I love ginger. I eat candied ginger, well, like candy. I’ve always purchased it until now, but ran out and wanted some RIGHT NOW. Good thing it’s easy! Homemade candied ginger holds its spicy flavor much better than the prepackaged variety so if you are a fan of ginger at all, you owe it to yourself to try this. It would also make a perfect mothers day gift, all wrapped up pretty in an airtight container.
Candied ginger is great chopped and sprinkled over oatmeal, yogurt, cupcakes (yeah that got your attention didn’t it!), fresh fruit, pumpkin or apple pie, in cookies, scones, truffles… just throw a handful into anything you’re baking and chances are it will be great. The flavor pairs beautifully with fruits or chocolate. It can even be used in many recipes that call for fresh ginger.
To find fresh ginger, look in the produce section of most grocery stores. In the stores I frequent, it’s usually near the mushrooms. Asian markets will probably have the best prices since it is mostly associated with Asian foods but it’s pretty easy to find even in Salt Lake City. Look closely and make sure there is no mold before you buy it. If you notice a blue color or a blue ring inside when you slice it, this is just fine and is specific to a Hawaiian type of ginger – and you just scored because this kind is extra flavorful!
In addition to being super delicious, ginger is incredibly good for you. It helps with nausea and gastrointestinal issues, lessens joint soreness, reduces motion sickness, and even boots your immune system against bacterias, fungi, and some cancers. Now, half of this recipe is sugar, so it sure isn’t a health food, but if you don’t already use ginger this great candy might just grow on you and encourage you to use the root in other dishes.
This recipe is from Alton Brown on the Food Network. It seems like any time lately that I search for a recipe, Alton Brown’s version appears in the top five. This makes me wonder whether he has some kind of magic Google-Fu or if he really does just specialize in everything I want to make – either way, he does an amazing job.
1. Spray a cooling rack with nonstick spray and set it in a half sheet pan lined with parchment. I don’t know whether the nonstick spray is really needed, but I had some, and making things not stick is always nice. The parchment paper is needed, you’ll see why by the end.
2. Peel the ginger root and slice into 1/8-inch thick slices using a mandoline. I estimated the ginger root by picking up a bunch in one hand and picking up a 15-oz can in the other hand (a pound is 16 oz) and it was about the same. Like my scientific-ness? I used a vegetable peeler to peel it – the edge of a spoon will work too, the peel is very soft – and a regular knife to slice the roots. The 1/8″ is a good guideline but I just eyeballed it. For a long thin section of ginger, cut at a diagonal to make bigger oval slices instead of little circles. Bigger is better (note, not thicker) so that the pieces do not fall through the drying rack.
3. Place into a 4-quart saucepan with the water and set over medium-high heat. Cover and cook for 35 minutes or until the ginger is tender. I started the timer as soon as I put the lid on.
4. Transfer the ginger to a colander to drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. I drained it into a container so it was easy to pour out the needed 1/4 cup, plus now I have ginger-liquid to do something else with. Likely another cooking experiment.
5. Weigh the ginger and measure out an equal amount of sugar. After the peeling and slicing I took out the bad parts and had less than my estimated almost-pound, so I dropped the sugar to about 1 3/4 cups. This is a very forgiving recipe.
6. Return the ginger and 1/4 cup water to the pan and add the sugar. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar syrup looks dry, has almost evaporated and begins to recrystallize, approximately 20 minutes. This was a fascinating process to watch. The tiny amount of water looks like it will evaporate in a few minutes but with the sugar and ginger it multiplies and the whole thing becomes kind of a soup. Keep stirring. Bubbles form, and more bubbles, and so many bubbles it started to look like a meringue. Keep stirring. All at once the bubbles turned into sugar – dry, crystalline sugar – and the ginger was all in separate pieces and not sticky-looking at all. I kept it on the heat for a couple extra minutes to encourage the drying-out; total this step was about 25 minutes.
7. Transfer the ginger immediately to the cooling rack and spread to separate the individual pieces. To do this, you can just dump the whole pot onto the cooling rack. The sugar falls through to land on the parchment paper and the ginger sits on top.
8. Once completely cool, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Save the sugar that drops beneath the cooling rack and use to top ginger snaps, sprinkled over ice cream or to sweeten coffee. The sugar keeps the amazing ginger flavor very well.
Sweet and spicy candied ginger, perfect for eating or for gifts.
- Nonstick spray
- 1 pound fresh ginger root
- 5 cups water
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar (about 1 lb)
- Peel the ginger root and slice into 1/8-inch thick slices using a mandolin. Place into a 4-quart saucepan with the water and set over medium-high heat.
- Cover and cook for 35 minutes or until the ginger is tender. If it isn't tender after 45 minutes or so, the pieces may be too thick, just go ahead with the next step.
- Transfer the ginger to a colander to drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.
- Return the ginger and 1/4 cup water to the pan and add the sugar. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
- Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar syrup looks dry, has almost evaporated and begins to recrystallize, approximately 20 minutes.
- Transfer the ginger immediately to the cooling rack and spread to separate the individual pieces.
- Once completely cool, store in an airtight container. Save the sugar that drops beneath the cooling rack and use to top ginger snaps, sprinkled over ice cream or to sweeten coffee.
To adjust the recipe, use the same weight of sugar and ginger root.