3 Smart Ways to Use Leftover Ginger Peels

published Feb 5, 2016
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(Image credit: Sarah E Crowder)

Spoon, peeler, or Microplane — no matter how you decide to peel your ginger, most of the time the peels end up in the wastebasket. Yes, they’re tough and fibrous, but they’re also absolutely packed with flavor. It’s time to go whole ginger and hold onto those peels.

Depending on how you use ginger peels, anywhere from a few scraps to a whopping 1/2 cup can be used in recipes. I accumulate the peels over a month, and freeze them, so I have a solid stash to dig into when it comes to putting them to use.

1. Perfume steamed vegetables and fish.

Want a delicate gingery touch? Next time you’re steaming vegetables like broccoli or cauliflower, or wrapping a filet of fish, slip in a few ginger peels. As the steam cooks the meat, the aromatic oils in the ginger will scent the food with a warm, earthy flavor without any of the spice you’d get from juicy slices.

2. Make an all-purpose ginger broth.

Remember that stash of ginger peels you have waiting in the freezer? Now’s the time to use it. Add anywhere from 1/2 cup to 1 cup of ginger peels to 4 to 6 cups of water, and boil for 20 minutes. Let the ginger steep in the hot water at least an hour to fully infuse. Strain and use this liquid a base for a vegetarian broth or chili, or use it to make a spicy, gingery smoothie.

3. Add them to brines and marinades.

Next time you’re making a brine or marinade for chicken or pork chops, throw a few of the saved ginger peels into the mix. Pair with brown sugar, star anise, and chili peppers for a sweet and fiery mix.