You already have the key information about what ginger is (a spicy, floral, and citrusy rhizome that’s tasty and good for you, too), the best place and ways to store it, and a few preparation tips and tricks (in case you missed it, all that and more can be found in our article here), but there’s one thing that was conspicuously missing from an otherwise detailed guide: how to grate ginger.
Grated ginger is an ingredient you’ll see pop up in a variety of recipes (more on that below), so here’s what you need to know about grating ginger properly—avoiding both bloody knuckles and frustratingly stringy bits—and using it in all sorts of dishes.
What is Grated Ginger?
Grated ginger is tiny shreds of the flesh of the yellow root—so fine that it basically melts into whatever you’re preparing, leaving only its fiery fragrance behind. Wherever a recipe calls for minced ginger, you can use grated instead for an even finer texture and less effort spent.
How to Grate Ginger
The easiest way to grate ginger is to use a microplane (the classic series zester). It works quickly and makes it more than a breeze to get however much ginger you need grated quickly. All you need to do is run your piece of ginger (peeled or unpeeled) back and forth across the teeth of the microplane, but here are some tips and tricks that will make it super smooth:
- Use a large hunk of ginger, not a small one. This gives you more leverage and more to hold on to while you grate.
- Run the ginger across the microplane with the ginger fibers perpendicular to the teeth. This helps you avoid clogging the teeth with all the long, tough fibers. If the teeth still get clogged, run it under cold water and gently use your fingers or a sponge (pulling down towards the handle, the opposite way of the teeth) to pull the fibers out.
- Frozen ginger grates even more easily than room temperature or fridge-cold ginger, so plan ahead and pop your knob into the freezer for 15 minutes before grating.
- Grate the ginger directly over a bowl if you can so you can catch any juices that fall while you grate. That juice is really flavorful, so keep it and use it together with the grated flesh in your recipes.
If you don’t have a microplane, I would highly suggest you invest in one to grate clouds of Parmesan cheese, zest citrus fruits, make fine shavings of chocolate, and, among those other things, grate ginger. If you have a Japanese copper grater, you can use that in the same way as a microplane for grating ginger.
There are various online sources that also recommend using the prongs of a fork for grating ginger, but this is not one of them. If you don’t have a way to grate the ginger with a real fine grater, I would recommend mincing the ginger and then running your knife over the mince multiple times to make it super fine, or simply using grated ginger paste made in a food processor.
How Can You Use Grated Ginger?
From baked goods (like this ginger tinged strawberry and rhubarb pie) to salad dressings, soups and stews to glossy glazes for homemade doughnuts, grated ginger is a versatile ingredient that can play sweet or savory. Use it to add a spicy fragrance to ice cream or frozen yogurt, add it to the base of a blueberry muffin mix for an extra layer of freshness and flavor, grate it directly into a bowl of dumpling filling (like these potstickers), or add a teaspoon to your favorite fruity cocktail. The possibilities are as endless as your imagination, so get grating and enjoy!