The best time to freeze ginger or make Ginger or Ginger-Garlic Paste is Late Summer or Early Autumn. Ginger and garlic are plentiful then, good quality, local and cheap. You can often get young ginger at this time – it is gentler in flavour and delicious.
A good strategy for Autumn is to make a couple of jars of Garlic Paste and Ginger Paste (or Ginger-Garlic Paste), freeze 1 or 2 kgs of garlic, broken into cloves, to supplement the paste, and freeze some ginger root. Adjust the amounts to suit your family’s consumption of garlic and garlic.
These pastes are fairly common in parts of India, with households making it every morning. Traditionally ground by hand, it is now most commonly ground in electric wet-dry grinders. Outside of India it is made in the food processor or spice grinder, but the texture is a little different. It keeps well in the fridge and much longer in the freezer, so make some when garlic and ginger are at their peak of quality and are cheapest in price.
There is some concern about the safety of storing garlic with oil. Please do your research and make up your own mind. In any case use the paste quickly, keep the paste refrigerated at all times, and freeze any paste that you are not going to use within a week. It is good to freeze it in icecube trays, the store the cubes in ziplock bags. The cubes are conveniently sized for adding to dishes.
Freezing Ginger and Garlic
Simply peel the ginger (using the back of a teaspoon is an easy method) and pop pieces into ziplock bags for the freezer. To use, take a piece, allow it to semi or fully defrost, and then chop finely by hand or in a processor. It can be grated or microplaned while still semi frozen.
Garlic bulbs can also be frozen.
approx 0.5 cup peeled and chopped ginger
approx 0.5 cup peeled garlic, chopped roughly
0.5 tspn salt
Use 2 large heads of garlic and equal amounts of ginger for a medium jar. Grind the ginger and garlic to a smooth paste, adding only as much water as needed (see note below). Add the salt if you are not using it immediately. Pack into a sterilised jar with a non reactive lid. Store in the fridge (NEVER at room temperature), and use as needed. Freeze any that you want to keep for longer than a week.
For longer lasting paste, avoid any use of water. My trick is to take whole cloves of garlic and roughly chopped ginger and break it down with my hand held immersion blender. Then I transfer it to the small grinder in two batches to produce a nice creamy paste without any water.
Store in the fridge and use the paste quickly. Never leave it out of the fridge.
To Make Ginger Paste
Make the paste as above, without the Garlic.
To Make Garlic Paste
Make the paste as above, without the ginger.
Reminder: There is some concern about the safety of storing garlic. Please do your research and make up your own mind. In any case use the paste quickly, keep the paste refrigerated at all times, and freeze any paste that you are not going to use within a week. It is good to freeze it in icecube trays, the store the cubes in ziplock bags. The cubes are conveniently sized for adding to dishes.
A great winter staple.
This article is part of the Indian Essentials series.