Ready to learn how to use ginger root in a variety of ways?
Beyond tossing slices of fresh ginger into hot water — or drinking your favorite ginger shot — you may wonder how to use that knobby root for other purposes. Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory and delicious root long upheld for its medicinal purposes, including fighting germs and enhancing immunity.
Best of all, it can be used in a ton of different ways in the kitchen. With so many versatile uses, you’ll never let your ginger root shrivel up in the produce drawer again.
In this post, we take a look at all the ways you can use this powerful root in drinks, food, and even on your skin!
Here’s a look at how to use ginger root and integrate it into your life in a variety of ways.
Finding Your Perfect Ginger
When you decide you need to start integrating more ginger into your life, it becomes a game-changer — especially if you opt to use fresh ginger. Its citrusy scent and strong flavor make it an excellent spice to have on hand at all times.
Ginger root has been used since ancient times for flavoring dishes and as an anti-inflammatory to treat headaches, sore throats, and more.
But first, before you can benefit from all these health perks, you must know how to spot the perfect ginger root in a piled-high basket at your local grocer.
A few tips on snagging the perfect piece:
- You don’t have to take that entire huge root - If you don’t have a ton of recipes you want to use it for, just snap off what you need. This is actually the first test in finding the perfect root. You want a piece that snaps off easily.
- Make sure it’s snappy - Fresh ginger is firm and will snap when you break it. If it’s soft and quite wrinkled, it’s past its prime and won’t taste as fresh.
- Look for shiny skin - Fresh ginger won’t have dark spots. The skin should be taut and mostly free of blemishes. But remember, it is a knobby root!
- It stores well - Even if you break off a bit more than you intend to use right away, ginger stores quite nicely, so you can keep some extra on hand if you store it right.
STORAGE TIP: If you’re not planning on peeling it straight away, store ginger in the fridge for up to a few weeks. Peeled ginger doesn’t keep as long, so store it in an airtight container. You can also store it frozen (unpeeled) for up to six months.
Preparing Ginger Root for Use
Peeling ginger is quite the sensory experience. As you peel away the brown layers, a vibrant, yellow skin appears, releasing a citrusy aroma that’s incredibly fragrant. If you’ve tried using a vegetable peeler as a way to skin it, we have a hack below you’ll love that makes the process so much easier.
How to Peel Ginger
Despite its knobby appearance, you may be surprised to know how easy it is to peel ginger’s skin. In fact, the skin can be peeled away with a spoon! Because the skin is very thin, all you need to do is rub the tip of the spoon across the ginger and the brown layers will fall away.
You can also use a vegetable peeler, but you may lose a good portion of the ginger’s yellow insides if you use this method.
Fresh vs. Dried Ginger
You’ll get more of the anti-inflammatory properties from fresh ginger root. It also smells more citrusy and is more flavorful when used in cooking.
Dried ginger is nice for convenience purposes as you don’t have to use it up quickly because it’s shelf-stable. However, if you’re using ginger for its anti-inflammatory properties, it’s important to note the drying process removes some of the gingerol, which is the key compound that helps reduce bodily inflammation.
When it comes to the actual taste of each, it’s really a personal preference.
How to Use Ginger Root in Your Daily Life
If you prep it right, ginger can be used in beverages, meals, and even on your skin.
When you use fresh ginger, you can chop it up in a variety of ways, depending on what you’re using it for. Once the skin is peeled off, you can slice it into rounds, dice it finely, or create matchsticks for your favorite ginger-centered recipes.
Here’s a look at three different options of intaking and using ginger for your health:
If you want to finally dust off your juicer and put it to use, liquifying ginger root is one reason to fire it up! If you dice fresh ginger root up finely enough, you can often toss it into a blender as well.
You’re basically saying cheers to your health when you do a shot of ginger! You can make your own ginger shots or you can have cold-pressed ones sent right to your front door. You’ll feel energized and your sinuses will clear right up when you take a shot of this potent drink!
Give it a try: How to Make a Ginger Shot From Scratch
Ginger tea is incredible for settling the stomach and keeping you warm on a cold day. Just add fresh pieces of ginger root to boiling hot water. Like a little sweet and sour? Add some fresh, vitamin-C rich lemon and a drop of honey or agave.
Fresh ginger is excellent in smoothies. It offers a kick while also providing extra immunity-boosting benefits when paired with other antioxidant-rich fruits. Peel the ginger root before dicing it and adding it into smoothies. It’s great blended with mango, avocado, coconut milk, and plant-based protein powder!
Is there anything more refreshing than a cold glass of lemonade? If you love lemons and want to give your freshly squeezed lemonade a bit of a kick, give ginger lemonade a try. Check out this ginger lemonade recipe to make your own whenever you want a refreshing drink with added ginger health benefits.
Give your metabolism a boost with lemon-ginger water. Your body needs adequate amounts of water to stay energized, improve digestion, and keep you healthy overall. If you don’t love drinking plain water and like to spice things up (literally!), then this sour yet slightly spicy lemon-ginger water recipe is for you!
Pro Tip: If you can purchase a slow masticating juicer, it’s the best way to extract every last bit of ginger juice if you’re making your own ginger shots or smoothies.
Ginger is tasty enough to drink and eat. No matter what your cooking “specialty” is, there’s no doubt a way you can incorporate the delectable goodness of ginger, too. From stir-fries and dressings to ginger rice and ginger snaps, you can slice, dice, and blend up ginger into pretty much any food you make.
If you need to get your daily dose of veggies in, you can always do it with an easy stir-fry. Dice up your favorite veggies — broccoli, onions, bell peppers, and the like — and toss in some grated ginger with a bit of soy sauce for a burst of flavor. Eat plain or over a serving of brown rice.
No salad is complete without a flavorful dressing. Thanks to ginger’s citrusy scent and spicy flavor profile, it complements fresh veggies quite well. Mix grated ginger with olive oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, fresh garlic, and Dijon mustard for a delicious dressing. Love tahini and ginger? Try this sesame ginger recipe!
Want to add even more flavor to your rice? Make it with ginger. A ginger rice dish is easy to make. Not only that, it can be a meal in and of itself with extra veggies and protein like tofu added. Or, keep it as a filling side dish. Boil freshly grated ginger with water and salt before adding in jasmine rice and cooking.
Looking for an amazing treat to bring to your next holiday gathering? Bake some gingerbread! Old-fashioned gingerbread is great to keep on hand if you want a decadent treat for yourself or to share with others. This gingerbread recipe (sprinkled with powdered sugar!) is a perfect option to try! Make it vegan by swapping out the butter for vegan butter and the egg for a flax egg.
You can’t talk about gingerbread without talking about ginger snaps! With a combination of ginger, clove, and cinnamon, ginger-based cookies are a sweet treat that summons up sweet memories of holidays.
When it gets cold, a warming soup is a perfect go-to option to keep you feeling full and warm. You can use both ground and fresh ginger in your favorite soup recipes like ginger carrot soup with roasted veggies or just a basic ginger carrot soup if you’re feeling a bit time-crunched.
Pro Tip: Won’t use your fresh ginger in time before it goes bad? Freeze it! Peel and dice it up if you know you’ll be using it for a specific recipe in the near future.
Did you know that ginger can be ingested as well as applied to the skin? Yep, you read that right. Because of its anti-inflammatory benefits, freshly grated ginger can be used in a variety of useful healing methods — especially great after an intense workout. Check out some of our favorite application options below.
Love a good bath? Ease aching muscles and do a little detox with a ginger bath salt soak. All it takes is 2 teaspoons of ground ginger and a ½ cup of Epsom salt poured in while you run your warm water. The ginger will boost circulation and the Epsom salt’s magnesium content will help you fall asleep easier.
Dealing with pain from working out a little too hard? Try a fresh ginger compress. Ginger’s active compound, gingerol, is known as a strong anti-inflammatory that can ease muscle pain. Fresh ginger is best for this healing compress. Grate up about a half cup of fresh ginger (no need to peel it). Put it in a bowl and pour two cups of boiling water over the ginger. Let steep for 10 minutes or so. Soak a clean washcloth, wring it, and apply it to wherever you’re feeling pain.
DIY Ginger Essential Oil
Creating your own homemade ginger oil is easy. Plus, with its variety of uses and benefits, you’ll want to make batches of this often!
To make your own, try this recipe from One Bite Vegan:
- 1 cup fresh ginger root (very thinly sliced)
1.5 cups oil olive or coconut oil
- Slice the ginger very thin using a Japanese mandoline or a sharp knife. Spread out in an even layer on a drying rack (if air drying) or use a food dehydrator. Dehydrate for 2 hours or 24 hours if air drying.
- Place the dried ginger slices in a pot and cover with 1.5 cups of oil. Turn on very low heat and steep for 2 hours.
- Strain through a cheesecloth into a tight-fitting container. Store in the refrigerator or a cool dry place.
If you need to ease pain, you can rub ginger oil directly on the skin. In an article on “How Aromatherapy Can Ease Your Pain”, the Cleveland Clinic notes you’ll probably feel relief within 30 minutes of the application of ginger oil.
How to Use Ginger Root? However You Want!
As you can see, ginger there are plenty of ways to learn how to use ginger root. Whether you prefer to drink it, eat it, or apply it, you’ll reap the benefits of ginger root if you give any of the above ideas a try!
If you’re on a ginger kick, be sure to check out our other ginger posts:
There are heaps of other ways to use ginger. Let us know in the comments below: How do you like to use ginger? We’d love to hear your creative ideas; it may even inspire us to create a recipe from it with our WELLNESS shot!