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Must I Peel the Ginger?

Is it always necessary to peel ginger before grating it (for cooking)? It's such a pain...

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  1. I believe the dictum is if the ginger is to remain in the dish when served, the ginger should be peeled. However, if the ginger is a component of a marinade, for example, it does not have to be peeled. Having said that, I think there will be a debate about , "to peel or not to peel." In any case, if the peel is scrubbed carefully, I don't see why it has to be peeled. Who's on first?

    1. Yes, I think you should peel the ginger. The outer skin is pretty tough. When I get a new piece of ginger I peel the whole thing, then thinly slice and store in a small jelly jar covered with sherry. When I need a bit of ginger, it is always ready for me.

      1. Sometimes the peel can impart a slight bitterness, but not always.
        I usually peel the ginger if it's going remain in the dish (grated, cubed, sliced, pressed, etc) but don't peel if it's going to be removed (flavoring for boiled dishes, soups, stocks, etc).
        Most of the time it probably won't make a difference but you can always do a taste test by grating a tiny amount and checking for the "bitter" level.

        1 Reply
        1. re: hannaone

          I've always been a ginger peeler, but last month I made the fresh ginger ice cream from The Perfect Scoop. And since David Lebovitz didn't say anything about peeling and I had barely enough unpeeled ginger to make up the amount needed (weighed)... I just chopped it up, peel and all. His recipe called for two blanchings in hot water which took care of any bitterness, and I strained the ginger pieces out after infusing the cream with it. Worked like a charm.

        2. I've read and seen on tv that if it is young and fresh, ginger really does not need to be peeled at all because the skin is quite thin and I've found this to be true whether it stays in the dish or not.

          1. No need to peel it if you're grating it with a rasp. It you're using a ceramic grater, peeling it makes the grating easier.

            1. Having just used ginger two hours ago in a soup, I peeled, but not obsessively. Generally, I peel unless I'm really tired. If you're stir-frying, it's probably easier to avoid peeling.

              1. You can peel ginger more easily by using the tip of a spoon rather than a paring knife. The skin generally comes off quickly this way, plus you'll take off less of the flesh along with the skin.

                4 Replies
                1. re: amyzan

                  I learned this a while back. I use to cut the peel off and sacrifice some ginger but the spoon method is really easy and make ease of getting around the nooks of the smaller knobs so there is little waste. I've seen food tv people say you don't have to peel it but like with carrots you have to ask yourself would you eat the peel as a rule. If not peel it.

                  1. re: scubadoo97

                    I saw a Scandinavian cooking show once and the chef passed on the spoon trick to peel ginger. As amyzan states, you save a lot more ginger using a spoon rather than a knife because you can get all around the nooks and crannies of the hand. It's also much faster.

                    For some odd reason, ginger is used in a lot of Scandinavian cooking.

                  2. re: amyzan

                    Wow!! I just tried using the tip of a spoon and it was so quick and easy!! Thanks for the "tip"!!!

                    1. re: Petunia53

                      There was a Chow Tips on this a while back.....showed peeling a whole root with a spoon. I could only find this one:


                  3. I don't use a whole piece of ginger that quickly, so I freeze it and grate it frozen, peel and all, when I need it.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: coll

                      This is exactly what I do too. Freeze, then grate frozen on a microplane. It works perfectly!

                    2. The skin has a lot of flavor, so I don't peel it when using it for stocks, soups or for braising meats. Sometimes I will just crush it with one whack of the knife, leaving the skin on - but then I am not planning on eating it. If I am going to use it in a dish where it can be eaten (sliced, chopped, minced or slivered) then I'll peel it.

                      1. i just use a normal vegetable peeler instead of trying to pare it with a knife...i look at it the same way i look at peeling carrots or potatoes...a necessary evil. :o)

                        11 Replies
                        1. re: soypower

                          I have a great veg peeler, and don't mind peeling, generally, but ginger's a pain with all the knobbiness...

                          1. re: Jim Leff

                            I usually slice the skin off with a paring knife rather than use a peeler. However, if I'm grating the ginger on a microplane, I don't bother, as the skin does not get grated - stays on top.

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              Really? For me the skin totally gets grated in my microplane. I wonder why the different experience...?

                              1. re: Jim Leff

                                Maybe mine is "finer" than yours? (I seem to recall we've had grater discussions before - grin!)

                                1. re: MMRuth

                                  Maybe it was you who suggested a microplane...I have a good yuppie one now....but EVERYTHING gets grated, i could probably pass pencils thru this thing....

                                  1. re: Jim Leff

                                    Dude, it migrated to the kitchen from the workshop, where it was a humble fine plane for wood. It was *designed* to grate pencils. [g].

                                    1. re: Jim Leff

                                      You are either braver or crazier than me. My microplane has stayed in the drawer since I bought it. If I tried to use it I would likely shred a few fingers.

                                      At least this thread is topical, doing some stir frys this week and just got a big ol' hand of ginger, maybe a spoon would be safest for me, but I've got a feeling I will lose patience with that method.

                                      1. re: ChinoWayne

                                        Keep the food next to the microplane's rasp, and the fingers away from it ChinoWayne, and prepare to have your world rocked. Once you've used the microplane, you will never go back, I swear.

                                2. re: MMRuth

                                  The late Barbara Tropp, who owned an Asian restaurant in SF for many years said that one of her cooks convinced them that peeling ginger was not necessary and most everybody stopped peeling.

                                3. re: Jim Leff

                                  That's why you use a spoon. As mentioned by other posters, it works like a charm. Very quick, very easy.

                              2. The skin seems thicker on old ginger so I peel that but when using really young ginger there really isn't a need.

                                1. I never peel ginger. It is either used as a flavor element in a infusion (and discarded) or chopped so finely it isn't detecatable. I can't see where it would ever be absoulutely necessary unless you are making a pickle where you'd be eating whole slices.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: toodie jane

                                    GINGER TEA
                                    Ginger in honey lemon tea needs no peeling. Just cut a few thick slices and add to boiling water. A great cold preventative. Take before bed.

                                    Eat a slice of raw,'unpeeled' ginger daily for the same medicinal purpose.
                                    You'll get use to the tangy ginger taste. I did.

                                    1. re: fruglescot

                                      Yep...when I already have a cold, I crave ginger lemon tea, it's great. Ginger is also a digestive aid, I've read.

                                  2. I tend to pare off the parts that look dried out, but then just scrub and use. The ginger grater I use is from a Japanese 98 cent store and it gives me all meat with the "skin" and major fibrous bits left on top.

                                    1. I generally don't peel it. Peels in general do impart a bitterness, but I'm not bothered by it too much. But I'm also the type who doesn't bother salting eggplants either.

                                      1. I'm surprised to read everyone doesn't really peel. I peel it every time with a ceramic peeler - it's fast and I just cut off tiny knobs that are irritating to try peel around.

                                        Most ginger sold in stores seems to have old/tough skin, not young ginger, and like the skin has picked up extra... I don't know... "stuff", so I just feel better peeling it always.

                                        1. My mom and grandmothers never peeled ginger, but I don't know if that's because they weren't familar with the implements (I can assure you that there were no peelers, rasps, or maybe even spoons in mid-century rural China) or if they thought it unnecessary. Even today my mom and I never peel ginger, but then we don't buy tough ginger, either.

                                          1. I always peel the ginger knobs that I use in cooking. A standard peeler works, as does the edge of a sharp or finely-serrated knife, but the real difficulty is holding the knob of ginger with your other hand while peeling. The ginger slips out of your fingers too easily and your knuckles get peeled instead --- but I found a great solution to this problem: If you screw a cork screw all the way up to the hilt into the long end of a big nob of ginger, you can hold the handle of the cork screw with one hand and peel with the other. The cork screw holds the ginger very securely so you can peel much faster and not worry about cutting your fingers.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. I think it depends on my use. If its going into a dish where I will be directly eating it like a stir fry or on top of steamed fish I mostly use it in finely julienned form and I have always "peeled" it but my peeling mostly involved scraping the skin off with a knife. Its easy and quick. If I'm going to whirr it up in the food processor (I don't grate heh) for some kind of marinade or sauce, I don't bother to peel.

                                              1. I always hate having to buy ginger when I only need a small amount. The last time I bought a rather large piece, I peeled it with a spoon, chopped it into a few pieces and tossed it into my mini-food processor with a little olive oil. I keep the paste in a little airtight container in the freezer, and when I need it, I just microwave it for a 15-20 seconds, just long enough to scoop out however much I need. I also have a container of garlic processed the same way. It's so much more convenient than buying it as I need it.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: gmm

                                                  May I say, not a good idea to put it in the Microwave. You are killing all the nutrients. Putting in the Mico every time the same batch, really destroys everything. Make your batch and put it in ice cube trays then you can use one at a time and save the nutrients. After they are hard, I pop them out and put them in a baggie and then it is easy to use one at a time.