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I noticed that many recipes that call for ginger explicitly call for peeled ginger.

When I use ginger I don't bother to peel it. As it is almost always minced fine the tiny bits of papery peel are almost undetectable.

Is there some reason that I should start peeling my ginger? Are there some dishes that are better served by using ginger that has been peeled?

Ginger is knobbier than a potato. Is there a better way to peel them than to just take a vegetable peeler to it?

FWIW- The recipe that provoked this question can be found here.

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I often strip ginger, julienne, rather than mince it - then the peel would be unpleasant. –  Orbling Jan 22 '13 at 15:29

10 Answers 10

up vote 42 down vote accepted

There's no reason to peel besides the aesthetics of it. There's no major flavor or nutritional difference either way. If the ginger is going to be seen then peel it, if not don't bother.

The best way to peel ginger is to use the edge of a small spoon to rub it off, it works really well, takes seconds, and doesn't waste as much as using a knife.

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+1 for the trick with the spoon. –  Henrik Söderlund Jan 22 '13 at 15:33
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I am partial to a good peeler.... it might remove more than the spoon, but it seems easier to me. –  SAJ14SAJ Jan 22 '13 at 22:29
    
@SAJ14SAJ : try a different spoon. You want one with a thin enough bowl that there's an edge to it; I have some really heavy spoons that don't work well, but some tea spoons that are significantly faster than a peeler. –  Joe Jan 23 '13 at 13:54
    
@joe Interesting... all my spoons are from the same set, though. Might have to try a stainless measuring spoon though, next time I use ginger. They tend to be a little sharper edged than tableware. –  SAJ14SAJ Jan 23 '13 at 13:57
    
A spoon worked beautifully. Thanks for the tip. –  Sobachatina Jan 31 '13 at 14:46

The simplest way to peel ginger is with a spoon.

Don't need to soak it or anything. Break it into manageable 'thumbs' and scrape the skin off with the edge of a dessert spoon.

Bear in min that if you are adding heat to your dish though ginger the spiciest part is the skin!!

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To whoever gave this -1 it's how ginger is peeled in a professional kitchen!! Simple visual example here<br> Oh I might have missed @GdD comment sorry!! –  ferdiesfoodlab Feb 25 '13 at 20:12

Peeling ginger is optional...
But we usually peel it easily:
1. soak the ginger in water for a couple of hours, which makes the skin soft and then it comes off easily.
2. then u can use the edges of a spoon to peel off the skin.

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Well I agree with all the knowledge in the other answers, but there is one aspect of this that is totally overlooked: Pesticides. If your vegs aren’t organic grown, many of them will contain significant amounts of pesticide residues. Even more so if you dont even bother to wash them with mild soap and water before using them (but even that kind of cleaning, cannot remove them all). So to get rid of health compromising pesticides, it would be a good idea to peel. Unfortunately I am not aware how "dirty" ginger is generally speaking, when it comes to pesticides, fungicides, etc. That's actually the reason I clicked to read about this issue: maybe someone knew.

Normally I refer to http://www.ewg.org/foodnews/, when I want to update my awareness, but I can't see ginger listed there even. I happen to know that third world country imports contains many more pesticides than produce from more developed countries, and where I live the ginger usually comes from China. So my guess would be that it actually contains quite a lot of "bad stuff" on that peel. Something I wouldn’t want to eat that is.

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Comment from an anon user: Ginger is a rhizome — a root, like a carrot or a potato. While there might be pesticide or other toxic residues in the soil that get embedded in the skin of these, generally the source for any toxics will be via absorption via the above-ground part of the plant and transport to the roots. If that is the case, all of the flesh is as likely to have these molecules, not just the skin. So if you're concerned about this, make sure your ginger (and carrots, potatoes, etc.) are organic. But this isn't a reason to peel the skin off. –  Jefromi Jun 21 '13 at 19:34

It is true that in many cases having ginger skin or not, does not make any difference in flavour.

However, in at least one case, you might want to skin the ginger - fresh ginger chili sauce. Otherwise, the skin and its texture might get in the way of enjoying the sauce. Especially, if the ginger is old. OTOH, the recipe might call for the explicit presence of ginger skin.

To skin a ginger, we normally use a short sharp knife to lightly scrape the skin off. No deep cuts. You do not need to remove every millimetre of skin. Especially around the bends, you might exercise restraint.

The older the ginger, the more difficult it is to skin it. A piece of ginger could be so old and shriveled that there might be no point to skin it anymore.

It is easier to skin a large piece of ginger by breaking it up by its branches.

But ... don't throw the skin away. They are for making ginger-lemon tea.

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Why is the skin well suited for tea? Or is it just to not waste it? –  Sobachatina Jan 24 '13 at 17:49

You need not to add ginger directly in any recipe , Just Ginger+Garlic(peel the garlic) mix it and grind it then add it..(Indian recipes will follow this)..

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I'm having a hard time seeing how my candied ginger recipe is going to work out following this advice... –  AmericanUmlaut Jan 23 '13 at 8:20

Its optional, like potatoes or carrots if it is too dirty you scrape or else just cleaning is good enough.

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I scrape it with a blunt knife. Its important if you are making ginger juice for example as the skin blocks the holes of the grater.

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Agree with @GdD, that the best way by far to peel it is with a small spoon. If you have a sharp enough knife and are good with it, sure that'll work too (Or the peeler). I first learned this trick from Martin Yan (Yan Can Cook) probably almost 20 years ago... here's a more recent video of him showing this.

To answer your other question about why you'd peel it. It depends on the ginger you're getting. When ginger is young, the skin is very soft and peeling is not necessary. As ginger ages, it gets harder and at which point you will notice it. If the skin is nice and smooth, the ginger itself is quite firm, you're probably looking at a younger ginger. If the skin starts to get a little rough, then it might be worth peeling. Mostly what I source around where I am, it's mostly older stuff.

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+1 for the old vs new ginger comparison. With new ginger, the skin will come off if you rub it with your thumb, and will mostly get removed during a thorough wash. –  elssar Jan 23 '13 at 3:00
    
+1 again for the old vs. new comparison. –  Carey Gregory Jan 23 '13 at 5:28
    
+1- thanks for the added info! –  Sobachatina Jan 31 '13 at 14:46

I don't know of a taste reason to peel ginger, however the papery peel is tough in texture.

I handle ginger in one of two ways: either I freeze it and grate it into my dish using a microplane - fresh ginger flavor instantly whenever I need it; or I chop it into a fine mince before adding. In a hearty textured dish, I guess peeling wouldn't be necessary, but in a finely textured sauce or custard I would definitely peel it.

When I peel ginger I do it one knob at a time. This requires deconstructing the rhizome into individual knobs and I find it convenient to just use a knob or two in a dish rather than measure precisely. I peel ginger using a paring knife on a cutting block rather than a vegetable peeler.

Another ginger trick I have used is to slice the entire rhizome wafer thin, place it in a jar, cover it with 100 proof vodka and place the jar, ginger and vodka in the freezer for a week. Once the first filling of vodka is gone, I usually do two more before I feel the flavor has been extracted from the ginger slices. I use the flavored liquor to add fresh ginger aroma and heat to dishes by adding it near the end of cooking. I have also been known to use 1/2 oz. of the ginger flavored liquor as the secret ingredient in a vodka martini, rather than bitters.

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+1 for the added information and the ginger liquor recipe. Sounds like just what I need for ginger-based cocktails! –  fluffy Jan 22 '13 at 18:58

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