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Why should ginger be peeled?

Ginger is a popular spice used in many cuisines around the world. Its distinct flavor and aroma can elevate both sweet and savory dishes. While ginger is commonly sold with its peel on, peeling it can make a difference in your cooking. Here’s an in-depth look at why you should consider peeling your ginger before using it.

Improves Flavor

Peeling ginger helps release its full flavor potential in your cooking. The peel contains essential oils that give ginger its pungency. However, the peel itself can have a tough, bitter taste that some find unappealing. Removing the skin eliminates any unpleasant textural elements or tastes.

In particular, older ginger tends to have a tougher skin that’s best removed. Peeling lets the softer, juicier ginger shine through clearly. You’ll notice a more vibrant, pure ginger taste in dishes made with peeled ginger.

Ginger Type Peel Taste Peeled Taste
Young ginger Mildly bitter Bright, fresh
Mature ginger Tough, fibrous Strong, spicy

As the table shows, peeling improves the flavor profile of both young and mature ginger roots.

Easier to Grate and Mince

Removing the skin also makes ginger much easier to grate or mince. The peel can be quite tough and fibrous. Trying to grate ginger with the skin on can result in stringy, unpleasant pieces. The grated ginger can even take on a “hairy” texture that’s unappetizing.

Peeling gives you a smooth, easy-to-grate surface. The grated peeled ginger will be finely minced without any stringy bits. It will also incorporate seamlessly into dishes, sauces, and dressings.

Similarly, peeling makes it easier to julienne, slice, or dice ginger. The peeled surface provides a uniform texture for cleaner, more precise cuts.


Removing the skin also improves ginger’s appearance in certain dishes. The thin brownish skin can stand out in paler dishes visually. For example, grated peeled ginger mixed into yogurt or light sauce will be orange-yellow instead of flecked with brown.

Peeled ginger also tends to hold its shape better with cooking. Sliced or julienned ginger is less likely to unfurl or become stringy when added to soups, stir fries, and other hot dishes.

Dish Unpeeled Ginger Appearance Peeled Ginger Appearance
Ginger carrot soup Flecks of brown skin visible Uniform color and texture
Ginger peach cobbler Skin apparent on surface Bright yellow, no brown bits

For a neater look, peeled ginger is often preferable in lighter dishes like these.

Easier to Digest

Some also find peeled ginger easier to digest. Ginger skin is high in fiber, which gives it more texture. For some, this extra fiber can cause digestive upset if high quantities of unpeeled ginger are eaten.

Removing the skin reduces the overall fiber content of ginger. This makes it gentler on sensitive digestive systems. The softer texture of peeled ginger also makes it easier to break down during digestion.

Of course, for those who can tolerate it, the extra fiber in unpeeled ginger can be beneficial. But peeling does make it more digestible for many people.

Less Pesticide Residue

Peeling ginger root may also reduce any pesticide residues on the surface. Ginger is on the “dirty dozen” list of produce that tends to contain higher pesticide levels.

While ginger is typically washed before sale, peeling provides extra assurance. Research suggests peeling certain vegetables and fruits can remove up to 92% of pesticide residues.

However, unpeeled organic ginger will have minimal to no pesticide exposure. So peeling conventional ginger is likely more important for reducing pesticides.

Ginger Type Expected Pesticide Residue
Conventional Higher levels
Organic Minimal or none

Peeling is most useful for removing pesticides on conventionally grown ginger. Organic ginger already has little to no pesticide residue.

Disadvantages of Peeling

While peeling ginger has some benefits, there are a few downsides to consider as well:

  • More labor intensive – Peeling ginger takes more time and work than using unpeeled.
  • Loss of nutrients – Ginger’s skin contains dietary fiber and antioxidants. Peeling removes some of these nutrients.
  • Goes bad quicker – The peeled surface is more exposed and will go bad faster than unpeeled ginger.

So while peeling improves ginger’s flavor and texture, it does require more prep work. Peeling also strips away some nutrition and reduces the storage time.

How to Peel Ginger

Peeling ginger is quick and easy with the right technique and tools. Here are some tips for peeling ginger efficiently:

  • Use a spoon – Use the edge of a spoon to scrape off the thin skin.
  • Use a vegetable peeler – Run a peeler across the surface to remove the skin.
  • Use a paring knife – Carefully slice off the skin with a sharp paring knife.
  • Grate it – Grate the ginger with a microplane or cheese grater to remove skin.

Ginger’s skin is very thin, so peeling just the surface layer is sufficient. Make sure not to peel off too much ginger flesh in the process.

The skin of young, fresh ginger peels off much more easily than mature ginger. Older ginger may need extra scraping or grating to remove all the tough skin.

It’s best to peel ginger just before using it. Wash and dry the ginger first for easier peeling. If peeling in advance, store the peeled ginger in an airtight container and refrigerate.


Peeling ginger can bring out its best qualities – a smooth texture, clean flavor, and visual appeal. While the skin is edible, removing it helps ginger’s taste and aroma shine. Peeling makes ginger easier to grate, slice, and digest as well.

However, peeling is also more labor intensive and strips some nutrients. Ultimately, it’s a personal choice based on your preferences, time available, and intended use.

Both peeled and unpeeled ginger can be excellent options. But peeling certain types of ginger and for specific dishes can take its flavor and appeal to the next level.