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How to tell if fresh ginger has gone bad

Updated April 17, 2017

The fragrant and zesty spice of fresh ginger makes it an ideal vegetable to use in cooking, as a garnish and in marinades. Ginger is known for its ability to soothe the intestinal tract, helping to eliminate gas from the intestine, as well as its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. When selecting ginger root at the market, select roots that are smooth and firm, with no signs of mould. If you already have ginger at home, check the freshness of the ginger before using it with a few simple tips.

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  1. Hold the ginger root in your hand. The ginger should feel heavy, meaning that there is a lot of juice inside. The juice is an indication of fresh, healthy ginger. If the ginger feels light for its size, it is a sign that it's starting to dry out, which is a sure sign of the ginger being past its prime. Fresh ginger should also be firm to the touch. If it feels soft in any spots, do not use it.

  2. Look at the skin of the ginger. Fresh ginger root has smooth skin with no wrinkling. Ginger that is old will appear wrinkled or shrivelled, and may contain spots of white mould. Ginger with skin that is a light brown is a good indication of fresh ginger, while skin that is dark or contains any discolourations is not as fresh.

  3. Sniff the ginger. Fresh ginger will give off a fragrant ginger smell. Old ginger will not give off the smell as well, if at all. If the ginger smells like anything other than ginger, it's definitely not fresh and should be discarded.

  4. Tip

    Fresh ginger can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks and up to six months in the freezer, wrapped well in cling film. Even if one end of a piece of ginger is mouldy or soft, the other end may be suitable for use. If this is the case, cut the spoiled end off the root and check the other end before consuming it.


    Do not peel the ginger until you need to use it as it will quickly dry out and lose moisture.

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About the Author

Based in Los Angeles, Zora Hughes has been writing travel, parenting, cooking and relationship articles since 2010. Her work includes writing city profiles for Groupon. She also writes screenplays and won the S. Randolph Playwriting Award in 2004. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in television writing/producing and a Master of Arts Management in entertainment media management, both from Columbia College.

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