View Full Version : HELP!!! Questions about whole nutmeg and whole root ginger

02-20-2003, 09:30 PM
I'm trying not to use as many bottled spices these days, but I have a few questions. Please advise.

About whole nutmeg:
How do I store whole nutmeg after part of it has been grated? Can I keep it in a jar in the pantry? Also, how long does one last?

About whole root ginger:
How do I store whole root ginger and how long will it keep? Also, I have recipes where some call for grated ginger and then I have other recipes where it calls for minced ginger. What's the difference? I know how to grate fresh ginger, but I'm not so sure about the mincing. I don't like the taste of a lot of ginger and am not sure about little pieces being in my food. Also, can I use powdered ginger if I don't have fresh on hand? What percentage of powdered do I use in place of fresh?

WHEW...lots of questions. Sorry, but I need your help.

Thanks so much!!!

02-20-2003, 10:16 PM
Hmmm, I'll comment only on what I'm comfortable with, and leave the rest to the experts on the BB:

NUTMEG: I use a lot of fresh nutmeg, and always treat it the same: I cut one nut in half, grate/zest/plane what I need and toss the rest back in the jar and store it in the cupboard/spice rack for a really long time - many months
GINGER: There are a lot of theories on storing fresh ginger root, but I'll defer to others, as I find it easiest to buy very small quantities and toss the 5-7 cents' worth that I don't use. For grated ginger, I use a microplance -- for minced, I cut the peeled root length-wise into slim slivers, turn it on its side and repeat. Then I cut across to make tiny cube cuts. If you don't want those little pieces of ginger root in your dish you could simply peel ginger root slices, cut it into disks, go ahead with your recipe, and remove the ginger before serving. That would work with lemongrass as well.
As far as subbing powdered ginger for fresh - well, I'm sure there's a formula but I don't know it. I'd look for fresh ginger root at the market - it's pretty darned cheap!

02-21-2003, 02:55 AM
Nutmeg - I'm assuming you have one of those small tubular nutmeg graters with the little compartment on top? You can store your partially grated nutmeg in the compartment so you don't have to fish it out of a jar of whole nutmeg. It lasts pretty indefinitely.

Whole Ginger - I keep whole ginger, unpeeled in the freezer in a ziplock bag. When I need to use some, I nuke it for about 30 seconds, peel, and continue with recipe. It does tend to release some water after frozen but it doesn't hurt the taste any.

02-21-2003, 06:50 AM
I second what everyone else has said. I keep a whole nutmeg pretty much forever. As for ginger, I have had pretty good luck keeping the partially used piece in the fridge. I put it in a small plastic container or jar, wrap in a paper towel, and douse the towel with brandy. Whenever possible I try to use a fresh piece but this comes in handy in a pinch when I need a piece and don't have a "new" one. Since it is sold by the pound I don't feel guilty breaking off the smallest "arm" possible from the big root when I buy it and then like Canice said toss if it starts to shrivel up.

02-21-2003, 06:59 AM
Here's my techniques:

Nutmeg: Bought whole. Kept in spice jar. Use microplane to add to recipies. Seems to keep forever.

Ginger: I break it into nodes, put it in a pint mason jar, vacuum it with my Foodsaver, and keep it in the fridge. To use, I scrape the skin off with the back of a spoon, then mince or whatever as I would garlic. Keeps for a month this way. No defrosting puddle.

02-21-2003, 07:42 AM
I leave my nutmeg in the compartment of the grater. It lasts indefinitely.

I keep a hunk of ginger in the freezer. I let it stand at room temperature for about 5 minutes before using a sharp knife to slice off the amount I need. I return the rest of the hunk to the freezer and peel the piece I'll be using. I find that ginger is easier to peel/slice/chop when slightly frozen.

02-21-2003, 08:21 AM
I tend to mince ginger finely no matter what the recipe tells me to do, but then again, I don't mind the little pieces in my food.

I agree with all that's been said about the nutmeg. It lasts ages.

Lastly, I don't THINK powdered ginger substitutes for fresh ginger with success. I would stick with the "always have a hunk in the freezer" technique, which I haven't tried yet, but it sounds good. I always just have a piece in my vegetable drawer. Occasionally it sits around too long and gets dried out or moldy, but for the most part, I just always grab a little arm when I'm at the grocery store and keep up to date with it.

02-21-2003, 08:49 AM
Fro ginger, I bought dried ginger root from Penzey's. To use, you soak it in water....it is peeled and works just like fresh. The dry root keeps forever.


02-21-2003, 10:27 AM
I, too, keep my nutmeg in the little compartment of the grater. It lasts forever. I usually by them 2 in a bag and keep the extra one in a little jar. Regarding the ginger, I break of a hunk in the vegetable department in the market, then wrap it in foil and put in the freezer. I grate of whatever I need WHILE FROZEN, then put it back in the freezer.

02-21-2003, 12:07 PM
I do the same as everyone else with my nutmeg, store one in the top of my nutmeg grater and keep the others in a little spice tin.

With ginger, I freeze mine. I made a recipe last weekend that called for grated ginger and I just whacked off a piece, peeled it with my paring knife and grated it frozen. It worked beautifully. If I want minced ginger, I also slice it thinly, then slice into long, thin strips and then cube as finely as I can. I don't notice them at all in food.
I was going to mention the dried ginger root from Penzey's and I have a couple of friends who keep their ginger in a little jar in the fridge covered with sherry. From time to time they use the sherry in a dish that asks for both sherry and ginger, then replace the sherry. They both say it's lovely kept that way and will keep for quite a while.
As for dried, I wouldn't. They don't taste at all alike.

02-21-2003, 12:28 PM
WE must use a lot more ginger than the rest of you....I buy ginger pretty much every week and keep it in the butter compartment of the door (just because it is handy...there is no zen of the butter compartment involved). If it gets dry, I slice away the dry parts, and chop the inside stuff.

I've never had fresh nutmeg. Apparently I need to! Better start my next Penzey's list.


02-21-2003, 12:54 PM
On one of the cooking shows (I think it's Christina Pirello from 'Christina Cooks') they grate/mince the ginger, then squeeze the juice into the recipe and discard the solids. I've never tried it, but I guess the idea is to get the zing of ginger without the little bits in your food.

Me, I buy the ginger, use it once, then watch it shrivel into oblivion in my pantry. :D

02-21-2003, 09:31 PM
I've heard the following before but never tried it.

From gourmetmagic.com

August 2002 “Cooking Tips” Winner —
Regina Flynn

I found a really neat way of storing fresh ginger that has worked very well for me. First, purchase a new terra cotta flowerpot. Fill the pot with play sand. Put the pot in a 250-degree oven for about a half hour to sterilize it. Cool. Submerge pieces of ginger into the sand and store in your pantry. The ginger stays fresh and wonderful for weeks and weeks