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Dec 26, 2006 05:12 AM

To Peel or Not: Ginger Root

I use a lot of ginger root in cooking. I generally scrub the root under water with a stiff brush, then grate on a ceramic ginger grater. Recently, some friends have been telling me that I should peel the ginger because of health concerns (toxins in soil, etc.)

Now, I am a person who thinks potato skins are marvelous to eat (well-scrubbed, like any veg in my kitchen). I scrub my farmers' market carrots before roasting, but do not peel (that's for supermarket carrots, and the peels (washed, go to my guinea pigs). Is ginger root grown in conditions that would suggest I need to peel it first?

I am of the "waste-not, want-not" persuasion - peeling ginger root seems A) wasteful, because of the shape(s); and B) a PITA, because of the shape(s).

Still, I wonder. Should I be peeling the root before grating? Thoughts either way?

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  1. I always peel gingerroot. Actually, scrape it with a spoon, you lose less of the root that way. On the other hand, I've eaten at many a Chinese restaurant where fresh ginger has been sliced and added to a dish with the peel clearly intact. I don't know about the possible health hazards; I guess I peel the stuff because we always did it that way when I first learned to cook with it.

    1. i always figured that cooking anything would kill any issues surrounding food borne illness. i only peel ginger if it is going to be chopped and therefore eaten. but most of the time, i add large slices to whatever i'm cooking (with the peel on) and then fish them out when i serve it.

      1. I don't peel ginger, either. If I chop it, it is so fine, the roughage of the peel is insignificant. Ditto for grating. If preserving by soaking in simple syrup or candying it, I'd peel it.

        1. A potato skin is tasty, a ginger root skin is not. Why peel an onion? Garlic? Because the skin tastes bad. Scrape it with a spoon.

          1. My parents never peeled ginger while I was growing up. But I also grew up where ginger was fresh and was hardly dirty. A good scrubbing should be fine. I do peel and try to chop it really fine when I make arroz caldo (rice porridge w/ chicken) for my 1 year old.