The Best Way to Freeze Galangal: Preserving Flavor and Freshness

Can you freeze galangal? – The best way

Galangal is a tropical plant closely related to ginger and is commonly used in Thai and Indian dishes for its strong and fragrant flavor. If you find yourself with more galangal than you can use before it spoils, freezing it is a great way to preserve its freshness. In this article, we will explore the best way to freeze galangal for optimal long-term storage.

Understanding Galangal

Galangal, pronounced just as it’s spelled, is best known for its root, which is the part that is consumed. The root ranges in color from white and yellow to pink and red and has a thick woody skin. The edible pulp of galangal is typically a much lighter color than the root itself.
Galangal is not as mainstream as other herbs and spices, but it offers a wide range of health benefits. It is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which can help alleviate the symptoms of chronic diseases, particularly rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, galangal has antimicrobial and antifungal properties, making it effective in preventing foodborne illnesses.

Freezing Galangal: Best Practices

When freezing galangal, it is important not to remove the skin before freezing. Leaving the skin intact helps preserve the flavor and health benefits of the root. Here are the steps to effectively freeze galangal:

  1. Wash the galangal roots thoroughly in clean, cool water to remove any dirt, debris, or insects. Gently rub the roots under running water or soak them in a bowl of water to make sure they are clean.
  2. Gently pat the galangal roots dry, taking care not to rub off the outer layers.
  3. Slice the galangal into disposable portions according to the different dishes you will be using it in. You can also grate the galangal and portion it using plastic wrap, freezer bags, or airtight containers.
  4. For convenience, use an ice cube tray to separate the galangal portions until they are completely frozen. Then wrap each piece in good quality plastic wrap. Alternatively, you can use separate freezer containers or freezer-safe Ziploc bags for smaller portions.
  5. Label the containers or bags with portion sizes and the current and expiration dates. Place containers as far away from the freezer door as possible to avoid temperature fluctuations.

When frozen and stored properly, galangal will keep for three to nine months. Freezing galangal in individual portions helps avoid thawing more than necessary and reduces the risk of freezer burn and crystals.

Thawing Galangal

When thawing frozen galangal, keep in mind that the root will lose some of its firmness, similar to other products. Follow these steps to thaw frozen galangal:

  1. Remove the desired amount of galangal from the freezer. It should take less than twenty minutes to thaw completely.
  2. If you need to grate the galangal, do so while it is still firm after removing it from the freezer. You can then return the remaining frozen galangal to the freezer.
  3. After the galangal has been at room temperature for five to ten minutes, it will have the perfect consistency for peeling. Instead of using a knife, use a spoon to gently peel the root to minimize waste.
  4. Alternatively, you can place sealed frozen galangal in a bowl of room temperature water to speed up the thawing process.

Although thawed galangal may appear soft or mushy, it is still safe to eat. The change in texture occurs because the moisture in the root has frozen and changed the behavior of its molecules.

Other storage options for Galangal

If you have fresh galangal and do not want to freeze it, there are alternative storage methods to keep it fresh for a limited period of time. Here are a few options:

  1. Refrigerator storage: Fresh galangal can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks if stored properly. Clean galangal by gently rubbing the skin under cool water and pat dry. Wrap the root in a clean, damp cloth, then cover with plastic wrap or place in an airtight bag or container. Store it in the back of the refrigerator where the temperature will fluctuate the least.
  2. Immediate use: If you plan to use the rest of the galangal within a day or two, you can skip the damp cloth and wrap it directly in plastic wrap or use an airtight container.

Remember to date the galangal if you store it in the refrigerator to keep track of its freshness.

Use galangal in your recipes

Now that you know how to effectively store galangal, let’s explore how to use it in your recipes. Galangal adds a unique and aromatic flavor to dishes, especially in Thai and Indian cuisine. Here are a few ways to incorporate galangal into your cooking:

  1. Curries: Galangal is commonly used in curry pastes and curry dishes. It adds a distinctive citrusy and spicy flavor to curries, enhancing their overall flavor.
  2. Soups: Galangal can be sliced or grated and added to soups such as Tom Kha Gai (Thai coconut soup) or Tom Yum (hot and sour soup). It adds its fragrant and spicy notes to the soup.
  3. Stir-fry: Add sliced or grated galangal to stir-fry dishes for an extra layer of flavor. It pairs well with vegetables, meat, and seafood.
  4. Marinades: Create flavorful marinades by combining galangal with other ingredients such as garlic, lemongrass, and soy sauce. Marinate meats or tofu for a few hours or overnight to infuse them with delicious flavors.
  5. Infuse water or tea: Slice galangal and add to a pitcher of water for a refreshing and subtly flavored beverage. You can also steep galangal slices in hot water to make a soothing and aromatic tea.

Remember to adjust the amount of galangal you use according to your taste preferences. Start with smaller amounts and gradually increase until you reach the desired level of heat and flavor.


Freezing galangal is an excellent way to preserve its freshness and extend its shelf life. By following the proper steps of washing, drying, and portioning galangal before freezing, you can ensure that it retains its flavor and health benefits. Thawing galangal is easy and can be done by allowing it to come to room temperature or using water to speed up the process.
In addition to freezing, you can store fresh galangal in the refrigerator for a limited time or use it immediately if you plan to cook with it within a day or two. Incorporating galangal into your recipes adds a unique and aromatic flavor that enhances a variety of dishes, from curries to soups and stir-fries.
Enjoy experimenting with galangal in your cooking and discover the wonderful flavors it brings to your culinary creations!


Can I freeze galangal?

Yes, you can freeze galangal. Freezing is an excellent way to preserve galangal and extend its shelf life.

Should I remove the rind before freezing galangal?

No, it is not recommended to remove the skin before freezing galangal. Keeping the skin intact helps to preserve the flavor and health benefits of the root.

How do I prepare galangal for freezing?

To prepare galangal for freezing, wash the roots thoroughly to remove any dirt or debris. Pat them dry and slice or grate them into disposable portions. It’s important to clean galangal before freezing to ensure optimal storage.

How long can I freeze galangal?

When properly frozen and stored, galangal can be kept in the freezer for three to nine months. It’s important to label containers or bags with serving sizes and dates to keep track of its freshness.

How do I thaw frozen galangal?

To thaw frozen galangal, remove the desired amount from the freezer and allow to thaw at room temperature for about 20 minutes. If you need to grate the galangal, do so while it is still firm. You can also place the sealed frozen galangal in a bowl of room temperature water to speed up the thawing process.

Can I use thawed galangal even if it looks soft?

Yes, thawed galangal may appear soft or mushy because the moisture in the root freezes and changes its texture. However, it is still safe to consume and can be used in various recipes that call for galangal.