I bought ginger at the grocery store last week and kept it, unpeeled, in the fridge. Today I sliced it open and there is a ring of a blueish colour, instead of the yellow I was expecting. The ginger still smells like I'd expect (I haven't tried tasting it).

Would this be safe for use (I was planning on putting some in a salad dressing), or should I toss it?

12 Answers 12


Having just returned from Hawaii, I actually have a possible answer for you. There is a type of ginger that you can get there (though it's not all that common, far as I could tell) that's called blue ginger. It's just like regular ginger, only it has the blue layer inside as you describe. There was a guy selling it at a roadside fruit stand when we were there.

It should be absolutely safe to use.

edit: I found a link to somebody talking about it. Hawaiian Blue Ginger

  • 2
    Not only that, but blue ginger is often sold as regular ginger in supermarkets. It's not Hawaiian in origin, though, it's called galangal and its origins (and prevalence) are Asian.
    – Aaronut
    Dec 12, 2010 at 1:14
  • 9
    It's my understanding that galangal is pretty distinct, flavor-wise, from true ginger. The lady at our Thai market was pretty adamant about the difference, but didn't have any galangal so I can't say what the actual difference is. The blue ginger I smelled in Hawaii was indistinguishable from regular ginger.
    – bikeboy389
    Dec 12, 2010 at 16:38
  • 3
    hawaiianorganicginger.com/brother-bubba-baba.html shows a variety of ginger, decidedly not galangal from the looks of the skin, which has a blue ring.
    – JasonTrue
    Oct 2, 2012 at 3:01
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    Galangal is not blue ginger; they are related but very different. The blue tint is perfectly safe, and probably only indicates that the ginger was fairly young.
    – DrRandy
    Jun 29, 2014 at 19:31

Some varieties of ginger contain compounds called anthocyanins which can turn blue when exposed to acids (these are the same compounds that sometimes turn garlic blue). Varieties of ginger originating in Japan contain these compounds, but varieties originating in China do not, which explains why this only happens to some ginger. The pH of ginger is slightly acidic, so that probably starts the reaction.

... so, yes, this is a safe, naturally occurring compound in ginger. It is an antioxidant, so there is some evidence that it may actually be beneficial to your health.

Anthocyanin in ginger

Garlic turning blue

  • 1
    More anthocyanin info: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/40616/…
    – SourDoh
    Dec 27, 2013 at 22:23
  • This is certainly the correct answer for most people who'll find their ginger looking decidedly blue, just as I learned this week. In the 15+ years of using ginger root, it was my first time seeing this occur. Nov 14, 2022 at 18:08

same thing happened to me. I returned from the store with fresh ginger, only to find that when I cut it open it was more blue than yellow. I checked around and found this reference: http://homecooking.about.com/od/foodstorage/a/gingerstorage.htm Read far enough down and it says that its another variety of ginger. hope this helps.


It seems this blue ginger is perfectly safe to eat, because I've eaten plenty of it and been fine. I eat ginger just about every day. It's a wonderful panacea remedy; I mainly use it to promote better digestion and to get rid of indigestion from over-eating and hard-to-digest foods like beef and saturated fats.

It's definitely not chlorophyll because ginger's flesh is from the plant's rhizome which grows well beneath the soil; too deep for light to penetrate. Also, the leaves are where most of the chlorophyll production happens, even the lower stems are almost pure white in color. Although there is a layer of beautiful purple coloration just above the soil line on most ginger plants, the blue ginger most certainly seems like a different type of ginger; possibly a sub-species.

As a ginger connoisseur of sorts, I find this fine to eat, but I most definitely prefer the taste of the yellow ginger, and especially the white ginger (which is juicy, mild, & delicious) varieties better than the blue stuff. Hope that adds some useful info to this thread.


I've never heard of that being a problem. I don't know about the cause, though. Is it more blue or more green? If the root was exposed to light at some point I suppose it might have gotten some chlorophyl development.

McGee has written about acids changing the color of garlic. Maybe there's something similar going on?


Blue Ginger or Hawaiian Blue Ginger is not a true ginger plant , but the flower on it is the most beautiful dark navy blue. I have it all over my yard I use it in everything and love it. It is milder then the regular Ginger and makes a great tea.


i asked the produce department at Albertsons, and they said it was "mature ginger" and was getting ready to sprout, and I also found it to be much milder than the yellow, which only a small thumb in my juice cocktail spices it up significantly, the blue.....not so much.


I really think the answers on here are misleading and could cause someone to fall ill. Fresh ordinary finger should be yellow and firm on the inside. If it looks a bit spongy or dark or has those green rings (which can be quite thick to the point there's not much yellow) it's time to toss it out. This article nicely explains the difference between bad ginger and blue ginger with pictures https://www.thecookingblueprint.com/blog/2017/8/19/ripe-or-rotten-ginger


The blue hue inside regular ginger is completely safe to eat. I work for a Ginger farming operation and we see it from time to time. My Boss asked another grower about it many years ago and was told it is a sign of very good ginger, and that is what I tell people nowadays, lucky if you get a piece like that! Hawaiian Blue ginger is a different variety, and is not galangal. I have only seen pictures of Hawaiian Blue, looks spectacular!


I buy ginger a lot and from time to time will get one that has a greenish ring around the inside. I have consumed it and nothing happened to me :) Although I did notice ginger with this coloring tends to be less juicy and a bit more fibrous than the preferred yellow.


There's a type of ginger called black ginger. It's not actually black like the same suggests it's a beautiful blue, very rare and expensive. I don't know, your grocery store may have accidently mixed rare black ginger with regular ginger, I mean possible if they are selling the black gingers too. You might want to search it up. In India, it is used in Ayurveda medicine, cuisine, as well as Magic and potions and stuff

  • btw: I think accidentally you tried to edit another user's answer and replace it entirely with your answer.
    – Luciano
    May 15, 2020 at 9:02

hi we think it does have to do with age and exposure ... have some i just peeled and cut and it has variations of green and blueish purple... have consumed it before with no ill affect ... it is more fibrous so true :)

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