Ginger root has beige skin and hard, fibrous, pale-yellow flesh. Fresh ginger is sweet, aromatic, and pungent, whereas dried ginger powder has a completely different taste—much more spicy. I use both often, but they are so different they cannot usually replace each other in recipes. Fresh ginger tends to have a superior taste and has more health benefits. It can be found year-round in the produce section of markets, but make sure it is firm and free of mold (I see this surprisingly often). The skin should be smooth and shiny rather than wrinkly. The tough skin of fresh ginger must be peeled, which can be done easily by scraping with the edge of a spoon. It is then usually sliced thinly crosswise to cut the stringy fibers as small as possible, and can then be further minced. I nearly always have a fresh ginger root handy, as they are very good in a number of both sweet and savory dishes (such as bashed neeps, pudla besan, and blueberry orange compote). If there's any leftover that might go bad, I chop it up and steep it in hot water to make fresh ginger tea. Tea made this way is delicious and very different than the ginger tea-bag type; it has a very sweet and almost fruity flavor, somehow reminiscent of lemon drops. Ginger stays good on the counter for about a week (depending on the freshness upon purchase), but can also last in the fridge for 2 or 3 weeks or in the freezer for 6 months.