Whenever I can, I use fresh ingredients. One of my favorite flavors to add to any zesty meal is ginger root (by the way not really a root, but an underground stem or rhizome). Minced or grated, the fresh aroma of ginger root will evoke voluptuousness and its spicy flavor will delight you every time. Fresh ginger root is like the Scarlett Johansson of spices! But just like any starlet would tell you, it is not easy to stay fresh. Typically, one only uses a small amount of fresh ginger root in a dish . So I always ended up trying to store the rest so I could have it available when I needed more. I tried or heard of many methods: wrapping on paper towel and placing in the refrigerator (only good for a week storage); pickle ginger in Madeira wine (I never tried this, but it sounds odd); wrapping in aluminum foil in the freezer (stores well for a long time and the flavor is great, but texture and handling is awful), and burring it underground in a small pot in the kitchen and keeping it moist (OK Martha, I have a hard time remembering to water the plants that I can see!). So after many years and trial, this is the method that gives the best results: vodka pickled ginger. This is a variation from a Japanese technique I heard in which ginger is stored in sake. I however, always trust vodka over any alcohol (I think Scarlett does too) This will provide you with fresh ginger for up to a year. A bonus is that you can prepare ginger martini, nothing is wasted.
Things you will need
a vegetable peeler and a metal spoon
a clean glass jar (this is why you keep those around)
This is what you do
Peel the ginger root using the vegetable peeler for the straight sections and the spoon for the curvy ones. Place the ginger root inside the jar. Add vodka till the root is submerged. Place the lid on the jar and write the date on the lid. This is the best way to preserve your ginger. Fresh, crunchy, light color, every time. Keep in the refrigerator for up to a year.