…candy her? But I hardly know her!
Don’t worry, I’m keeping my day job.
Candied and/or crystalized ginger can be hard to find in stores here in California. I used to be able to buy it at Trader Joes but they stopped carrying it in the golden state because of food and drug regulations (something about the way the ginger is processed doesn’t play well with the rules). Since my triple gingersnaps would not be triple without it, I usually hit up Amazon.
But then I was at H Mart, the giant Korean market that’s taken up residence in the old Osh store at the bottom of the hill, and they had fresh ginger at a ridiculously low price. So, I decided to make my own.
As a note, candied and crystallized ginger are often discussed interchangeably, though I’ve come across recipes that call for one and are specific about it not being the other. As a newbie candied ginger maker, I did a little research to set the record straight. From what I could tell, preparation is what makes the difference. Crystallized ginger is dried and then sugared (and maybe sometimes not sugared) while candied ginger is cooked in simple syrup as you would candied citrus peel. I realize this is about as clear as the difference between yams and sweet potatoes (one I still don’t understand), but there you have it. For the record, what we’re making here is definitely candied ginger.
While I don’t do it very often, I love making candy. Let’s face it, my chosen hobby is about a risky as petting kittens. So, getting to work with a mandolin and molten hot sugar in the same go is about as exciting as it gets for me.
Truth–you can find candied ginger on Amazon for a great price. But, if you have a little time and a candy thermometer, making your own is incredibly satisfying. And, unless I unwittingly used some extra potent ginger, the home maid kind is the far superior product.
I made about five pounds worth for holiday baking. But I’ll tell you a secret. In my opinion, the best way to enjoy candied ginger is as a garnish for a moscow mule.
You’ve got to love a cocktail that comes with its own snacks.
Adapted from Alton Brown, Food Network
- 1 lb fresh ginger root
- 5 C water
- About 1 1/2 lb granulated sugar
- Spray a cooling rack with nonstick spray and set it in a half sheet pan lined with parchment.
- Peel the ginger root and slice into 1/8-inch thick slices using a mandolin (you can also hand cut the slices if you are the world’s most patient person).
- 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.
- Transfer the ginger to a colander to drain, reserving 1/4 C of the cooking liquid. Weigh the ginger and measure out an equal amount of sugar. Return the ginger and 1/4 C 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. If using a thermometer, pull the ginger off the heat at 225 degrees.
- Transfer the ginger immediately to the cooling rack and spread to separate the individual pieces (they cool down pretty quickly. Once completely cool, roll in granulated sugar.
- Store in an airtight container with the sugar for up to a month (to be honest, I use it much longer)