How to Peel, Chop, and Grate Ginger

Ginger is an edible flowering plant that is in the family of the wonderfully named Zingiberaceae! Other members of this unique aromatic family include turmeric, cardamom and galangal.

It is an absolutely wonderful 'spice' and has been used over the centuries as both a food flavouring and a medicine and health tonic. It has a long and ancient past originating in South East Asia, and was exported to Europe with the spice trade.

In ancient China, the great philosopher Confucius was believed to have eaten ginger with every meal! India now exports the most ginger globally, supplying nearly 2 million tonnes of the total demand.

Uses of Ginger

Ginger has many culinary applications and is used in various ways, with vegetables, pickles, candy and even in alcoholic drinks. This fragrant spice is juicy and fibrous and can be peeled, chopped and grated to be used in different dishes. One role for ginger is in traditional Indian 'Ayurvedic' medicine, and is used in many hot and cold drinks. It is often used in vegetarian meals too, like lentil curries, by making a ginger garlic masala.

In Burma, they often use preserved shredded ginger with seeds and nuts in side salads, commonly called Gyin-Thot. For the people of Thailand, it is made into a paste and used in many chilli hot dishes.

For many of us, it's just simply great served as a tea with lemon and honey or in a stir-fry as it adds a lot of aromatic flavours.

Ginger and Health

Alongside its wonderful flavour, there are many associated health benefits to eating ginger in its various states. It is an excellent natural remedy for nausea relief as it increases the stomach's digestive function. It is also very high in antioxidants that help to manage free radical cells in the body.

Peeling Ginger with a Spoon

One way to peel ginger is with a teaspoon or a small spoon. Yes, it sounds a little strange but try it, as it is a very effective method to peel off the thin brown skin of a piece of ginger. Hold the ginger root firmly in one hand and then scrape with the edge of a spoon with the other. Obviously, like most culinary methods this may take a little practice, and you may have to try a different spoon to get the right edge that's best for the task. Work away with the spoon's edge to expose just enough ginger as you need. This way, the remaining ginger with its skin intact will keep longer in the fridge for the next time you need some.

Chopping and Mincing

One of the best ways of tackling ginger is to cut against the direction of the fibres into coin-shaped pieces and then slice these up into suitable-sized pieces depending on the required outcome. For some dishes you can 'julienne' into thin matchsticks which will allow the aromatic flavours to be readily released when cooking. If you fancy making candied ginger, then simply use the coin-shaped pieces, which are ideal for preserving.

Grating Ginger

One top tip is if you want to grate ginger, use a frozen stem. This can be easily stored in the freezer in cling film or in a plastic storage bag until required. Now all you need to do is grate away the quantity you need with a suitable grater. It is possible to use a so-called micro-grater for a finely grated finish! Just as we advise for slicing grate across the direction of the fibres for the best results!