Today we are making crystallized ginger, also called candied ginger.
About 10 years ago I found some crystallized ginger while grocery shopping around the holidays. I bought a small container of it but never really knew what to do with it until one day the spirit led me to plop a few pieces into a cup of hot tea. Okay, it wasn’t really the spirit, I just like to put sweet stuff in my hot tea like peppermints and orange or grapefruit slices and other odd things. But. I loved it. It added just a little nip of flavor and sweetness and made my cup of tea special.
But by St. Patricks Day, the little box of candied ginger was gone, and lo, there was none to be found throughout the entire kingdom, at least in my kingdom’s grocery store, and there was great sadness. And hot tea was just not the same.
So the next year around holiday time, the kingdom’s grocers once again put out candied ginger and I bought about 12 containers. But these too did not last the entire year. And again there was great sadness. Many years passed and there was no candied ginger to be found and I so I tried to go on with my life.
Then one day while in the grocery store I gazed upon a bin of raw ginger and it occured to me that I could probably make it myself.
For this recipe you will need some fresh ginger root, sugar and water.
So then, buy yourself several hands of ginger. Look for big flat pieces because you are going to have to peel these things and that will be a bit of pain.
This is how much raw ginger the above three hands yielded. I don’t know why I call them hands of ginger. Probably because they look like hands or maybe I heard someone call them hands.
Chop into small chunks or strips, whichever you like.
Cover with water and then boil, boil and boil some more. Boil until they are tender, probably about 45 minutes.
Now for some reason, at this point I put the camera down. Oh, now I know. Because I was going to have to stir boiling sugar.
After the ginger is tender, drain and return it to the pan.
Among candied ginger recipes, there is a lot of variation in the sugar to water ratio. Some recipes tell you to weigh the ginger and then measure out an equal amount of sugar and then 3 or 4 tablespoons of water. I don’t have a scale so I just guess on the sugar and add about 1/2 as muchwater. Other recipes call for a 1 to 1 ratio of sugar to water. Roughly, you want enough sugar to cover the ginger when it is in the pan. I have found that in this recipe it isn’t necessary to be absolutely precise.
If you want a chunky crystallized ginger, add more sugar and less water. If you want more of a glazed ginger, get the sugar to water ratio closer to 1 to 1.
I like my candied ginger chunky, so I used about 1 cup of sugar and 1/2 cup of water. I am no Alton Brown. In my world, cooking is more art than science.
Cook it all on low heat until the sugar is dissolved and then bring to a boil for about one minute, stirring constantly. Then reduce to a simmering boil until most of the liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently. This will take at least 30 minutes, depending upon how much you are making.
Remove the ginger with a slotted spoon and place on wax paper to dry. When cool, toss with additional sugar if desired.
Bonus: I poured the left over ginger infused syrup over some Texas Ruby Red grapefruit sections (which are so yummy and in season right now!) And it was a delicious treat. Also, did you know that ginger is often used to soothe an upset tummy?
Above is the full yield.
Candied ginger in a festive container makes a nice hostess gift. Or if you have tea lover on your list, add a pretty tea cup and an assortment of teas for a gift that says “Hey! I know you like tea!”
Crystallized (or candied) ginger keeps for six months (or more) in the fridge.