How much is a thumb of ginger? 

In this brief guide, we will answer the question “how much is a thumb of ginger?” and discuss what affects the portion size. 

How much is a thumb of ginger? 

A thumb of ginger is equal to one tablespoon of minced ginger (1). The amount of one thumb of ginger is approximately 15 g (2).

What is the nutritional composition of one thumb of ginger?

The nutritional composition of one thumb (15 g) of fresh and oven-dried ginger is, according to studies (3):

Compound Fresh gingerOven-dried ginger
Moisture11 g0.75 g
Ash0.2 g0.645 g
Fiber0.24 g0.75 g
Protein0.645 g1.7 g
Fat0.31 g1.2 g
Carbohydrates2.4 g10 g 

Ginger contains magnesium, potassium and calcium, vitamin C, B1,B2, B6 and B9 (5).

What are the chemical compounds of a thumb of ginger?

The most characteristic chemical compounds found in one thumb of ginger are phytochemicals such as phenolics, flavonoids, gingerol, shogaol and zingerone, which render the plant improved biological properties (4).

Ginger is known to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial properties and to help against infections as well against cancer. Ginger is used to treat colds due to its positive effects on the immune system. In addition, it helps the digestive system by stimulating the digestive glands (5).

Does the composition of a thumb of ginger vary?

The composition of a thumb of ginger varies depending on many factors, such as the variety of the plant, the growing conditions, the environment, and cultivation conditions, such as irrigation and fertilizing.

In addition, the storage may have a negative effect on the antioxidants of the plant, which is significantly reduced during storage (4).

As expected, the nutrients in the dried ginger are concentrated, because the water is removed by drying. As a result, the composition of the ginger changes and in fresh ginger the greater nutrient is still water.

On the other hand, drying can affect the volatile compounds in ginger. However, a study showed that by drying the antimicrobial properties of ginger were not affected and were maintained for the same amount of ginger (3).

What is the shelf life of a thumb of ginger?

The shelf life of ginger varies from a few days to several months, depending on the storage conditions and the moisture content of the plant.

Fresh ginger has a shelf life of 2 to 5 days at room temperature and of 2 to 3 months when stored in the refrigerator (6). However, according to studies, when stored at 5° (40°F), fresh rhizomes can be kept for 8 months (4).

The effect of long storage is the loss of volatiles and the antioxidant properties of ginger. 

When kept in the freezer, ginger can be stored for about 6 months.The shelf life of dried ginger is longer, as the removal of water can reduce the risks to fungal development and improve the shelf life (3). The shelf life of ground and completely dried ginger is 2 years at room temperature (6). 

What are the signs of spoilage in a thumb of ginger?

The signs of spoilage in a thumb of ginger are mostly related to the growth of fungi (7).

Fusarium, Penicillium, Aspergillus, Rhizopus, Eurotium and Mucor are the common fungi related to the spoilage of ginger, which are identified by rot development, discoloration, and fungal growth. Fungal growth is manifested by a diversity of colors: black brown color, blue-brownish, yellowish, white and dark brown.

The infestation of fungi in ginger is a health threat  and the ingestion of spoiled ginger is dangerous due to the production of toxins by these fungi (4). 

Mycotoxins, or toxins produced by fungi can lead to vomiting at a short term effect and to higher risks of developing cancer, DNA abnormalities, liver and kidney complications (8).

Other FAQs about Ginger that you may be interested in.

Can you eat ginger when it sprouts?

Can you eat ginger when pregnant

Can you eat ginger without cooking it?


In this brief guide, we answered the question “how much is a thumb of ginger?” with an in-depth analysis of the signs of rotten thumb of ginger and the actual weight of the piece of ginger. Moreover, we also discussed how to avoid ginger from getting moldy. 


  1. Estimate Portion Sizes Using Your Hand. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
  2. Faulkner, Gemma P., et al. An evaluation of portion size estimation aids: precision, ease of use and likelihood of future use. Public Health Nutr, 19, 2377-2387.
  3. Ajayi, O. A., O. O. Ola, and O. O. Akinwunmi. Effect of drying method on nutritional composition, sensory and antimicrobial properties of Ginger (Zinginber officinale). Int Food Res J, 2017, 24.  
  4. Ghasemzadeh, Ali, Hawa ZE Jaafar, and Asmah Rahmat. Changes in antioxidant and antibacterial activities as well as phytochemical constituents associated with ginger storage and polyphenol oxidase activity. BMC Complement Alternat Med, 2016, 16, 1-11.
  5. Shahrajabian, Mohamad Hesam, Wenli Sun, and Qi Cheng. Clinical aspects and health benefits of ginger (Zingiber officinale) in both traditional Chinese medicine and modern industry. Acta agric scandin,2019, 69, 546-556.
  6. Foodkeeper. United States Department of Agriculture. 
  7. Berza, Belay, et al. Isolation, characterization and identification of post-havest spoilage fungi of ginger (Zingiber officinale) at Hadaro-Tunto and Boloso-Bombae, Southern Ethiopia. Int J Life Sci, 2012, 1, 19-27.
  8. Mycotoxins. US Food and Drug Administration.

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