Does Ginger Go Bad? How Long Does It Last?

You don’t usually find a “sell by” date, “use by” date, or “best before” date in fresh ginger roots unless if they’re processed into something else. How do you know if your ginger is fresh? Does ginger go bad?

Yes, ginger can go bad despite its long shelf life. It can happen if you don’t store it correctly. Fresh ginger can stay for one week at room temperature and three months if stored in cold temperatures.

In this article, these are the crucial questions that we are going to discuss with you:

  • What is the shelf life of ginger?
  • Can it go bad? How long does ginger last?
  • How to tell if ginger has gone bad?
  • How to store ginger properly?

So, read on!

What is ginger?

image of ginger

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a grass-like perennial plant that is native to China, India, and Southeast Asia. It belongs to the Zingiberaceae family and is a close relative to turmeric, cardamom, and galangal.

Since ancient times, ginger has been widely cultivated for its edible and fragrant rhizome or underground stem. It can be used fresh, dried, or ground, depending on the purpose it is intended to be used.

Because of its unique flavor and therapeutic properties, the ginger spice that we all know today has been widely used as a fantastic ingredient for culinary and medicinal purposes. (*)

As a cooking ingredient, fresh ginger has a bright and slightly sweet, peppery flavor that gives off a sharp and pungent aroma. Whether used fresh, ground, or dried, ginger is great for making soups, stir-fries, teas, and sometimes desserts.

What Is the Shelf Life Of Ginger?

Ginger has a relatively long shelf life. It can last for quite a while without going bad in your storage, depending on the type of ginger preparation you have and on the storage method you use to keep it.

Fresh Ginger

Like most fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh ginger has a very short life compared to its preserved and processed counterparts.

Fresh ginger root can last up to a week in the pantry at room temperature. The shelf life can be extended from one to three months when placed inside a freezer in the fridge.

On the other hand, peeled, chopped, grated, or minced fresh ginger has a shorter shelf life than the fresh ginger root itself.

Since they have a larger surface area exposed to the environment, they are susceptible to drying quickly and becoming moldy within a few days. However, they can only last up to a week when properly stored inside the refrigerator.

Other Ginger products

As for unopened ginger products, they tend to last longer than fresh ginger and opened ginger products.

When properly stored at conditions prescribed by the manufacturer, they can last as long as the marked expiration date on the packaging. Before opening or using an unopened product, it is essential to check the expiration date before using.

Opened ginger products, just like most food products, have a shorter life. Unless it has been appropriately stored inside the fridge under the right conditions, they are still good to use up until their given expiration date.

Ground ginger or powdered ginger can last in the pantry for two to three years.

Jarred ginger, pickled ginger, and ginger pastes are some of the ginger products that require refrigeration. Jarred ginger and pickled ginger can stay up to three months, while ginger paste can last for one month.

How To Tell if Ginger Has Gone Bad?

It’s not hard to tell if your ginger has gone bad or not. To know if your ginger is still edible or not, here are the following signs that you must keep a close eye on.

  1. Fresh ginger, both peeled and paste, should appear bright and vibrant yellow. It is no longer good if it takes on a brown or a duller shade or color.
  2. Ginger has a distinctive smell. If its sharp and pungent fragrance disappears, it is no longer good to use.
  3. Fresh, raw, and unpeeled ginger should be firm to touch. If it feels soft and mushy, this means that it’s rotten.
  4. Mold is a sign of spoilage. However, as ginger spoils, they may or may not have any mold growing.
  5. Unpeeled ginger that starts to have dry and wrinkly skin does not mean it’s gone bad. It is still good to use if it remains firm, fragrant, and bright yellow in color. Wrinkling is just a sign that your ginger just lost a lot of water.

How To Store Ginger Properly?

The shelf life of ginger depends on the way you store it.

In order to keep your ginger from going bad too quickly, here are some ways that can help you prevent that from happening:

1. Avoid storing your ginger at room temperature.

Unless you live in a cold environment, keeping your ginger outside the refrigerator increases the chances of rotting. Higher temperatures speed up rotting, which can ruin your ginger quickly.

2. Store dried, ground, or crystallized ginger in a cool and dry place.

Make sure they are securely sealed in an airtight container. This prevents your ginger from losing its fragrance and aroma, which helps give it its flavor. Moisture can also allow mold to grow into your spices, which can quickly ruin your ground ginger.

3. Remove any excess moisture from your ginger roots.

Excess moisture can promote mold growth which can make your ginger moldy.  Thus, make sure that no moisture gets into the container before placing your ginger in the refrigerator.

4. Store raw ginger root inside the fridge.

Seal it in a brown bag and store it inside the vegetable drawer of your fridge. Make sure that the skin is fully intact so as not to have any surfaces for mold to grow on.

5. Mix salt to peel and grate ginger to turn it into a paste. 

Place it inside a sealed plastic container and store it inside a fridge or freezer.

6. Submerge chopped or peeled ginger in alcohol or acid.

This helps keep your ginger fresh for several months in the refrigerator while keeping its original flavor. This is done by placing enough acids or spirits, such as vodka, sherry, vinegar, etc., into a tight sealable jar filled with pieces of peeled ginger.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can You Freeze Ginger?

To further extend your ginger’s shelf life, you can freeze it. This can be done by placing portions of grated ginger into an ice cube tray and freezing it until you’re ready to use them. By storing your ginger this way, you can keep it fresh in the freezer for as long as 3–6 months.

The bottom line of this method is that once it is thawed, it will become soft and soggy.

2. Should ginger be peeled?

Peeling ginger can be a pain. It is tedious and time-consuming, and sometimes it’s not just the ginger’s skin that is being removed in the process.

The decision to peel your ginger or not actually depends on personal choice. Whether or not you like to include your ginger skin in your dishes is entirely up to you.

In fact, there is nothing wrong with either peeling your ginger or not. However, it is also essential to keep in mind that the need to peel your ginger can also depend on your ginger’s skin thickness.

If it appears dry and fibrous, it may be necessary to remove it because it can be tough. On the other hand, if it seems young and smooth, there’s no need to peel the skin because it is too thin even to be noticed. Then again, the choice is really up to you.

If ever you decide not to peel your ginger on your next dish, make sure to thoroughly wash off any visible dirt that may have gotten stuck on your ginger’s skin.

3. Is Moldy Ginger Safe To Eat?

In general, you don’t want to cook or eat rotten ginger. Much more if it starts to have mold growing on it. It’s not safe, and it can make you and other people sick.

In fact, eating moldy ginger wouldn’t even be worth it in the first place. Rotten ginger tastes terrible and can ruin the taste of your entire dish.

However, you can still salvage your moldy ginger by cutting the moldy portion away and leaving the fresh bits behind. This way is practical when only a tiny part of the ginger is affected by mold. Thus, you don’t have to throw out the entire thing into the bin.

When in doubt about its safety, just throw it out. It’s better to be safe than to risk yourself from getting sick.

Conclusion

Always remember to store fresh ginger in the refrigerator if you want to have them for a few months.

For other ginger products, like ground ginger, make sure to always check the label for its expiration date. That way, you can know how soon you should use the product before they are expected to lose their prime.

image of does ginger go bad

Up Next: Do Bay Leaves Go Bad? How Long Do They Last?

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