How long does crystalized ginger last?

Crystalized or candied ginger is ginger that has been cooked in sugar syrup. This process preserves the ginger and allows it to be stored for extended periods of time. So how long does crystalized ginger last? Here is a quick overview:

Quick Answer

Properly stored, crystalized ginger will generally last for at least 6 months past the printed best by date and often much longer – up to 1-2 years past the printed date. The best way to extend its shelf life is to store it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.

How to Tell if Crystalized Ginger Has Gone Bad

Crystalized ginger doesn’t really go bad, but it can get stale or start to dry out. Here are some signs that indicate your crystalized ginger may not be as tasty as it once was:

  • Hard, dry texture – Fresh crystalized ginger should be relatively soft and chewy.
  • Crystallized surface – The sugar coating should be smooth and crystalline.
  • Dull color – The ginger should be a vibrant, gingery orange color underneath the sugar.
  • Soft spots or mold growth – This indicates spoilage.
  • Off smell – Crystalized ginger that has gone stale often loses its aroma.

If your crystalized ginger displays any of those characteristics, it’s probably past its prime. But a little drying out or crystallization doesn’t necessarily make it inedible. You be the judge!

How Long Does Crystalized Ginger Last at Room Temperature?

Crystalized ginger will generally last for at least 6 months past the printed expiration date when stored properly at room temperature. The sugar helps prevent it from spoiling. Over time, it will gradually start to dry out, but it should remain safe to eat.

That said, keeping crystalized ginger at room temperature will cause it to lose quality and absorb moisture from the air much faster. For maximum freshness and shelf life, it’s best to store it in the refrigerator or freezer (see below).

How to Store Crystalized Ginger

Here are some tips for proper storage to extend the shelf life of your crystalized ginger:

  • Keep it cool: Refrigerate crystalized ginger in an airtight container for up to 1 year. For even longer storage, keep it in the freezer for up to 2 years.
  • Avoid moisture: Dampness can cause crystalized ginger to become sticky. Store in an airtight container away from moisture.
  • Keep it dark: Light exposure can accelerate deterioration. Store in a dark pantry, or a container that protects it from light.

Does Refrigeration Extend the Shelf Life?

Yes, refrigeration can almost double the shelf life of crystalized ginger. While it may last for around 6 months in the pantry, refrigerating it extends the shelf life to around 1 year past the printed date.

The cold, dry environment of the refrigerator slows down moisture loss and deterioration. Simply store the ginger in an airtight container in the fridge and it will stay fresh for significantly longer.

Can You Freeze Crystalized Ginger?

Freezing is another excellent way to extend the shelf life of crystalized ginger. It can keep in the freezer for up to 2 years.

To freeze crystalized ginger:

  1. Place ginger pieces in a resealable freezer bag or airtight freezer-safe container. Press out excess air.
  2. Label with the date and contents.
  3. Store in the freezer for up to 2 years.

Thaw frozen ginger in the refrigerator before using. Its texture may become slightly softer after thawing.

How Long Does Ginger Last in Syrup?

Crystalized ginger is often packaged and sold in jars covered with sugar syrup. Unopened, this ginger in syrup generally lasts about 1-2 years past its printed expiration date when stored in a cool, dark place.

Once opened, it’s best to refrigerate it. Properly stored in the fridge, ginger in syrup will last for another 6-12 months after opening.

Does Dehydrated Ginger Last Longer?

Yes, dehydrated or dried ginger generally has a longer shelf life than crystalized ginger. When stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, it will last for 1-2 years.

The low moisture content of dried ginger inhibits microbial growth and slows deterioration. If it contains sulfites as a preservative, its shelf life may be extended by several more years.

How Long Does Ground Ginger Powder Last?

Ground ginger powder also has a relatively long shelf life. Like other dried spices, ground ginger powder can last for 2-3 years when properly stored.

Keep it in an airtight container in a cool, dark place to maximize freshness and shelf life. You can refrigerate or freeze it for even longer storage.

How to Store Ginger Root

Fresh, unpeeled ginger root has a much shorter shelf life than crystalized ginger. Still, proper storage can extend its life and prevent sprouting or mold growth.

  • Store fresh ginger in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. This will slow sprouting and drying out.
  • You can also freeze unpeeled ginger root for up to 6 months. Cut it into pieces before freezing.
  • Leave the skin on until ready to use. The skin protects the flesh from air exposure.

With the best storage methods, fresh ginger root will usually last for 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

Does Ginger Go Bad?

Technically, ginger doesn’t go bad in a way that makes it unsafe to eat. However, over time it will start to dry out, lose flavor, and become less pleasant to eat. Here are some signs that fresh ginger has gone past its prime:

  • Wrinkled, dry, shriveled skin
  • Soft or spongy texture
  • Strong, bitter taste
  • Visible mold

If you notice these characteristics, it’s best to throw away and replace the old ginger root. But ginger that is just slightly dried out can still be revived by peeling and slicing into a dish. Use your judgment to determine if it needs to be discarded.

Can I Eat Green Ginger?

Sometimes, fresh ginger root may develop greenish patches on the skin. This is usually a sign that the ginger has been exposed to sunlight or fluorescent lighting, which causes development of chlorophyll. The green color itself is not dangerous.

However, green ginger may have an unpleasant taste,. The flavor of the underlying ginger has likely started to deteriorate, leaving an bitter, soapy aftertaste. For best quality, it’s advisable to peel away the green parts. The remaining non-green ginger flesh can still be used.

If the entire root has turned green, or the green parts penetrate deep into the flesh, the ginger should be discarded. But small green patches can be safely trimmed away.

How to Substitute Fresh Ginger for Ground Ginger

If a recipe calls for ground ginger and you only have fresh, here is a simple substitution:

1 teaspoon ground ginger = 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger

When substituting fresh for ground, use about 3x as much, because ground ginger is more concentrated and powdered. Adjust to taste, adding more fresh ginger if you want a stronger flavor.

The reverse substitution also works:

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger = 1 teaspoon ground ginger

When going from fresh to ground, use about 1/3 of the amount since fresh is less concentrated.

Substitute for Crystalized Ginger

Crystalized ginger adds a lovely sweet spiciness to dishes. But if you don’t have it, here are some alternatives:

  • Fresh ginger + sugar – Grate fresh ginger, then coat with granulated sugar and let sit for 30 minutes.
  • Chopped dates, raisins or prunes – These dried fruits have a similar chewy texture and sweetness.
  • Dried ginger – Rehydrate by pouring hot water over slices before using.
  • Chopped candied citrus peel – Use lemon, orange or grapefruit peel.

Combine fresh ginger with a touch of honey or maple syrup to replace the sugar coating of crystalized ginger.


With proper storage and handling, crystalized ginger can last for well over a year, often staying fresh for up to 2 years past the printed best by date. Keep it in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer to get the most longevity out of your ginger. If it dries out or crystallizes, it’s still fine to eat, though the texture and flavor may change over time. Look for mold growth, off odors or very hard, shriveled ginger to determine if yours has gone bad.

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