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Can I blend ginger without peeling?

Ginger root is a popular ingredient used in many dishes for its spicy, pungent flavor. It can be used fresh, dried, ground or juiced. When using fresh ginger, many recipes call for peeling the ginger first. But what if you want to blend ginger without peeling it? Is it safe to blend ginger with the skin on? Here’s a look at the pros and cons of blending ginger with and without peeling.

Benefits of Blending Ginger Without Peeling

There are a few potential benefits to blending ginger without first removing the skin:

  • Saves prep time – Peeling fresh ginger can be time consuming. Blending it unpeeled saves you this prep step.
  • Retains nutrients – Ginger’s skin contains fiber and beneficial phytochemicals. Blending with the skin retains more of these nutrients.
  • Adds fiber – The skin is an extra source of fiber. This can be beneficial for smoothies, juices and other blended items.
  • Reduces waste – By blending the whole ginger root, you don’t lose any to peels and trimmings.

Downsides to Blending Unpeeled Ginger

However, there are also some potential cons with leaving the peel on:

  • Tough, fibrous texture – The skin can be tough and almost woody. This can leave stringy pieces in your blended ginger.
  • Unpleasant flavor – Ginger peel has a stronger, more bitter and intense flavor than the interior flesh.
  • Food safety concerns – Dirt and bacteria can hide in ginger’s cracks and crevices. Blending unpeeled may increase the risk of contamination.
  • Affects blend consistency – The skin’s texture can impact the final consistency of smoothies, juices, sauces, etc.

Tips for Blending Ginger with Skin On

If you do want to blend ginger without peeling, here are some tips to get the best results:

  • Wash thoroughly – Scrub the ginger well with a vegetable brush under running water to remove surface dirt and bacteria.
  • Cut into smaller pieces – Cutting the ginger into coins or small chunks can make it easier to blend smoothly.
  • Use a powerful blender – A high-speed blender will pulverize the skin more thoroughly than a standard blender.
  • Strain if needed – For very smooth blends, you may want to strain out the fibrous bits after blending.
  • Balance strong flavor – Combine with other strong flavors or sweet ingredients to balance the intense ginger taste.
  • Remove tough ends – Peel just the knobby, tough end portions which can be especially stringy.

When Peeling Ginger is Recommended

While blending unpeeled ginger can work in some cases, it’s usually best to peel ginger if:

  • Making ginger tea – The peel can make ginger tea bitter and fibrous.
  • Using in stir fries – Long fibrous strands are unpleasant in sauteed dishes.
  • Adding to smoothies – For very smooth, drinkable smoothie texture.
  • Juicing – Peel always should be removed for juicing ginger.
  • Baking – Peel pieces can burn and become bitter when roasted.
  • Candying – Skin prevents the sugar syrup from penetrating the ginger.
  • Immune issues – Some people may be sensitive to compounds in the peel.

So for the most tender, pleasant results, it’s often better to take the time to peel ginger. But again, with care and the right techniques, blending unpeeled ginger can work too.

Nutrition of Ginger With and Without Peel

Here is a comparison of the nutrition in ginger with and without peel per 100 grams (source):

Nutrient Ginger with Peel Ginger Without Peel
Calories 80 75
Protein 1.5g 1.8g
Carbs 17.8g 17.5g
Fiber 2g 0.7g
Fat 0.7g 0.8g
Vitamin C 5mg 8mg

As you can see, ginger with the peel retains more fiber, but slightly less vitamin C versus peeled ginger. Overall, both provide vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds.

Popular Ways to Use Blended Ginger

Here are some of the most popular ways to use blended ginger, both peeled and unpeeled:

  • Ginger Juice – Blend grated ginger with water and strain to make a spicy ginger juice. Great for mixing into drinks or marinades.
  • Ginger Smoothies – Add some fresh ginger to your favorite fruit or vegetable smoothies. It pairs well with citrus like orange or lemon.
  • Ginger Sauce – Blend ginger, garlic, lime juice, chili and cilantro for a tasty sauce for fish, chicken or tofu.
  • Ginger Dressing – Puree ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic and honey for an Asian inspired salad dressing.
  • Ginger Tea – Simmer grated peeled ginger in hot water and then strain to make a warm ginger tea. Add lemon and honey to taste.
  • Ginger Shots – Blend concentrated ginger juice with lemon and cayenne for a spicy immunity boosting shot.
  • Ginger Soup – Blend sauteed ginger with vegetable or chicken stock for a soothing pureed ginger soup.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK to eat ginger peel?

Ginger peel is edible, but it’s fibrous texture and bitter flavor generally make ginger easier to enjoy when peeled. The peel contains beneficial compounds though, so leaving it on in some cooked or blended dishes is fine. But for tea, juicing and other delicate uses, peeling is best.

Does blended ginger lose nutrients?

A small amount of ginger’s vitamin C can be lost when blending due to exposure to air. However, its antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds and other nutrients remain intact when blended. To maximize retention, consume blended ginger soon after making.

Do you need to peel old ginger?

Yes, older ginger tends to have a more bitter flavor and coarse skin. The peel is especially important to remove in older ginger before eating, juicing, blending or cooking for best flavor.

Is it better to juice or blend ginger?

Juicing extracts the liquid and nutrients, leaving behind the fiber. It gives you just the pure spicy ginger juice. Blending includes all parts for a thicker, fiber-rich blend. Either method is great depending on your needs.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, whether you peel your ginger before blending comes down to personal preference. Leaving the skin on does provide extra fiber, nutrients and reduces waste. But the skin’s texture can negatively impact the final blend or dish.

For the smoothest, most pleasant results, peeling is often best for delicate recipes like juices, teas and smoothies. However, the skin can be left on for blended items like sauces, dressings, soups and more robust smoothies, provided the ginger is washed well.

So take your goals into account when deciding whether to peel your ginger. With the right methods, both approaches can provide an aromatic, spicy boost of flavor and nutrients.