also great when added to dishes such as mash, stews and even dressings. Below we list two of the easiest ways to roast your garlic for convenience.
- Air fryer method: simply break up the garlic bulb into individual cloves. There’s no need to peel each clove completely; simply pop each one into the air fryer at 200 degrees Celcius for 5 minutes. When you’re ready to use the garlic, either use a knife to release the goodness or squeeze the bulb until the soft inner pops out. Air fryers are hands down the most convenient appliances when it comes to cooking. If you don’t know much about them, you can find more info and why we love them so much in our air fryer post.
- The foil package oven method: preheat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Break up the garlic bulb into individual cloves. Break each clove with the flat side of a knife first, so they roast faster but be sure not to remove them from the outer layer altogether. Put the cloves in a single layer on a piece of foil, and wrap them up to create a small foil package. Place the package in the oven for 20 minutes.
Tip 3: Quick & Easy Garlic Prep
Just like our tip 1 for ginger, you can also chop garlic in a food processor. There’s no need to cut or slice the garlic; just make sure to peel each clove beforehand. Bonus tip - use the flat side of a knife to press the garlic against your chopping board for easy peeling. Store your chopped garlic in an airtight container for up to a week.
Tip 4: Storage
- Storing roast garlic: If you use the foil package method (from tip 2), you can store the package straight in the fridge as is. Simply pop the garlic out of their cases when you’re ready to use them. You can also use a ziplock bag or a small container. This storage method will keep the garlic edible for up to two weeks, or if put in the freezer, for up to three months.
- Storing fresh garlic: Garlic will last for a few months when stored whole in a dark, dry place with plenty of air circulation. Once the bulb has been broken and individual cloves are exposed, the lifespan starts to decrease rapidly. Exposed cloves will keep for up to 10 days if stored in a dark, dry place. Bonus tip - avoid the fridge when storing fresh garlic as this environment will cause sprouting. Although still edible, sprouting garlic can taste quite bitter.
- Storing peeled, chopped & sliced garlic: Once the garlic has been peeled or chopped, the best place for it is either in the fridge or freezer. If you’re planning on using the garlic within a week or two, an airtight container in the refrigerator is fine. If you have quite a bit of chopped garlic, you can also store it in the freezer, which will keep the garlic for up to six months. Just like our ginger hack, scoop tablespoons or teaspoons (depending on how much you use while cooking) worth of chopped garlic onto a baking paper-lined tray and then pop it into the freezer until each scoop is hard. Transfer the garlic into a freezer-safe container once each scoop is frozen. Having exact amounts makes it incredibly easy to add garlic to your cooking. For most dishes, frozen ginger is perfectly fine, but thaw it out first if you need to use it raw.