If you get 2 sets of black peppercorns, leave one set whole and ground the other then leave them both out over time the ground version will loose potency and aroma due to being exposed to air. When one uses/grinds the whole set at the point of use the potency will be far superior.

I want to know if dried ginger unground and dried ginger ground and left out for the same amount of time will have the same level of superiority? In another answer I believe I read that dehydrated ginger(even if not ground) will loose potency over time but this doesn’t really happen to whole black peppercorns.

If then the dehydrated unground ginger does loose potency over time will it still be significantly superior to ground ginger or will it be quite bland/just a little superior so there’s no point not grounding it earlier if you are doing so to try and preserve potency.


  • 3
    It seems to me, that you are asking basically the same questions over and over again. Not just here, but also on mechanics.se
    – Johannes_B
    Apr 18, 2021 at 5:13
  • @how would such a question be accepted on mechanics.se? my last question was asking about preservation and one of the answers said surface area is an issue but it wasn’t clear to me if air still get into a dried whole piece or not. Apr 18, 2021 at 10:17
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    This & all the other recent ginger questions, are basically a rehash of last year's curry & chilli questions, just with the word 'ginger' substituted. Can you not extrapolate from the answers to your earlier questions as to how the same principles apply also to ginger [or any spice]?
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 18, 2021 at 10:19
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    …so the answer to my question "Can you not extrapolate..?" would appear to be, "No."
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 18, 2021 at 10:29
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    After your edit - your premise is incorrect. Peppercorns left in the open air will of course lose their more volatile compounds… as will anything left in the open air. Surface area to volume ratio will play an important part. This has all been covered before.
    – Tetsujin
    Apr 18, 2021 at 18:49

1 Answer 1


Ground spices will turn bad (go stale, loose potency) faster than their unground (whole) state.

This is because ground spices have a lot more surface to air ratio and will oxidize quicker; oxygen is the culprit.

This is the case for ginger as well as any other spices.

This is why most people will keep spices whole and grind/crush them at the last minute.

If you want to keep ground spices for a long time, you need to keep them in an air free environment, vacuum seal pack will help, but each it you want to use some, you will need to open the package and vacuum seal it again.

  • I edited, the culprit is not air, it's oxygen.
    – Max
    Apr 20, 2021 at 15:56
  • "Most" people might be an overstatement. :) I'm the only person I know who routinely fresh grinds any spice other than pepper. (In my experience, only the Indian grocer has a large selection of whole spices on hand.) Apr 20, 2021 at 16:04

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