Q: I never seem to have fresh ginger when I need it. What is the best way to store a piece of fresh ginger for later use and how long will it last?
Greg Griffith, Chicago
A: Ginger! I’m old enough to remember when ginger was a rarity found only in ethnic groceries. Now, fresh ginger seems to be sold in every supermarket. It’s a great thing — ginger adds such an aromatic zing to stir-fries, soups, salad dressings and much, much more.
You can refrigerate unpeeled gingerroot, tightly wrapped, for up to 3 weeks, according to “The New Food Lover’s Companion.” You can freeze it for 6 months. To use the frozen root, the companion recommends slicing off an unthawed piece as big as you need and putting the remainder back in the freezer.
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Peeled ginger should be placed in a lidded glass jar, covered with dry sherry or Madeira, and refrigerated for up to 3 months, the Companion notes, adding, “The wine will impart some of its flavor to the ginger — a minor disadvantage to weigh against having peeled ginger ready and waiting. On the plus side, the delicious ginger-flavored wine can be reused for cooking.”
Another factor to consider: Buy only what you think you can reasonably use. That can be a challenge if all you find in the produce bin are roots as big as antlers. What I do — and this may violate all rules of ginger etiquette — is simply snap off a piece roughly the size I want. I feel funny about this at times but no one has ever said anything about it so far, nor have I ever seen a “don’t break up the ginger” sign posted.