You've probably bought a big chunk of fresh ginger root in the past and then used only an inch of it in a recipe. If not preserved in some way, the rest of the ginger forms mold or dries up before you can use all of it. That never needs to happen to you again if you master these ways to preserve ginger.
Freeze the Leftover Ginger
When you freeze ginger, don't bother peeling the ginger first because it is easier to peel ginger after it is frozen. Just cut the ginger root into approximately 1-inch chunks. Freeze the chunks in a single layer on a plate or cookie sheet, uncovered, for 1 to 2 hours. Transfer the frozen chunks to freezer containers or bags.
The initial single layer freeze keeps the chunks of ginger from clumping together so you can take out only as many pieces as you need at a time.
Make It Boozy
Soak the ginger in brandy or sherry. First, cut the fresh ginger into approximately 1-inch chunks and then peel the chunks—or peel, then cut, depending on how gnarly your ginger rhizome is. Put the peeled ginger chunks into a clean glass jar and cover them with dry sherry or brandy. Secure the lid and store in a cool, dark place such as your refrigerator or cellar.
Use the boozy ginger in any cooked recipe, particularly curries. The alcoholic taste evaporates and the ginger flavor shines through. Add it as is to cocktails that are compatible with ginger ale flavor or to apple cider.
Pickle Ginger Strips
Peel and cut the ginger into thin strips and pickle it with a lightly tart vinegar brine. Just like the pickled ginger that is served as a palate cleanser with sushi and sashimi.
Ferment Ginger for Healthy Sodas
Ferment the ginger into naturally carbonated, healthy sodas and real ginger ale. Wait, what?! Healthy sodas? That's right, naturally fermented sodas are rich in beneficial probiotic bacteria that are good for everything from boosting your immune system to curing your tummy ache.
You make lacto-fermented sodas by starting out with something called a ginger bug. That's a starter culture made with fresh ginger that turns any fruit juice into a bubbly beverage. Once you've got a ginger bug started, you can keep it going pretty much forever.
Add Ginger to Chutneys
Add ginger to any sweet preserves and chutneys. Ginger is a classic pairing with rhubarb and pears.
Dry Ginger for Baking
Mince the ginger into small pieces. Spread it in a shallow layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and dry it in a 150 F oven, stirring occasionally. Grind the ginger in an electric grinder to use in baked goods such as ginger snap cookies or gingerbread. Be sure not to dry ginger in big pieces; It becomes rock hard when dried and you won't be able to grind it without burning your electric grinder's motor.