Crystallized ginger is the new red hot. It is sweet, hot, spicy and chewy. It is translucent and beautiful. It smells warm and inviting. Oh, and there are tons of ways to use it to bring added punch, flavor and texture to almost anything you’d care to make. Okay, maybe not bacon. Otherwise, full steam ahead!
Crystallized ginger is made by preserving fresh ginger in a sugar syrup. Some recipes call for you to dry the candied slices in the oven and then roll them in more sugar. Some recipes say to steam the slices first and then simmer forever in sugar syrup. Here’s what I do:
- Cut all the wee knobs off of some fresh ginger (save them for something else) and then peel the ginger.
- Slice the ginger on the bias to get long, oval shapes.
- Blanch in boiling water for just a minute or two.
- Take some of your boiling liquid and add 1 1/2 times sugar by weight (if you hold out 8 oz. of water, use 12 oz. of sugar). Of course, this will depend entirely on how much ginger you’re going to candy. Anyway, bring this mixture to a boil.
- Simmer blanched ginger in syrup until the ginger is very soft and translucent. This could take awhile.
- Let drain, spread out in one layer on a rack
- When the ginger is mostly dry but still sticky, toss the pieces in more sugar.
Now that you have it, here are some ideas for what to do with it:
- mince it up finely and add to your favorite gingersnap recipe
- add chopped crystallized ginger to muffins
- add minced crystallized ginger to a streusel mixture for topping pies or muffins
- put some in your apple pie filling
- Dunk slices of crystallized ginger in tempered dark chocolate
- put it in your fruitcake
- Put some in your waffle or pancake batter
- add minced or chopped crystallized ginger to gingerbread
Some Things To Do with the leftover syrup
- drizzle over fresh peaches or other fruit of your choice
- sweeten your tea with it
- cook some fruit down in the syrup with a pinch of sauce for a ginger fruit sauce
- Mix with some seltzer water for homemade ginger ale
- use the syrup to candy some fruit or some citrus peel for candied ginger fruit/peel (or gingered candied fruit/peel)
There are tons of possibilities, the simplest of which is just eating as a snack.
For those of you who are health conscious, you can candy the ginger in some Sucanat syrup or even use Agasweet to avoid all of that refined sugar. Even if you do go the full-on sugar route, ginger is good for folks anyway. It helps settle the stomach and is really good for fighting motion sickness. Some studies have shown that ginger could help with migraine symptoms. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties and can even help relieve arthritis pain. If that list isn’t enough to convince you to add more ginger to your diet, I just don’t know what else I can say, so I guess I’m done.
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