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Peeling ginger

learning2 Jan 2, 2013 04:56 PM

Is there an easy way to peel ginger? Seems once I get around the knots and gnarls I don't have much left. I've tried veggie peelers and knives [They turn the ginger red. Blood you know.] Is there an easier way?

  1. l
    lsmutko Jan 2, 2013 05:33 PM

    I just recently learned to use a spoon. The papery peel comes right off, leaving you maximum yield of the root.

    7 Replies
    1. re: lsmutko
      Kalivs Jan 2, 2013 06:57 PM

      +1 for spoons!

      1. re: Kalivs
        scubadoo97 Jan 3, 2013 05:29 AM


        1. re: scubadoo97
          letsindulge Jan 3, 2013 09:31 PM

          +3. Very minimal waste.

      2. re: lsmutko
        TraderJoe Jan 4, 2013 03:10 AM

        I wash the ginger first or wet it before using the spoon. I also find ginger freezes really well so I grate and freeze small pouches that I form from plastic wrap. It's super handy to just pull one from the freezer all cleaned and ready when I want it.

        1. re: lsmutko
          grayelf Jan 4, 2013 07:48 AM

          I made chicken adobo for NYE dinner and the spoon trick was mentioned in the recipe. I had never seen it either despite cooking many different gingerroot-using dishes over lo these many years.

          I have to say I tend to use either the microplane method if I need fine ginger or the cut-a-cross-section-and-peel method. Or just smash a big piece up a bit and toss it in whole, if I'm feeling really lazy and it's a braise-type dish.

          1. re: grayelf
            letsindulge Jan 4, 2013 10:28 AM

            Hmmm...ginger in chicken adobo?!

            1. re: letsindulge
              grayelf Jan 4, 2013 11:04 PM

              Bit of a modern take, from Kevin Luzande.

        2. Perilagu Khan Jan 2, 2013 06:55 PM

          I actually loathe peeling garlic more than peeling ginger. Dam' garlic oil is sticky stuff, dontchaknow.

          9 Replies
          1. re: Perilagu Khan
            rccola Jan 2, 2013 07:42 PM

            I'm sure you know this: Unless you want a whole clove of garlic, put a broad knife's side on the clove and bang your fist on the other side of the knife. The peel will slide right off and the clove be smushed down and ready to chop.

            1. re: rccola
              Perilagu Khan Jan 3, 2013 09:44 AM

              Yes, I've done that. Banging the clove with the palm of your hand also works. But almost inevitably, the peel splinters somewhat, the oil goes everywhere, and I still wind up with rather a mess. Ginger, by comparison, is fairly neat--if not somewhat persnickety--to work with.

              1. re: Perilagu Khan
                rccola Jan 3, 2013 09:52 AM

                I've not had that happen--the oil going everywhere. Sometimes cloves are still whole. Perhaps a Khan bang is more powerful?

                Using your palm = smushed clove on palm.

                Try side of knife with gentle bang!

                1. re: rccola
                  Perilagu Khan Jan 3, 2013 12:35 PM

                  I'll endeavor to go more gently into that good kitchen.

                2. re: Perilagu Khan
                  tcamp Jan 3, 2013 11:23 AM

                  Interesting, I've never had the oil spattering problem. You must be much stronger than I.

                  I use a small rock, flat on one side and fitting perfectly into my palm. Line up the cloves on a cutting board, then gently whack each one with the garlic rock. Cut off the base of the clove and the skin slips right off.

                  1. re: tcamp
                    JMF Jan 4, 2013 07:02 AM

                    I used to use a rock as well. I lived in Maine for three years recently and found a perfect beach rock. It was curved on one side to nicely fit my hand, just large enough so that I couldn't accidentally get my fingers underneath, and almost perfectly flat on the bottom. I also had one similar with more of a rounded bottom that I used as a pestle. I have them packed away with most of my kitchen gear currently since I am living in a small apartment right now and have a house full of furniture and kitchen gear in storage. I think I will have to pull them out and start using them again.

              2. re: Perilagu Khan
                MplsM ary Jan 3, 2013 09:51 PM

                This link has been posted many times here, but it bears repeating: Hot to Peel a Head of Garlic in Less Than 10 Seconds... http://www.saveur.com/article/Video/v...

                I just love when he tells you to "... shake the dickens out of it." I bought a plastic lidded container for use as garbage bowl and garlic peeler (of course washed between uses for either task).

                1. re: MplsM ary
                  Midlife Jan 4, 2013 01:28 PM

                  I've never tried that method, but most heads of garlic I buy won't even get past the first stage. Slamming my palm down on them does NOT free all the cloves. On many cloves, the skin is anchored tight to the root end and isn't coming free easily without 'smushing' and, even then, I often have to cut the root end first. Just sayin'. The only real difficulty I have is when I want whole cloves and just can't get the skin to come free. I don't really mind garlic under my fingernails, but it happens.

                  1. re: Midlife
                    JMF Jan 4, 2013 02:50 PM

                    for whole cloves the best thing is a garlic peeler. A rubber tube about 6" long, and 1.5" diameter made of thin rubber. Put a clove in and rub tube between two hands. Removes the skin easily.

              3. l
                LBinFL Jan 2, 2013 07:00 PM

                I also use a spoon. Most times I use a microplane to grate the ginger into my recipe, very little waste this way.

                2 Replies
                1. re: LBinFL
                  wonderwoman Jan 3, 2013 05:24 AM

                  second this. i've found that for some reason, the microplane grates only the ginger, not the peel, so it doesn't have to be peeled. and no biting into a chunk of ginger.

                  also, i store my ginger in a glass jar in the freezer -- doesn't dry out.

                  1. re: LBinFL
                    mpjmph Jan 4, 2013 12:10 PM

                    Same here. It I need slices of ginger, I use a spoon. If I'm grating, I just grate it peel and all.

                  2. ipsedixit Jan 2, 2013 07:06 PM

                    Pick and buy ginger with less knots and gnarls.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: ipsedixit
                      Perilagu Khan Jan 3, 2013 09:45 AM

                      Sage advice.

                      1. re: ipsedixit
                        johnb Jan 3, 2013 10:02 AM

                        I find ginger is pretty cheap and it's not worth the work trying to salvage every little part. So I just look for fairly fat knobs with as few little gnarls as possible. When I need some, I cut off a piece of the trunk crosswise to yield a smooth and uniform, barrel-shaped chunk, then put the cut edge down on a board and go around slicing off the peel. It's easy enough to save the pieces of peel and the rest of the non-uniform parts for another purpose if one wants to do that.

                        1. re: johnb
                          Bacardi1 Jan 3, 2013 10:41 AM

                          That's what I do as well.

                          1. re: johnb
                            tcamp Jan 3, 2013 11:19 AM

                            Yep, this is the easiest way.

                            1. re: johnb
                              Perilagu Khan Jan 3, 2013 12:36 PM

                              The same.

                              1. re: johnb
                                scubadoo97 Jan 3, 2013 02:14 PM

                                Cheap it's not. At least not in our local grocery stores. Average 5 bucks a pound. I try to buy mine at local Asian markets where the price is more realistic.

                                1. re: scubadoo97
                                  queenscook Jan 3, 2013 02:22 PM

                                  Even at $5 a pound, that's only 31 cents an ounce. I just measured the piece of ginger I currently have; it's 3 inches by 1 inch, and doesn't even weigh 2 oz. And if I grated it, I'm sure it would give me at least 2 or 3 tablespoons full. I have never made anything that called for that much, so I would still call that pretty cheap.

                                  1. re: queenscook
                                    scubadoo97 Jan 4, 2013 07:01 PM

                                    I dont use a lot of saffron per dish but saffron is expensive. When a plant root that is easy to grow is the price of steak that's still expensive to me. Especially when I find it fresher for nearly half the price. But I know where your coming from

                            2. e
                              escondido123 Jan 2, 2013 07:15 PM

                              I have found that once I cut off the knobs, the easiest way to "peel" it is to grate the skin off all sides....take that away and you can then just grate it.

                              1. Chemicalkinetics Jan 2, 2013 07:33 PM

                                Using spoon or knife spine is one way. The other way is to cut ginger in section and then peel the skin. This way you will lose less.

                                1. h
                                  HillJ Jan 2, 2013 08:16 PM

                                  I wash the root really well. Paper cloth to dry and then I use a super fine microplane to grate the fresh ginger, peel & all. I never peel ginger.

                                  1. f
                                    fourunder Jan 2, 2013 08:48 PM

                                    I know many Chinese who do not peel ginger and the thought to do so has never entered their mind.

                                    I cut off dried ends and knots...crush them or add them directly to stock.

                                    Whether I peel or not depends on whether I'm serving to company or for myself

                                    If I do peel, I use a spoon or the back of a butter spreader knife.

                                    1. Veggo Jan 3, 2013 10:20 AM

                                      I peel the easy parts, ignoring the nooks and crannies, and then I use a fine grater I bought just for ginger, and the remaining peel somehow unpeels on top of the grater and doesn't pass through it.
                                      Also, as Ipse advises, steer clear of ginger that resembles the illustrations in the Boy Scout Handbook about tieing knots.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Veggo
                                        ipsedixit Jan 3, 2013 10:22 AM

                                        Gordian Ginger. Yum!

                                      2. raytamsgv Jan 3, 2013 11:26 AM

                                        Have you considered using young ginger? The peel is actually very soft, and the flavor is far milder than older ginger.

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: raytamsgv
                                          Chemicalkinetics Jan 3, 2013 02:53 PM

                                          Young ginger is awesome, but much more difficult to find.

                                          1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                            HillJ Jan 3, 2013 03:30 PM

                                            True, I wish I could find it year round. Only spring time in my Asian market here in NJ-CA, much easier.

                                            1. re: HillJ
                                              ipsedixit Jan 3, 2013 06:50 PM

                                              Costco has them sometimes.

                                              1. re: ipsedixit
                                                HillJ Jan 3, 2013 08:25 PM

                                                Can't say I've ever seen fresh young ginger at Costco/NJ in all my years as a member-but it would be lovely if they did carry it.

                                              2. re: HillJ
                                                Chemicalkinetics Jan 3, 2013 07:03 PM

                                                Heh heh heh. They do carry the young gingers sometime, don't they? Regardless, my point is that using young ginger as a substitution for old ginger is not a year-round solution.

                                                1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                  HillJ Jan 4, 2013 07:28 AM

                                                  If Costco in NJ carries it, I have not seen it there. I do buy it in the Asian markets when avail tho. I actually enjoy this variety more....but I got your pt. Chem.

                                            2. re: raytamsgv
                                              JMF Jan 4, 2013 07:04 AM

                                              I stock up on young ginger. Ginger in general freezes well. So does galangal. A gently brushing while washing removes the skin, but with young ginger I don't even bother peeling much of the time.

                                              With regular ginger I sometimes don't bother peeling and just wash with a brush. Sometimes even mature gingers peel comes off with a veggie brush.

                                            3. c
                                              cheesemonger Jan 3, 2013 06:55 PM

                                              Peeling ginger? Never done it.

                                              I use a bamboo ginger grater that produces pulp without strings and peel. Easiest thing ever.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: cheesemonger
                                                pdxgastro Jan 3, 2013 07:36 PM

                                                My friend returned to Japan and left me his porcelain grater which I had always coveted. :o)

                                              2. MplsM ary Jan 3, 2013 09:57 PM

                                                I hate it too, so I try the spoon method which works sometimes. Mostly I just suck it up and use a paring knife. I buy large amounts and peel it all and then preserve my work in alcohol. Right now I have a rather large jar of rummy ginger and the last little knob of vodka ginger (That'll be used for hot lemonade when next I have a cold).

                                                1. JMF Jan 4, 2013 07:14 AM

                                                  Several times a year when I see ginger on sale for $0.99 lb. I buy 10-20 lbs. I run it, peel and all, (I check to see if peel is bitter) through my heavy duty juicer. Some I freeze as is in ice cube trays, then vacuum pack. Stays good forever. The rest I add equal part sugar and make ginger syrup. I then hot can it. It has a several year shelf life. Both the sugar, and the natural antiseptic qualities of ginger, mean it stays good for a long time. Once opened and kept in the fridge it has at least 3-4 months it stays good. Maybe longer but it actually rarely lasts that long.

                                                  I also bulk chop ginger in my food processor. Without peeling, and freeze in ice cube trays and vacuum pack as well. Instant minced ginger.

                                                  (I don't chop ginger much by hand anymore. Around ten years ago my nephew ran into the kitchen and tackle-hugged me from behind while I was chopping ginger. I cut off the whole top 1/3" of my left middle finger. Thankfully it was reattached with no problems and is fully functional and no nerve damage.)

                                                  1. DuchessNukem Jan 4, 2013 07:36 PM

                                                    I buy fattest roots as possible. Then I segment at joints, halve, place fat side down on board, and gently pare. I see that some folks don't peel but I prefer the peeled look.

                                                    I don't worry about loss of peels and stubs as waste because, like fourunder, I use them in stock/broth. I add to the bag of frozen veggie ends and they blend beautifully.

                                                    1. Caroline1 Jan 4, 2013 11:20 PM

                                                      I used to peel ginger. What a waste of time AND ginger! Now I simply wash it well, put it in a zip lock sandwich bag, toss it in the freezer. When I want some ginger, out comes the Microplane zester and the frozen ginger, and voila! Magic! The peel seems to vanish, the ginger is very juicy when tossed in the pan, and then the ginger goes right back in the freezer until next time. I do this even for dishes that call for sliced ginger. Well, unless it calls for slices of candied ginger, but that a different horse. Sliced fresh ginger can be rather "pithy" when cooked, and finely grated ginger is just that: finely grated and pith free!

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