Types and Forms of Ginger Used for Cooking and In Candy

From candied ginger to pickled ginger or ground, learn how to store your ginger and what forms to use for best results.

Ginger is a semitropical plant whose root is used as a pungent spice. Ginger has a slightly hot flavor and nippy aroma.

ginger root 2

Market forms of ginger:

Ginger is used both as a seasoning and as a confection.

  • Candied or Crystallized: A confection rather than a spice. Bits of gingerroot are cooked in a sugar syrup, then coated with sugar. Candied ginger often is found in chutneys and preserves.
  • Gingerroot: The fresh form of the root. Its flavor is hotter and more aromatic than ground ginger. Gingerroot is a staple in Chinese, Indian, Caribbean, African, and other cuisines.
  • Ground: Gingerroot dried and ground to a powder; used mostly in baked goods.
  • Pickled: Gingerroot preserved in vinegar and often served as an accompaniment to sushi, a Japanese delicacy.
  • Preserved: A confection, not a spice. Gingerroot is packed in a heavy sugar syrup. Preserved ginger is used in the same way as candied ginger.


When choosing fresh gingerroot, select a piece that's firm and heavy; avoid shriveled stems. Purchase ground ginger as you do other spices.


  • For short-term storage of fresh gingerroot, wrap the root in a paper towel and refrigerate.
  • For long-term storage, immerse peeled slices of gingerroot in dry sherry or wine and refrigerate in a covered container for up to 3 months. (The ginger-flavored sherry can be used in cooking.) Or, place the root in a moisture-and vapor-proof bag and freeze. Then, grate or cut off what you need from the unpeeled frozen root.
  • Store ground and candied ginger as you do other spices — in a cool, dry, dark place.
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