Jul 6, 2023
Ginger is one of Asia’s wonder ingredients that serves many purposes. It’s one of the secrets to a great Asian stir fry and makes an excellent tea to support digestive health, pain relief, and stress management. Although there are many ways to store ginger, it’s prone to storage problems. At room temperature, it dries out fast. If you put it in a bag, it’s vulnerable to mold growth. Also, if stored too long, it will lose its flavor. So how will you store it? Here’s how to freeze-dry ginger and have a spice that can last for years.
The secret to ginger’s earthy, pungent, and spicy flavor is the phenols, specifically gingerol. When you freeze-dry ginger, these phenols intensify. According to a study, freeze-drying can increase ginger’s extractive content of phenols to 9.5%. This means you only need to use a small amount of ginger to get the flavor you want. Much like with freeze-dried garlic.
These phenols also give ginger its health-boosting benefits. Compared to using a dehydrator, freeze-drying can lock in all that phenols and make them last longer.
Freeze drying also lightens the weight of your supply. Let’s say you’ve got 100 grams of fresh ginger. After freeze drying, you’ll end up with 6.7g-10g of the product. Even when you have such a small amount, the flavor’s so intense you won’t even mind it.
Remember that the quality of your freeze-dried ginger will depend on the quality of the ginger you use. So, to get the best product, start with young ginger instead of mature. It will give you the best flavor and the highest amount of phenols compared to an old one.
Get knobs with smooth, shiny skins with no cuts, bruises, or blemishes. Also, pick the tubers between early summer to early winter, depending when it’s in season in your area.
The first step is to wash the ginger to get rid of all the dirt and debris. You can use a soft-bristled toothbrush to get between the knobs that can be hard to reach.
After washing, you can peel the root using a knife, a peeler, or a spoon. If you want to preserve as much flesh as possible, use a spoon to scrape the thin skin.
But the most important thing to consider when preparing ginger is preserving the juice or extract. This means not using a mandolin or a slicer as much as possible. Instead, use the sharpest knife possible to slice the tuber in half, in circles, or in strips.
If you want to cut it in half, make sure that the thickness is no more than 3/4 of an inch. It would be better to cut the ginger into sections and have as much surface area as possible.
Should you grate it? You could, but we don’t recommend it because you’ll release the juice. Instead, you can grate the freeze-dried tuber later, and you’ll get more flavor this way.
Since ginger has 80%-85% water, it would be ideal to pre-freeze the root before freeze drying. Deep freezing helps freeze moisture right down to the very center of the root. The more your ginger’s frozen, the better it is to freeze dry.
Pre-freezing is optional, of course, so you can totally skip it. But if you have a large amount of knobs to freeze dry, pre-freezing can help shorten your freeze-drying time. If ever you’re going to pre-freeze, remember to pre-freeze the trays. This will help keep the temperature of the chamber stable.
Freeze-drying the root is easy with the standard settings of your Harvest Right Freeze Dryer.
The freeze-drying process can take 24-40 hours, depending on factors like food weight and size. But the temperature and humidity where the freeze dryer’s installed plays a significant role.
It’s true that gingerol and other flavor compounds in the root increase after freeze-drying. However, you should know that gingerols are thermally sensitive. They undergo dehydration and degradation at temperatures equal to and above 140 °F (60 °C).
That’s why you must keep your freeze-dried ginger in air-tight containers. Mylar bags are effective in keeping away light, heat, and moisture. Same with glass Mason jars when they’re vacuum sealed. Throwing in 1-2 packets of 300cc oxygen absorbers can help remove residual oxygen in the bag. Even if you use a vacuum sealer to suck out air from your container, it never hurts to take out oxygen left behind in the process. You can use too much, but you can never use too little.
If in case you want to try out how freeze-dried ginger tastes like, you can buy it from the following brands:
One 0.56 oz bottle is equal to 4 fresh ginger root bunches. It’s organic, non-GMO, and can support a gluten-free diet. The freeze-dried bulb is peeped, so you can use it for tea or smoothies. It is a little bit woody, so if you plan to munch on it, rehydrate first.
Try this one if you can’t get your hands on fresh ginger. The flavor’s great and as close to fresh ginger as you can when it’s not in season. Great for stir-fries, Asian dishes, and teas.
Freeze-drying ginger is a great way to stock on this seasonal root. You can have the convenience of using the spice with less preparation of chopping and peeling. You also preserve all that excellent gingerol and phenols that can help improve your overall well-being. What’s more, you know you get an all-natural ingredient that you can confidently add to your food.
How much ginger do you plan to freeze dry? Let us know in the comment section.
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