Ginger root releases more flavor during cooking when it is crushed prior to using. Fresh ginger root is the only type of ginger that can be crushed. Dried ginger must be used as is, or ground into a powder. In addition to crushing, you can chop, mince or grate ginger. The type of preparation depends on the dish.
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Before crushing ginger, choose good quality, fresh ginger. Good quality fresh ginger will release more juice after being crushed, and will also crush more readily.
Look for large, plump, hard ginger roots.
Do not choose shriveled or soft roots, and do not use ginger that has started turning mushy or is a dark brown color.
Fresh ginger will be a pale light-brown color.
Break off the amount of ginger you need with your hands, or cut it with a sharp knife. Peel the ginger, removing the papery skin from the root. Use a vegetable peeler or a paring knife and remove only a little of the flesh under the skin.
Crushed ginger leaves the piece of ginger intact, but it increases the surface area of the knob. Crushed ginger is ideal for long, slow cooking methods in liquid, such as for soups or stews. The large piece of ginger means it can be fished out after flavoring the dish, and crushing allows you to use a smaller piece of ginger.
Crush fresh ginger one of two ways:
Knife: Place the knob of ginger on a cutting board, under the flat side of a knife. Have the sharp side of the knife facing away from you. Press down on the flat of the knife with the palm of your hand, using all of your weight to push down on the knob of ginger. The knob will crush easily. Be careful to not cut your palm when crushing the ginger.
Glass: Cover the ginger with a piece of plastic wrap or a plastic bag and place on a cutting board. Using the bottom of a glass or mug, smash the knob of ginger once or twice, smooshing the ginger entirely.
To make it easier to crush, cut the ginger root into smaller pieces -- around 1/2-inch lengths.
Ginger can also grated or chopped. Each cut has a different benefit.
Most fresh ginger is not used up all at once. To keep extra ginger fresh, store it in a plastic bag in the fridge, either in the vegetable crisper or on a shelf. Stored properly, fresh ginger will keep for several weeks.