Have you ever sliced open a piece of ginger and discovered that it is an alarming green color inside? If this has happened to you, you are probably considering throwing the ginger away, but you may be wondering whether it is still okay to eat.
Some kinds of ginger do develop a green or blue ring inside the flesh, and this isn’t a sign that the ginger is unsafe to eat. However, if you think that the green is a sign of mold, or if there are other indications that the ginger has gone off, do not risk eating it, or you could make yourself sick.
In this article, we’ll explore why ginger might be green inside, and what indications you will see if your ginger has gone off.
Why Might Ginger Be Green Inside?
There are a couple of reasons that you might find a faint ring of blueish green inside your ginger, even when it is completely fresh and has just been purchased. While this line can look alarming, it’s not necessarily a sign that the ginger has gone off. Instead, it may indicate:
- The ginger has a high level of anthocyanins in it
- Ginger is a particular variety that shows a distinctive green color
If you have never come across Hawaiian ginger, it’s not surprising if you find the blue-green color alarming, but actually, this variety has been specifically bred to accentuate that color, and it is perfectly normal for it to be present inside the root. The more mature the ginger is, the bluer it will be. You can safely eat it if this is the case.
There are other kinds of ginger that have the same blue-green tint, although the Hawaiian variety is perhaps the best known. The color is due to the presence of anthocyanins inside the flesh, and these are a type of natural colorant that belongs to the flavonoid family. Just as they can make a red cabbage red, they lend ginger a natural green hue.
Even if you haven’t bought a blue variety of ginger, you might see a hint of green inside if it has a high level of anthocyanins in it. This coloration does not mean that the ginger is unsafe to eat, or that you need to be concerned about it. You can use it in cooking or to brew tea just as you would use any other kind of ginger.
How Do You Tell If Ginger Has Gone Off?
Of course, if you’re still unsure, it may help to know how to tell when ginger has gone off. A lot of people associate green discoloration with molding, so it’s no surprise if you feel uncertain about eating slightly green ginger, especially if you were not expecting it to be green when you bought it.
Fortunately, it is usually fairly easy to tell when ginger is no longer fresh. It will turn mushy and spongy, losing its firmness. This happens because the cell walls that give it its structure will start to break down and decay. You may notice juices leaking out of the ginger if this has happened, or you might find that it dries out and shrivels up.
Either way, a distinctive change in texture is a clear indication that ginger is no longer safe to eat. If you are unsure about the ginger, gently squeeze it. It should feel firm and hard in your fingers, with no noticeable give. If it doesn’t, throw it away, because mushy ginger has started to decay.
You should also check the outside of the ginger for any new spots or discoloration. Dark splotches or any sign of mold (such as white, blue, or green fuzziness growing on the surface of the ginger) show that the ginger has certainly gone off and should not be eaten. Throw it away and get some fresh, or you risk getting food poisoning.
Can You Eat The Green Ring?
If you have found the green ring inside your ginger, use the above guide to check whether the ginger is still okay to eat. As long as it is firm and smells good, it should be okay – but do you need to cut the green ring out of it?
Fortunately, the answer is no. The green ring is not harmful at all, so you can just chop and use the ginger as you normally would. Some people say that green ginger is milder than yellow ginger, but it’s best to test this for yourself to determine whether it is too hot for your tastes.
Can Ginger Turn Moldy?
Ginger, like most foods, can turn moldy, although it usually lasts fairly well if it is correctly stored. If it is kept in damp conditions or exposed to heat, however, there is a risk that it will start to turn moldy.
The skin of ginger is good at protecting the inner flesh from mold, because it is tough and water-resistant, meaning that the inside flesh should stay fresh and juicy, and should not be made wet by the outside air. However, if you have peeled the ginger, or if its skin has got damaged, there is a high risk that the inner flesh will start to mold.
If you’ve had some ginger for a while, you should inspect it carefully to determine whether or not it is safe to eat. Look out for a spongy texture or any signs of mold growing on the surface, and get rid of the ginger if you find either.
For the best results, you may wish to store ginger in your freezer and only defrost a small piece at a time. This helps it to last for a long period.
Ginger can be green on the inside if it contains a lot of anthocyanins, as certain varieties of ginger do. However, green fuzz could indicate that the ginger is going moldy, and if this occurs, it will need to be thrown away, not eaten.