Galangal is a rhizome related to ginger and turmeric. While it is not exactly the same as its two more famous relatives, it is close enough that you can store it in the same ways. Galangal is used for its sharp flavor profile that includes notes of citrus, pine, and cinnamon. The best storage methods will preserve galangal’s distinctive taste and aroma. Below are some of the best ways to store galangal for the best flavor.
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You can dry the rhizome with a food dehydrator, an oven, or the sun. Regardless of the method you choose for storing galangal, the first thing you will want to do is to slice it as thinly as possible. Place the slices on the trays in your food dehydrator and dry it exactly as you would ginger or fruit.
Alternatively, you can place it on a baking sheet and into an oven that you have preheated to its lowest setting. Leave the door cracked to keep it from getting too hot and to allow the release of moisture.
A third option is to place the ginger slices on a drying rack and dry them in the sun. If your location has low humidity and is warm enough, the slices should be dry within a few days.
Dried galangal can be ground to a flavorful powder in a spice grinder or blender; you can steep the slices in hot liquids like soups to add flavor. Like most dried food items, you will be sacrificing some aspects of the fresh flavor for longer shelf life.
Keep it at room temperature
If you have fresh galangal that you plan to use within a week, you can just leave it on your kitchen counter. Galangal has a relatively long shelf life and will be fine at room temperature for short periods, especially if your kitchen isn’t excessively hot.
Storing galangal in the refrigerator will extend its shelf life considerably. Cut down on prep by bagging your galangal with its peel on in a resealable plastic bag and refrigerating it. Another option: if it is young and tender, grate it and store the grated rhizome in a jar with a little salt. Mature galangal is fibrous and woody, which makes grating difficult. The best way to deal with tough galangal is to pound or grind it to a paste. You can store galangal paste in a jar just like grated galangal.
Freeze the galangal whole by placing it into a resealable freezer bag and storing it in your freezer. Try to get all the air out of the bag to prevent freezer burn. If you have the time, slice the rhizome before freezing. Divide the slices into portions and freeze the portions individually. Freeze the galangal portions in small freezer bags, or wrap each portion in cling film and store them all together in one big freezer bag. The cling film will keep the galangal slices from sticking together.
Freeze ground or grated galangal in an ice cube tray or flash freeze on a baking sheet. Simply press the galangal down in the compartments of the ice cube tray and freeze. Pop the cubes out and store them long-term in a freezer bag. To flash freeze, start by lining the baking sheet with wax paper or cling film or by spraying it with nonstick spray. Place dollops of the ground or grated galangal on it and freeze. Remove from the baking sheet and store your individually frozen portions of galangal in a freezer bag. Flash freezing is another way to keep them from sticking together.