Same Same but Different: Minced vs dried vs fresh ginger

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Have you ever wondered what the difference is between minced, dried and fresh ginger? And why would someone need 3 types of ginger in their food? Well, today I’m here to answer these questions and more.

Ginger is actually the root of a plant and it has been used for a very long time in cooking and as medicine. In fact, I wrote about the medical properties of ginger in a recent post. In the modern era though, we have lots of different ways of using ginger – it can be used fresh, minced, grated, dried, boiled, candied and crystalised. Not bad for a simple root, right?

Today I’m just going to focus on the differences between minced, dried and fresh ginger because these are the most common types of ginger used in cooking (however you can also use candied or crystalised in baking but thats the subject of another post on another day).

What is fresh ginger and how is it used?

Fresh ginger is the type you buy in the fruit and veg section of the supermarket or from a fruit and veg shop. It looks like the picture in the video below, like old knuckly hands.

Usually fresh ginger is pale brown on the outside but yellow on the inside. It has a strong smell that is unique to ginger so when you learn that smell you’ll know it immediately for ginger – but it’s a pleasant scent, don’t worry.

Fresh ginger can be peeled, then sliced, grated, chopped and made into matchsticks. You can add fresh ginger in any of these forms to your meals.

Common meals that use fresh ginger are stir fries and curries. Often the ginger is added near the beginning of cooking so it’s flavour is released into the dish as it cooks.

Here’s a great video that shows you exactly how to peel and slice fresh ginger.

What is minced ginger and how is it used?

Minced ginger is really just very finely grated ginger. Usually you will find that minced ginger is sold in jars, suspended in water. The water just helps keep the minced ginger fresh for longer, therefore making it more convenient to the average shopper. In fact I use a jar of minced ginger all the time because that’s what suits my time and budget, so if it suits you then don’t be afraid to use it.

Minced ginger can be used in place of fresh ginger in stir fries and curries, but it’s also great to add to marinades.

What is dried ginger and how is it used?

Dried ginger is simply ginger without the water content and it comes in powdered form. You can buy it from the herb and spice section of the supermarket (this is where you’ll also find the minced ginger).

Dried ginger is most often added to cakes and biscuits, especially gingerbread – it’s obviously the main ingredient in this case. Dried ginger is not usually used in cooking (other than baking) however dried ginger could be used in marinades in place of minced ginger.


Now you know the difference between each type of ginger you’ll be needing a few recipes to try. You’re in luck cause I’ve found a list of recipes from BBC Good Food that uses all types of ginger so you can try them all out. See the list here.

So, do you love ginger? Are you going to start adding it to all your meals? Leave a comment below or tell me on Twitter, Facebook or Google+. And if you loved this article share it around using the buttons below. Thank you!

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