Ginger is such an amazing spice, and unlike so many other spices, you can use it fresh from the root, along with all the other ways it can be prepared and used too.
The bright kick of zesty flavor that ginger brings, as well as its health properties, makes it a favorite among many, for cooking, baking, making warm tea, or for serving as a condiment. However, ginger, like other spices, has an expiry date.
How do you know if ginger has gone bad? Fresh ginger that has gone bad will have signs of spoilage. First, it may have a rotten smell. Second, the ginger might be soft and mushy to the touch. Third, ginger that has gone bad will turn gray and may even have spots of mold present on the surface.
Keep reading to find out more about how to tell when fresh ginger has gone bad, and more about storing ginger to keep it fresher for longer!
Signs That Fresh Ginger Has Gone Bad
Fresh ginger does not last indefinitely; it will eventually go bad if left for long enough. Thankfully, it is pretty obvious when ginger has gone bad, but it still helps to know what to look for to be sure you only use fresh ginger.
Here are some signs to look for that fresh ginger has gone bad.
The first thing to look for is if there is any discoloration on the ginger. When ginger begins to spoil, it will lose its color and turn a lighter, duller color, almost gray in appearance.
As it continues to spoil, it could develop spots of mold on the surface. These can be green, white, or gray, and might only appear in one spot or all over.
However, even if there is only one spot of mold present on the ginger, it should all be thrown away.
Ginger should have a fresh, sharp smell — it should not have any rotten or foul elements to it.
If you sniff the ginger and it smells unpleasant or rotten, then it has very likely spoiled and is not safe to eat.
Soft To Touch
Ginger should be firm, and it should not be affected if you apply pressure with your fingertips.
If you touch the ginger and you notice a change in texture, such as the ginger being soft and mushy, then you need to discard it — this is a sure sign that the ginger has spoiled.
Signs That Pickled Ginger Has Gone Bad
One way to preserve ginger and add some more flavor is to pickle the ginger in vinegar and other ingredients.
The pickle brine used to make pickled ginger makes it incredibly difficult for bacteria or mold to grow.
However, contamination might happen when you use a spoon to pick up some pickled ginger that you used for other food, and bacteria are introduced into the jar.
This helps keep the ginger fresher for longer, but pickled ginger can go off eventually — you need to know the signs to look for that pickled ginger has spoiled.
Pickled ginger should have a smell of both ginger and pickling vinegar, and these are very obvious to pick up on.
However, if you open up the jar of pickled ginger and it has a rancid scent, then it is likely off and you should rather throw it away.
You should not use taste as the first sign that something has gone off, but if there are no other signs that the pickled ginger is off, and you have a taste and the pickled ginger tastes sour, then you should not eat anymore.
If pickled ginger tastes anything other than gingery, slightly sweet, and vinegary, then there is a risk that it has gone off.
How To Select Fresh Ginger
When picking out fresh ginger from the grocery store, you want to pick out a ginger root that is as fresh as possible — the fresher the ginger, the longer it will last at home!
To choose fresh ginger, first, feel the tenderness. Fresh ginger should be firm and hard to the touch. If there are any soft spots, it could mean that it has been sitting there for some time.
Next, try to pick up any odors from the ginger. It should smell just like ginger, though subtle as the skin would still be on, and it should not have any foul or strange odors.
Lastly, make sure that the skin is smooth — it should have a tannish-yellow color, and it should not be gray or have any spots.
How To Store Fresh Ginger
How you store ginger at home definitely affects how long it lasts before it starts to spoil.
Ginger needs to be refrigerated once brought home. It needs to be kept dry as well, and keeping ginger dry and cool in the refrigerator can allow it to last for up to two months in the fridge.
The best way to store fresh ginger is to place it into an airtight resealable bag, squeezing out as much air as possible before sealing. This can then be placed in the vegetable crisper drawer, to keep it fresh with the airflow.
Of course, this is only for ginger that has not been peeled.
Once you peel ginger, you can keep it the same way, in a resealable plastic freezer bag, but it will not last as long and will need to be used within one to two weeks.
Shelf Life Of Ginger
Ginger can be prepared and served in different ways, and all of the different preparations of ginger have various shelf lives.
Here are the various forms of ginger you might find, and how long each can last when kept in the refrigerator:
|Ginger Form||Shelf Life*|
|Grated ginger||1 week|
|Minced ginger||1 week|
|Ginger root pieces||1–2 weeks|
|Whole peeled ginger root||1–2 weeks|
|Ginger paste||1 month|
|Whole unpeeled ginger root||1–2 months|
|Pickled ginger||3 months|
|* If kept in refrigerator at 40°F|
Can You Freeze Ginger?
If you do not think that you will be able to use all the ginger before it begins to spoil, then you can freeze it to keep it fresher for longer.
When frozen properly, ginger can be kept in the freezer for up to six months. It should be kept in a resealable freezer bag, or an airtight freezer-safe container.
One thing to take note of is that ginger will likely be soft and slightly soggy once frozen and thawed, so it is best to then use it for smoothies or cooked dishes once removing it from the freezer.
The best way to freeze ginger is to grate the fresh ginger root before freezing. The grated ginger will thaw easier, and you would be able to remove as much as you want at a time without having to defrost it all.
Can I Eat Ginger That Has Gone Moldy?
If you notice one or two spots of mold on your fresh ginger, you might be tempted to cut the mold away and use the rest that seems unaffected.
While you might get away with doing this, there is always a high risk that the mold has spread, and it just isn’t visible yet. If you eat some of this mold, there is a good chance that you might become ill.
It might seem like quite a waste to throw away a whole ginger root because of one or two spots of mold, but it is also not worth getting sick over a moldy piece of ginger.
Ginger is such a great fresh ingredient to keep at home, but it can go bad after some time — it really helps to know what to look for to determine whether or not ginger is still fine to eat.
Make sure that the ginger still has a yellowish-tan color, that it smells like fresh, zesty ginger and nothing else, and that it is still firm to the touch, not soft or soggy.
If the ginger seems off at all, whether it smells bad, or has become soft or discolored, it is best to throw it away.
Now that we’ve learned all about ginger, plus how to tell if it’s gone bad, here are some additional questions that we thought you might have.
What can you do with excess ginger?
If you have some excess ginger that you need to use before it spoils, there are a few different things you can do with it.
Firstly, you can freeze it to extend its shelf life. You could also make ginger syrup, infuse it into tea, or you could even make your own pickled ginger!
Is soft ginger still okay?
If your ginger is soft to the touch, even if it does not display other signs of spoiling, it is safer to throw it away and not use it.