How to Tell If Ginger Is Bad?


If you are trying to learn how to tell if ginger is bad our article will help. Many years ago, when I worked as a sous chef in a Japanese kitchen, we used fresh ginger for many recipes. We would order a massive amount of fresh ginger root and freeze the rest of the whole unpeeled ginger root.

Freezing the fresh ginger root actually makes grating it easier. You can grate entire fresh ginger root to use in many recipes, some of which include: ginger seltzer, agadashi tofu, ginger cookies, a topping for grilled salmon, or adding it to rice.

Learning how to tell if ginger is bad is important if you buy it but don’t use it enough to keep it fresh.

How to Tell If Ginger Is Bad?

How to Tell If Ginger Is Bad?

When determining if unpeeled ginger is good or not, look at the color and firmness. If it starts to appear dull in color and soft in texture, this means you should toss it out because there’s a high chance that it may be rotten. The smell of fresh peeled/unpeeled ginger has an intense spicy scent that will dissipate when exposed for too long – so checking its fragrance can also help determine whether you need to discard your cooking ingredient.

Is the ginger all shriveled up and wrinkled like the piece in the photo above? If so there is a good chance that your ginger is bad.

What Is The Shelf Life Of Ginger?

Fresh ginger lasts longer than some other fresh produce items. When placed in the refrigerator, the same piece of ginger could last up to two months before it spoils.

Store your ginger in a cool and dark place. If you put it next to potatoes or citrus fruits, the flavor will transfer. Fresh ginger should last for three months if it is unpeeled and much less when peeled. When buying fresh ginger root, look for firm roots with smooth skin. The yellow color of the flesh may turn into a dull brown as the root ages. If you see any mold, throw it away to help avoid stomach upset.

Ginger should be kept in a tightly sealed bag or container and placed in the refrigerator, where it can last up to two months. I just put the whole ginger root into the fridge a few times and did not seal it in a bag; while this is not advisable, it’s not the end of the world and will prolong your ginger.

How To Tell If Ginger Root Is Bad? Can You Eat Bad Ginger?

  • When the color of ginger changes from yellow to brownish, it’s a sign your ginger is starting to rot.
  • If you notice that raw unpeeled ginger has become soft or mushy, this indicates spoilage as well.
  • When there’s not much luster left in its smell and taste, throw it out immediately because the chances are high that it could contain harmful bacteria.

You should not eat bad ginger. If you notice any of the three events listed above, do not risk eating the ginger. You cannot eat bad ginger.

Is Moldy Ginger Safe To Eat?

Can you eat moldy ginger? The first thing you should never eat is anything stale or moldy. The same goes for your ginger too. Learn how to tell if ginger is bad.

Rotten or moldy ginger can seriously damage your liver and cause cancer as well. Therefore, you should always avoid old or rotten ginger because of the toxin named Safrole which causes harm to our livers and can also lead us to have cancer in the future! Moldy Ginger contains this dangerous substance, so eating any kind of food that’s gone rotten isn’t worth it at all! 

Additionally, restaurants usually have a “zero-mold” policy when serving food. So you usually would not have to worry about encountering rotten ginger in a restaurant.

How To Store Fresh Ginger

This will also help you learn how to tell if ginger is bad.

  • Counter – whole fresh ginger will last 2-3 weeks on a counter.
  • Refridgerator – whole fresh ginger will last 3-8 weeks in a fridge.
  • Freezer – fresh whole ginger root will last 3 to 6 months.
  • If you have minced ginger it will not last as long. Learn how to mince ginger here.

How Long Does Ginger Last In The Fridge?

Fresh ginger unpeeled will last for 3-8 weeks in a fridge.

Peeled ginger will last 1-2 weeks in a fridge.

Freshly grated ginger will last less than five days in a fridge.

Pickled ginger will last up to 6 months.

Can You Freeze Ginger? How to Freeze Fresh Ginger

Yes, you can freeze ginger. Learning how to freeze fresh ginger is easy.

  • Put the entire unpeeled ginger root right in the freezer; it will last up to 3 months.
  • First, put the fresh, unpeeled ginger in an airtight container or ziplock, then freeze it. It will last 3-6 months.
  • You can still freeze peeled ginger, but it will not last as long in the freezer. Ginger that you peel then will last less than three months.
  • If you grate ginger first, then freeze it; it will only last up to 1 month in the freezer.
  • One other way to freeze fresh ginger is similar to the coconut milk ice cube process. Use a ginger grater to create enough ginger liquid to add to ice cube trays, then freeze it. After a few days, remove the cubes of ginger and place them into an airtight container.

What are some ways to use frozen ginger?

When you learn how to tell if ginger is bad you can also learn to avoid it by using more frozen ginger.

When you freeze whole unpeeled ginger, it is much easier to grate. As you grate the ginger, you will notice a pool of ginger juice forming; this ginger juice is fantastic when you add it to the seltzer.

  • Stir some in plain seltzer for a refreshing nonalcoholic ginger drink, or better yet, drop a few ginger juice ice cubes into a glass of seltzer.
  • Use a pinch of it on top of agedshi tofu.
  • Use it in a Thai food recipe for depth of flavor.
  • Add some to instant ramen for more flavor.

Is it Safe to Eat Sprouted Ginger?

How To Tell If Ginger Is Bad?

Sprouting ginger doesn’t produce toxins the way sprouted potatoes do, but it also doesn’t offer the same nutritional value as of fresh ginger. Bud growth causes the ginger root to wilt and dries out. So although you can eat it, it’s not nutritionally beneficial to your diet at this stage of development. As they age and shrivel up/dry out, most people will get rid of the sprouting ginger or plant it instead of cooking with them.

With that said though, if you’d like to, you could cook with it; it won’t harm you! Therefore, if you’re thinking of eating ginger that is sprouting, it’s ok; just remember never to eat anything moldy. If your recipe needs ginger with a strong aroma, don’t use the ginger that sprouted.

Figuring out how to tell if ginger is bad also helps you determine when it’s safe to eat.

What is blue ring ginger?

If you are wondering why your ginger is blue, don’t be alarmed. Blue ring ginger is another type of ginger found in various regions.

Certain ginger varieties have a distinct blue hue due to anthocyanins, which are plant colorants in the flavonoid family. If you see a relatively distinct bluish tint radiating throughout an entire knob of ginger or if there is just a faint ring around it, then that specific variety was bred for its coloring properties.

Several ginger varieties, such as Bubba Baba Ginger and the Indian variety used to produce it, have a blue tint due to anthocyanins.

Trace amounts of anthocyanin give certain types of ginger their faint bluish hint, while other versions are bred specifically for that coloration.

We breed particular special types of ginger to contain mainly anthocyanins, so we notice the bluish color more easily.

In conclusion, if your ginger is blue, it’s because we selectively breed it for that tint! It also means that it’ll taste a bit different from traditional varieties of ginger for this exact reason.

Can you plant ginger that has sprouted?

Yes, Growing ginger from the root is a great way to teach kids about botany. Ginger can grow indoors in a pot of soil and water, so it’s easy!

If your piece of ginger has multiple sprouts, then use a clean knife and cut the ginger into numerous pieces like the photo shows. After cutting the ginger sprouts, let the cut area heal over and dry out before planting it. Otherwise, you may get rot or mold growing on the freshly cut site.

One way is to suspend the ginger that has sprouted into the water, and once you see a sufficient amount of sprouts, you can place it in the soil.

A second way is to place dried-out cut ginger sprout directly into mildly acidic soil; ginger root prefers to grow in 6.1 to 6.5 PH soil. Place your ginger 2-4 inches below the soil surface with the sprouts facing up. If your ginger already has large nodes, make sure the soil does not cover the green shoots. A great way to check your soil is by using a soil PH test kit. 

Do not overwater ginger. Otherwise, the rot will occur. Always check the soil before watering ginger. Ginger plants like 3-4 hours of direct sunlight.

Getting delicious fresh ginger for cooking later on down the road is a treat!

ginger that sprouts is safe to eat
Ginger that has sprouted is safe to eat.
Sprouting ginger
Cut the ginger and divide the sprouts for planting.
Ginger plant fully grown
A ginger plant is grown from sprouted ginger.

Frequently Asked Questions