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Why peel fresh ginger with a spoon? It's acclaimed as the preferred method, in the slide show for this week's finalist float recipe. Thanks!

Why not use a small paring knife with a nicely sharpened edge? I agree that some spoons (especially some old sterling ones) have a fairly sharp edge but they are so awkward to hold when peeling. Also, my sharpest spoon isn't nearly as sharp as a knife. Thus, I'm baffled as to the reasons for/advantages to using a spoon instead of a knife for peeling fresh ginger root. Thank you. ;o)

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

asked over 5 years ago
17 answers 3549 views
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boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 5 years ago

I never did peel it with a spoon, and the instruction has always puzzled me, too. I've seen people do it, and it not only takes forever, but also bruises the living daylights out of the poor thing. I trim it to two flat ends, stand it on one of them, and carve straight down the side from top to bottom, all the way around, with a chef's knife. It might take 30 seconds, and the ginger seems happier for it.

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added over 5 years ago

Peeling with a spoon tends to take off only the scaly beige brown skin, leaving the entire ginger for use. I did give it my best shot at using this technique but the peeler seems to be more convenient to hold!

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added over 5 years ago

For me a spoon works beautifully--much better than a small paring knife. It is very quick and just takes off the outer layer, it doesn't cut into the root like a knife does, and it gets into the smaller knob bases very easily, The spoon doesn't have to be sharp. Try it.

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added over 5 years ago

With limited experience, I observe that the spoon method works beautifully, but only when the ginger is really crisp and fresh. Whenever possible, I follow Kayb and don't peel. Sometimes I use my macho garlic press and avoid the issue.

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Anitalectric

Anita is a vegan pastry chef & founder of Electric Blue Baking Co. in Brooklyn.

added over 5 years ago

This method conserves the most amount of ginger root, while using a knife or peeler would remove the sweetest layer, which is right next to the skin.

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SKK
added over 5 years ago

Peeling ginger with a spoon has the sense of honoring a myth rather than what is practical for the ingredient in front of you. If the ginger is clean Kayb's recommendation is accurate in my experience. Seems to me, the point of anything we do in cooking is honoring the ingredients and serving healthy meals without waste.

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added over 5 years ago

I prefer using a spoon, because I exert less pressure in peeling than when I use a knife. The critical thing with a spoon is you must peel the ginger in the right direction. If you go counter to the 'grain' (for lack of a better word), you'll end up taking a layer or two off the ginger when you remove the skin. If you go 'with' the grain, you'll only take the skin off and end with a (mostly) smooth, peeled piece of ginger.

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AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 5 years ago

Thanks, everyone! I did a bit of research (a Google search, actually) which led me to a video of someone from Whole Foods demonstrating. She used the spoon, with her thumb on the back of the bowl of the spoon, cutting away as you would use a penknife. That actually makes a lot more sense, if you're going to use a spoon (or at least one with a slight curve in the handle between the bowl and where it typically goes in your hand). The pulling motion just doesn't work for me, at least not as well as my fine-bladed paring knife. But now, based on several of the responses, I ask why on earth you would peel the ginger at all when using the ginger in syrup? And also, I'm intrigued by Analectric's response that the area right under the skin is sweeter. Does that really make a difference, when the ginger is to be used in a cooked dish, especially when a fair bit is being used? And when it's used in a syrup? Cost is not a factor, at least in this area, where I can get a week's worth of lovely, very fresh ginger for about $.30, at most . . . and I use it at least several times a week. Maybe this puzzles me as much as it does because I've been using a paring knife on a regular basis since I was in middle school (if not before then . . . I cannot remember, actually, not knowing how to use one, and use one well), so using one with a sharp blade for a task like this seems second nature. Thanks again. ;o)

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SKK
added over 5 years ago

@AntoniaJames - well said!

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added over 5 years ago

Vegetable peeler all the way.

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AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added over 5 years ago

I went and played with the technique again, using a thick-handled toddler spoon, and scraping away from me (as demonstrated in a video on YouTube, posted by Whole Foods), in the direction of the grain of the ginger root. As noted above, it's much easier in one direction than in the other! Doing it this way actually worked really well, and was quite easy. I generally don't pick up an implement of any kind if I already have one in my hand (or next to me on the counter) that will do the job at hand just as well. It's a matter of efficiency. So I am not likely to go digging into my drawer, to get a spoon out just for this. I will however much appreciate knowing this method next time I'm at a ski or other vacation rental without a good small knife. (I never check luggage, and TSA doesn't let you bring knives on board, no matter how small.) That said, I also appreciate knowing that peeling really isn't necessary for many recipes. And sometime in the not too distant future, when time, which has been unusually scarce for the past few months, permits, I'll post a photo of the spoon I used to try it, as well, as there's an amusing story behind it. ;o)

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added 9 months ago

We are Organic Ginger Growers and processors of USA Ginger and Turmeric. I suggest you leave the skin on. Good quality fresh and organic ginger skin does not impart an unwanted taste. Often the skin or just under it has high levels of essential oils. Peeling the ginger can remove up to 75% of these tasty and beneficial compounds.

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Susan W

Susan W is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added 9 months ago

I'm glad you posted this. Out of habit, I have always carefully peeled my ginger even though I know it's not necessary. I'm going to stop peeling it starting today!!

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AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added 9 months ago

Thank you, Verdant Kitchen. So helpful. ;o)

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added 9 months ago

I never used ginger in my family cooking, so when I mover to Japan there was a lot to learn. When you buy ginger, wash and if some of the side knobs are darkened in color or sliced off and dried, re-slice those areas. Use a veggie brush to scrub, then decide how you will use . I usually slice with the peeling on for several stew-type dishes, and freeze slices and freeze the other chunks as is. Chunks can be grated with the peeling on and you will never notice it with flavor or color. Slices can be added to a longer cooking dish (stew)(noodles) and eaten in the soup.