Ever buy a whole ginger root and use only an inch of it in whatever new Thai stir-fry dish or Indian curry that caught your fancy? Then you know the struggle of finding a way to use or store the rest of the root. The Internet offers a very, very wide range of ways on how to store fresh ginger, from wrapping it in a paper towel to pickling it in booze to even dehydrating slices in the oven. Well, after extensive research and some serious experimentation, I found that the following three ways were not only effective, but also hassle-free and extremely quick. So, here are three solutions on how to store fresh ginger to avoid wasting it.

1. The Ziplock Bag Method

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This is probably the easiest and most efficient method. You don't even have to peel the ginger before storage! Simply blot any cut (now exposed) parts with a paper towel to absorb any leftover moisture and place in a resealable ziplock bag. Make sure all the air is pushed out and keep in the vegetable drawer of your refrigerator for up to three weeks. Use this ginger to make a fabulous and soothing cup of warm, ginger-spiced hot chocolate. You could even grate the ginger directly into gravies, soups and sauces.

#SpoonTip: Unpeeled whole ginger survives for up to a week longer than sliced, peeled ginger in the refrigerator.

2. The Pickling Method

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Another great and interesting solution to storing fresh ginger is pickling. Peel and cut the ginger root into thin strips, rounds, slices, chunks or any shape that you prefer. Put the peeled ginger pieces into a clean mason jar and submerge completely in dry sherry, brandy, vodka or vinegar of your choice. Secure the lid and store in a cool, dark place such as your refrigerator or cellar. Just keep in mind that even-sized pieces, specifically 1-inch cubes, work best for this method and should last for at least 2-3 months. Use this tangy, boozy version of ginger in any cooked dishes, particularly curries or add to cocktails to jazz up Sunday brunch.

3. The Freezer Method

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This is the ultimate answer to the question of how to store fresh ginger. Peel and finely mince any leftover ginger root using a box grater. Line a baking sheet with some parchment paper and spoon the minced ginger in small discs onto the sheet. Freeze until solid and store these discs in an airtight container for up to six months. For most stovetop cooking and smoothies, just throw the frozen discs directly into the dish. For raw dressings, let the ginger thaw first.

Just remember, the most important aspect of how to store fresh ginger is to buy fresh ginger. Make sure that the root is firm, heavy and smooth to the touch for ginger that keeps fresh for a long time. Now go ahead, add ginger to any and all dishes for a warm and earthy kick that is hard to beat.