When I had the Ladies’ Preservation Society over to make pickled ginger, I bought way too much ginger. Really, like three times the amount we needed. And as usual, when I have extra produce I look for a recipe I’ve never tried before. Candied ginger is a confection I’ve always enjoyed, but never really sought out. Now that I know how easy it is to make, I may have to start using it in baking!
A quick search found that Alton Brown has a 5-star (!) recipe for candied ginger, and it is rather simple (but time consuming, like most candies). It looks long but each step is really easy. My notes are included in the recipe.
Recipe (from the Food Network, original recipe here)
1 pound fresh ginger
5 cups water
About 1 pound granulated sugar
Spray a cooling rack with nonstick spray and set it in a half sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
Peel the ginger root and slice into 1/8-inch thick slices using a mandoline (see my notes on peeling and slicing ginger in my post on pickled ginger). 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. (Note – the only way I know to test for tenderness is with my teeth, and taking a bite was really intense. My second batch I just went by the time, and was right. Is there a better way to test, like wobble-factor or something?)
Set aside ¼ cup of the cooking liquid, and drain ginger in a colander. Weigh the ginger and measure out an equal amount of sugar. Return the ginger, ¼ cup water, and sugar to the pan.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, 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 (Note – this step took far longer in both of my batches. It was nearly double this! Definitely go by appearance and not timing in this step). Transfer the ginger immediately to the cooling rack and spread to separate into individual pieces. Once completely cool, store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
Done! During my first batch, I got worried I would burn the ginger and drained off some of the liquid to speed up the process. The results were fine but not spectacular. Then in my second batch I was patient and watched for the crystallization he mentions. This batch was the real winner.
D and I were in LA last weekend, so I brought a couple of jars down as a hostess gifts. One friend went through hers kind of quickly, having put it out for guests to find. Another friend hid hers in the cupboard when people came over, so she wouldn’t have to share. Don’t you love making things that are a hit?
Uses for this: eating plain, cut up and put in ginger cookies or spice cake, on ice cream, or chew on a boat to help with motion sickness.