How To Make Crystallized Ginger

by Caterina Borg, Good Food Gourmet on January 30, 2015

How To Make Crystallized Ginger, www.goodfoodgourmet.comI wasn’t one of those people who always liked ginger, but rather one of those people who grew to love it over a long period of time.  I always enjoyed spicy gingersnap cookies and lightly spiced cakes, but eating pieces of  ginger or adding it to my morning juicing routine took some getting used to. When I was in my early 30’s, I decided to try vegetarianism/pescetarianism as a lifestyle, and it was during this time that I began to really enjoy ginger because of its many benefits.

I first began to enjoy it as a pickled condiment next to my sushi, which I ate a lot of during this time. It was the 90′s…the time when making fruit smoothies and fresh morning juices from everything but the kitchen sink began their meteoric rise — and you guessed it, many of these recipes included ginger because of its anti-inflammatory benefits. When I would visit different health food stores in my travels, I also began to see another product — a crystallized, candied version of ginger. many who suffered from motion sickness stood by its healing properties, but the sticker shock prevented me from trying it right away.

It was not until I visited my first Asian market that I realized how important a spice ginger really is. Here I found piles of fresh ginger for 1/3 of the price of other mainstream stores, along with ginger drinks, prepared pastes for savory dishes, and all kinds of hard and soft candy. The candied (crystallized) variety was significantly lower in price than other stores, so I bought a pack to try for the first time…and I loved it.

Today, fresh ginger is one of those items I always have on hand — so I decided to try my hand at making the candied (crystallized) version. Ginger tends to be very fibrous, so it is important to use a young ginger which you can find in the early part of the year at your Asian stores. If you choose to make this at home regularly, you may consider forging a relationship with your local Asian market to provide you with a reliable source. Make sure to use a spoon or a small butter knife to gently coax off the paper-like peel that will reveal the beautiful ginger within.

I found it important to poach the ginger twice in filtered, simmering water for about 30 minutes, before beginning the candying stage. This not only helps to tenderize the ginger, but also removes some of the harshness. After the first poach, the water will be very spicy but also has a bleach/ammonia smell to it which is not very appealing if you plan to keep and use the syrup for something else. I poured out the first water, strained out the ginger and repeated the process. The second boil will still be spicy, but the bleach/ammonia smell was gone. I strained out the ginger, added the sugar and honey to the water from the second poach to make the syrup — then added back the ginger. The addition of the honey is key to help keep the ginger soft and moist.

The ginger became beautifully soft and translucent in the light syrup. When it had cooled, I strained out the ginger from the syrup and tossed each piece into granulated sugar. I left it on a rack to dry for a few hours and then packed it into a small, airtight container for storage. You can enjoy this as is or add it to granola or just about anything. Use it in your baked goods, mousse, ice creams or even custards – you name it.

Crystallized Ginger
2 cups thinly sliced young ginger, cut on the bias
3 cups water for first boil
3 cups water for second boil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup honey

Buy a few large pieces of ginger, then peel them and slice on the bias. The slices should not be too thin or too thick. You can use a small butter knife or a spoon to gently scrape off the thin exterior peel. You should begin with about 2 cups of sliced ginger for this recipe.

How To Make Crystallized Ginger, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

Boil the first 3 cups of water then add in the sliced ginger and turn heat down to simmer for 30 minutes. At the end of the 30 minutes, drain out the ginger and add the 3 more cups of water to the same pot. Bring this up to a boil and repeat the procedure. At the end of this next 30 minutes, strain out the ginger and reserve 2 cups of the liquid (you should have about 2 cups remaining at this point). Add the sugar and the honey to the liquid and bring the syrup to a rolling boil. Add back the ginger pieces, and turn the heat down to a simmer. Cook the ginger in the simmering liquid for about 10-15 minutes and then turn off the heat.  Allow the ginger to remain in the liquid until the liquid has completely cooled and thickened slightly. Strain out the ginger (but save the liquid) and toss it in coarsely granulated sugar. Allow it to airy dry for about 30 minutes and then place in a lidded storage container.

How To Make Crystallized Ginger, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

How To Make Crystallized Ginger, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

How To Make Crystallized Ginger, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

How To Make Crystallized Ginger, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

How To Make Crystallized Ginger, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

How To Make Crystallized Ginger, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

How To Make Crystallized Ginger, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

How To Make Crystallized Ginger, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

How To Make Crystallized Ginger, www.goodfoodgourmet.com

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