Does Ginger Go Bad?

The uses for ginger, whether it’s fresh ginger root or ground ginger, are infinite, but you’re probably curious about how to tell when either has gone bad.  Let’s figure it out.

Quick Answer

Fresh ginger root lasts about a week on the counter and up to three months in the refrigerator.  Ground ginger, which should only be stored in a pantry or cupboard, should have a date stamped on the container, but you can expect it to stay fresh for an additional one to two years after the date.  Once no longer fresh, both should be thrown away as the dried will no longer be as potent and the fresh could make you sick.

Ginger is a great addition to many sweet and savory dishes and it’s important to have fresh ginger to ensure the proper flavor.

Does Ginger Go Bad? How Long Does Ginger Last?

Ginger, fresh or ground, will eventually spoil.  There are some tips, however, to help your ginger stay as fresh as possible for as long as possible.

How Long Does Ginger Last Outside?

Fresh ginger can be stored on the counter and should last up to a week.  To keep it fresh as long as possible, the ginger shouldn’t be peeled until right before you use it.  Fresh ginger peel is dry and firm and is easily removed with the back of a spoon or a knife.

It’s worth noting that the larger the piece of fresh ginger, the longer the ginger will last.  Recipes often call for a smaller amount than you usually buy in the store so each time you remove a piece of ginger, it shortens the freshness time for the rest of the ginger.

Ground ginger will lose its potency over time but should be stored in a pantry or cabinet as far away from the heat as possible.  If you can still smell the ginger when you open the container, it’s fine to use.  If not, it should be replaced.

How Long Does Ginger Last in the Fridge?

Fresh ginger can be stored in the refrigerator and if properly stored could last as long as three months.  It’s best to store unpeeled ginger in a food storage bag, releasing as much air as possible, in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator.

Ginger can be peeled and stored in the refrigerator as well it just won’t last as long.  Ginger that has been peeled should last only a few days stored in the refrigerator.

Once you remove a portion of the ginger from the larger piece of ginger, it’s a good idea to wipe the remaining larger piece with a paper towel or napkin to remove as much moisture as possible.

How Long Does Ginger Last in the Freezer?

Fresh ginger can be stored in the freezer for up to six months.  For it to last as long as possible it too needs to be stored correctly.

Ginger should be stored in a food storage bag with as much air removed as possible.  Moisture and air will encourage spoiling for ginger so eliminating them will help the ginger last as long as possible.

Ginger can be frozen peeled or unpeeled.  If peeled, you will want to grate it and then freeze it in smaller quantities.  If unpeeled, you will want to freeze it in usable size pieces.

If stored properly fresh ginger should last for quite some time and will be ready to add to many of your favorite recipes.  Ginger is great in tea and smoothies, just to name a few.

How To Tell If Ginger Has Gone Bad / How To Know Ginger is Fresh?

Fresh ginger has a pretty long shelf life if stored properly, but ginger that has gone bad should be thrown away.  It’s important to know what to look for in your ginger to be sure it’s fresh.

Dry, firm skin:  Ginger that is fresh should have dry, firm skin and the color of the skin should be consistent. If the skin is wrinkled or shows signs of mold, then the ginger should be thrown away.

Yellow flesh:  Once peeled fresh ginger should be yellow inside and should be of the same consistent color throughout.  If there are any dark or green spots in the ginger flesh those should be removed.  If the dark or green spots are more predominant than not, the entire piece of ginger should be thrown away.

Smells like ginger:  Fresh ginger typically has a distinct smell to it.  Ginger that has gone bad will smell much less like ginger and will smell more like it has spoiled.  If your ginger doesn’t smell fresh when you go to use it you should throw it away.

Consistent texture:  Your ginger should also have flesh that is consistently the same texture.  Fresh ginger will not be mushy in any way.  If your ginger is mushy, then it should be discarded.

Fresh ginger will have the same color flesh throughout and will be the same yellow or golden color inside.  Consider throwing away any ginger that isn’t fresh.

How to Store Ginger?

Fresh ginger should be stored properly so it can last as long as possible.  Ginger is a root so while it will last a while, it won’t last forever.

Dark and dry:  Fresh ginger lasts the longest stored away from moisture and air. Ginger should be kept in a food storage bag with as much air removed as possible.

Pat dry:  As you remove a smaller piece of ginger from the larger piece, you should wick away any moisture on the remaining larger piece.  This can easily be done by dabbing a napkin or paper towel on the place where you removed the piece.  Drying out the outside will help to keep the inside fresh.

Can You Freeze Ginger? How?

Fresh ginger can be frozen, but it will change the composition of the ginger so you will want to have a plan for its use.

Grated or in pieces:  Fresh ginger can be frozen but you should consider how you’re going to use it.  You can either grate the ginger, and freeze it in small quantities or you can slice the ginger into useable pieces for example one-inch pieces would be ideal, and freeze as-is.

Food storage bag:  It’s best to freeze your ginger in a food storage bag with as much of the air removed as possible.  This will keep your ginger as fresh as it can be for as long as possible.

Freezing ginger will increase the water content of the ginger so it will likely seem mushy once thawed.  It’s fine to use, you will just want to use it quickly upon thawing.  You can also grate the ginger onto a paper towel to capture as much of the water as much as possible.  You can add ginger to your favorite recipes directly from the paper towel.

How to Thaw Ginger?

Fresh ginger can be frozen for up to six months.  This is helpful so you can always have ginger on hand.  When you’re ready to use it, just remove the portion you’d like to use and leave it on the counter for 30 minutes or so.

Once mostly thawed, you can easily peel and grate your ginger into whatever recipe you have in mind.  If your ginger seems too watery, grate it directly onto a paper towel and then transfer it to your dish from the paper towel.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ginger’s Shelf Life

Fresh ginger can seem a little intimidating at first, but it’s very easy to use.  Here are a few of the most popular questions people have when trying to understand how best to store their ginger:

Should ginger be peeled before it is stored?  Ginger will last for up to three months stored unpeeled in a food storage bag and kept in your refrigerator.  If you would like to peel the ginger first, that’s fine, but it will only last a few days in your refrigerator.

If my ginger has a little bit of mold on it can I still use it?  For ginger with a little bit of mold, it is perfectly fine to remove the part with the mold and use the remaining ginger as you normally would provided the rest of the ginger has the same consistent, firm skin and the inside is consistently yellow.

Wrap Up

Fresh ginger can be kept on hand in your refrigerator for up to three months.  What is your favorite way to use fresh ginger?  Tell us in the comments below.

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