Fresh ginger might look intimidating, but it’s a great way to add freshness to a dish. It’s quite popular in Asian recipes, but many of us have only used the ground form occasionally when we’re making pumpkin pie. The zinginess of ginger is sometimes all you need to take your meal to the next level. Read on to find out how you can use it!

Most of us have a small jar of ground ginger somewhere in the pantry. And it’s mostly used for sweet desserts. In Asian cuisine, it’s extremely popular in savory recipes. If you’ve eaten savory dishes with fresh ginger before, you’ll know why it’s a favorite. It brings a pungent and peppery flavor, which matches well with savory dishes. Even though you could substitute fresh ginger with the powdered form, it’s not recommended. Fresh ginger is more acidic, an essential component in dishes like curries, marinades, and sauces.

If you’re new to cooking with fresh ginger, there are a few things you should know. Cooking it will dampen the flavor. So if you’re after the zingy kick, at it right at the end of the cooking. Some parts of the ginger root could be stronger, so make sure to taste it first before you use it in a dish.

While peeling is often recommended, some chefs say it’s unnecessary. The skin is edible, and won’t make the dish bitter. This will save you a lot of time, especially if you grate whole ginger on a microplane. Fresh ginger can be frozen, and it will actually grate easier too!

DessertsFresh ginger works great in desserts. Add it to banana bread, apple sauce, and compotes. Instead of the usual ground ginger in your gingerbread recipe, why not switch to fresh ginger?

Beverages – Add grated fresh ginger to your coffee, together with a sprinkle of cinnamon. You can also make a refreshing ginger ale by mixing grated ginger, syrup, and soda water. For a delicious winter warmer, make a turmeric chai latté. Simply whisk together ½ cup coconut milk, 2 tsp sugar, 1 tsp ground turmeric, 1 tsp freshly grated ginger, 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg, and one pinch of salt. Add to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let it rest for 5 minutes. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, and enjoy!

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Marinades – When you add fresh ginger to a marinade, it doesn’t just contribute flavor, but protease enzymes in the ginger actually helps to tenderize meat. Combine it with orange juice and a squeeze of honey and use as a marinade or basting.

Soups – Ginger is said to have anti-inflammatory properties (thanks to the gingerol compound) and is also known to help with nausea. But we love the warmth it brings to a soup. Whether you’re making a chicken soup or a creamy butternut soup, add a few tablespoons of fresh grated ginger. It also goes well with a carrot soup.