Candied Ginger

Every tried to buy candied or crystallized ginger in the spice rack at the grocery store?  It is ridiculously overpriced…a single small bottle can cost upwards of $10, which is silly because you can make your own for about $10 a POUND.

To get started, you’ll need:

1 pound of fresh ginger root

To make it easier, select the fattest roots you can find.  Peel them with a vegetable peeler or the edge of a spoon.  Now you need to slice the ginger into 1/4″ thick slices.  The best way to do this is with a mandoline, but if you don’t have one, you can do it with a knife.

Place the ginger into a big pot, cover about 1″ with water, and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and simmer for 30-40 minutes until the ginger is tender when you try to cut it with a fork.

When the ginger is tender, scoop about about 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid, then drain off the rest of the liquid.  (Save it, sweeten it with honey, add some lemon, and you have an INCREDIBLE throat tea, especially with a shot of bourbon added to it!)

Return the ginger and the 1/4 cup of cooking liquid to the pot and add:

2 cups sugar

Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.  Stir the pot frequently.  The sugar syrup will begin to reduce, and eventually it will start to crystallize and look a bit dry.  This usually takes about half an hour.  Don’t let it burn!

Pour the candied ginger out onto cooling racks and separate each piece carefully (it’s hot!!!), and then let it dry out.  You’ll get a bunch of gingery sugar crystals that stick to the racks and fall beneath.  That’s AMAZING stuff for coffee or tea.

Once the ginger is fully cool, store it in a glass jar in the fridge, and it’ll keep for a year.  You can eat this stuff outright, or use it in cookies (like my pumpkin gingerbread cookies), quick breads, or in cocktails or tea.  It’s great stuff!

7 Responses to Candied Ginger

  1. I buy the Crystalized ginger in the store all the time, but I will give your receipt a try. Does it have to be in the frig, or can it stay at room temperature. The reason is, I carry the crystalized ginger with me when I travel. Its good for motion sickness.

    • Hermine, it doesn’t need to remain chilled to be safe, but when I make it at home, I make SO MUCH OF IT that it’s smart to keep the stuff I’m not going to get around to for months in the fridge. It’s completely fine to keep at room temp for several weeks, though.

  2. Not sure why but it took like 2 1/2 hours to cook the ginger tender and another hour to boil down the sugar syrup. Maybe I just didn’t have it boiling hard enough. Still, the results are excellent, don’t recall the store bought stuff having the kick this does.

    • Yes, Dave, depending on the variety of ginger you get, homemade can be MUCH more pungent and spicy than the storebought stuff. The older your ginger is, the more fibrous it is AND the more potent it is…so it sounds like you got some older ginger, since it took so long to cook. Young ginger is much more tender and is what is used to make commercially processed candied ginger (because it takes less time to cook, less time to grow, which maximizes profitability.) And to answer your other question, yes, it is immediately useable!

      • 3 hours and counting here. I really tried to choose the pieces that looked the least aged but through the hours they have only from woody to somewhat crunchy 😀 although they were not at all tough to peel and slice. I hope the end result won’t be too bitter or full of strings like the candied ones they sell here in Bosnia. (The ones they sell in Croatia are beautifully mild and soft). I should probably make these in the autumn, at the end of the season. Now they have been stored all winter.

        • Haha! I had to boil the ginger for 9-10 hours. It turned brown and looked like dried and soaked Chinese cloud ear fungus, but do you know what? It didn’t taste bad at all. Still I do recommend using ginger that is not quite as old as the one I managed to turn into spicy and sweet ear fungus.

  3. Is this usable as soon as it’s cooled off? And I’m estimating about $5 a pound for this. A little 2.7 oz jar was $7.99 on sale.

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