Fresh ginger root lends a warm, aromatic flavor to baked goods like gingerbread cookies or apple crisps and adds complexity to stir fry, stew, and curry dishes. Ginger root grows in eccentric branching shapes, which can make cutting it an interesting endeavor. Start with a large, plump-looking root and follow these steps to make chopped ginger root an easy addition to your cuisine.
Select ginger root that looks plump or puffed-up for its size. Ginger with a deflated or wrinkled appearance may be dry and more difficult to cut. Buy a larger piece than you think you need. Ginger root is usually sold by weight and is quite inexpensive, but you will lose some volume in peeling and cutting it.
Use a chef's knife to separate each of the side branches or nodes from the main ginger root. Slice the dry tip ends off of each of these shoots. Further separate this main section into smaller pieces by slicing it apart at each place the root bends at an angle.
Thinly pare the brownish skin from each tubular section of ginger root with a sharp paring knife. Discard the skin.
To use fresh ginger root immediately, slice each peeled tubular piece lengthwise into slices as thin as you can cut them, using the chef's knife and holding the piece between your thumb and forefinger. Turn the stack of slices 90 degrees, and slice again into matchstick pieces. Finally, rotate the stack and slice through it finely once more, which will yield tiny cubes.
To preserve ginger for future use, place unused portions of the fresh, peeled root into a freezer bag, seal, and store in the freezer. When your recipe calls for ginger, remove a piece of frozen root and grate it on the small "nutmeg" grate of a sharp box grater.