Drying ginger is easy, and can be used in many ways. Here’s how to do it so that you never buy another bottle of ginger powder, EVER!
What are the health benefits of ginger?
Ginger is well known for calming upset stomachs and relieving cold symptoms. The spice is also a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. Ginger can be used to relieve pain in the body, including muscle soreness and arthritis. The root has been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine to support digestion, circulation, and immune function.
The problem with buying powdered ginger at the store is that it may be quite old. Fresh ginger powder, though—amazingly pungent and perfect for your spice cabinet—lasts much longer than its pre-ground counterpart. The secret is…don’t store powder. Only grind what you can use in a month or two at a time.
Drying Ginger Root
Step 1) Peeling the Ginger Root
You should peel ginger if the skin is tough and woody. If it’s soft and pliable, you can leave the skin on when shredding or grating it. The most tender part of the ginger root is just under its skin, so you can use a few methods to peel it if necessary. I prefer using a Y-shaped vegetable peeler because this gets the job done quickly and easily.
You can also use a spoon to remove the skin from ginger. This technique is trickier if you are dealing with a knobby piece of ginger, but it saves more of the fruit than using a knife does.
Step 2) Mincing, Slicing, or Grating Ginger
There are a few ways to prepare the ginger before dehydrating. Below are 3 different ways to prepare this herb.
- Small Bits—Mincing ginger before dehydrating is a great way to bulk dry lots of ginger. It’s dries quicker, stores more efficiently, and powders easily.
- Slicing—To thinly slice the ginger, use a sharp knife or a mandolin. A mandolin makes the process go quickly, but be sure to wear a good safety cutting glove to protect yourself from serious injury. I prefer using a cutting glove over the mandolin guard for better control.
- Shredding—Shredding or grating ginger produces a lot of small pieces along with lots of fibrous issues and juice loss. Be sure to pat the grated ginger dry. If your ginger is grated, use nonstick mats on your trays to help with storage. Ginger will shrink a lot in the dehydrator, and the pieces will easily fall through the holes. Drying ginger into smaller pieces will also help with storage.
3) Drying Ginger
You can dry ginger in the sun, low oven or in a dehydrator.
- Sun drying -To sun dry ginger, place slices on a plate near a sunny window and leave for 3-4 days.
- Oven drying—For oven-drying, place the slices on a baking sheet in an oven set to its lowest temperature (no warmer than 150 F). If your oven doesn’t go as low as that, crack the door and put it in its center position for 1½ – 2 hours. Check every 30 minutes or so.
- Dehydrator—The recommended time for drying ginger in a dehydrator is usually 125 °F (ca. 52 °C) but I prefer to drop the temperature to 95 °F (ca. 35 °C) to get more flavor retention, and dry them for 4-8+ hours. This method takes a bit of extra time, but it’s really worth it. Ginger dries very quickly; however, times are relative depending on your preparation, home’s humidity levels and your machine.
Test For Doneness
When the ginger appears dry, take it out of the oven or dehydrator and test that it’s done. Let it cool and check it to be sure no moisture remains and that the pieces crack when you bend them. (If there is any moisture or is not brittle, put the ginger back in the oven or dehydrator for another hour or two.)
It is important that the ginger be completely dry before storing or grinding because even a small amount of moisture can cause mold.
Dried ginger is great for making ginger powder, ginger tea, and for using later in spice blends and culinary recipes. Dried ginger also stores well in airtight containers for months.
Fresh—Store fresh, unpeeled ginger in an airtight plastic bag in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. The bag keeps out oxygen and moisture, two things that will cause ginger to mold. Ginger stored like this can last for up to two months.
Dried – After drying, store the ginger in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. Dried ginger can be stored in an airtight container for 5 to 6 months.
Making ginger powder
To make your own ginger powder, simply place dried pieces of ginger root in a coffee or spice grinder. I don’t recommend grinding large amounts at a time because you might end up with more than you can use up in a month or two (after that, powdered ginger tends to lose its potency). The ginger powder can be used in cooking, baking, and making homemade spice blends. It’s especially good for flavoring cookies and cakes.
YIELD = ¼ C Dehydrated Ginger = 2 heaping Tablespoon of ground ginger
How can you tell whether your ginger powder is still good?
Sniff it! If you can still easily identify the spice by scent, it’s probably still good. If the spice smells faint or mostly nonexistent, it’s time to grind some more!
USES FOR GINGER POWDER
- Seasoning—just like with store-bought ginger powder, use it to create seasoning blends.
- Use in baked goods like cakes and cookies
- Add to recipes to create an Asian flare
- Add a little kick to the Pumpkin Spice Moon Milk
- Use in Winter Tea Blends and beverages—it’s a time tested remedy for inflammation and wintertime sniffles.
It’s really quite simple to dry your own ginger at home. Sometimes it’s nice to have a little control over the ingredients that you use, and ginger is a great ingredient to get started with. I hope this tutorial has been helpful and that you give drying ginger a try.
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