Have you ever come across a recipe calling for crystallized ginger but passed because you didn’t have any, couldn’t find any in the store, or just didn’t want to bother trying to find it? Or have you thought about making it yourself but weren’t sure how or figured it would be too much work? Well this is for you!
If you like crystallized ginger just wait until you’ve tried homemade! The flavor is worlds better – so much fresher with a stronger, more vibrant flavor. And if you don’t care for crystallized ginger, you’ll be converted once you’ve tried it in a few recipes (see ideas below).
Because it’s so fresh, and you know the source, you can also reap the health benefits of ginger. Ginger, including crystallized ginger, has been used medicinally for centuries. Ginger is an extremely healthy herb with a variety of benefits. Research has shown it to be effective in treating upset stomachs, nausea, motion-sickness, pregnancy (eat up, mothers!), lowering cholesterol and inflammation, preventing clogged arteries and even killing cancer cells. So while you obviously want to eat crystallized ginger in moderation because of its sugar content, it has some great health benefits that can override the sugar to some degree and it is most certainly a better alternative to candy.
Health benefits of ginger aside, some of you may be asking “Why would I even want crystallized ginger?” I’ll tell you!
Crystallized ginger (aka candied ginger) is not only a yummy snack on its own, it’s a versatile ingredient that will liven up so many dishes!
Bottom line: This makes a large batch, keeps for months, and you will be so glad to have it on hand.
Here are just a few ideas of how you can use crystallized ginger:
Add it to the following: Banana bread, sugar cookies, citrus salad, granola bars, cakes, pies, muffins, cupcakes, shortbread, pancakes, waffles, sprinkled over ice cream, lemon bread, pound cake (try my Preserved Lemon Ginger Pound Cake), ginger snaps, cranberry relish, pear or apple crisp, homemade jam, and the list goes on and on!
Or add it to this delicious Healthy Homemade Granola or this phenomenal Pineapple Mango Coconut Crumble with Candied Ginger.
These are just a few ideas and the sky’s the limit!
Leave a comment below: What are some other ways you’ve used candied ginger?
Okay, are you ready to rock?
Then let’s get started!
Generally you want to use young, small ginger roots because they’re less woody/more tender. But medium-sized will work just fine as well.
Most ginger is imported from China and I recommend buying organic for that reason.
Peel the ginger and slice it thinly and evenly. You can either do it by hand or use a mandolin. I highly recommend the Swissmar Borner Mandolin.
If you slice it paper thin the result will be crunchy crystallized ginger, but you also don’t want it too thick. 1/8 is thick is about right.
You’ll want about 1 pound of sliced ginger.
Place the sliced ginger in a medium-sized pot and cover with water and just a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
Reserve 1/2 cup of the ginger water and then drain the sliced ginger (you can also keep the ginger water for tea or a tonic).
Place the reserved ginger water and sugar in the pot.
Add the sliced ginger, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to medium and simmer uncovered for about 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
The mixture will become somewhat thickened as the sugar turns to a syrup.
Simmer until a candy thermometer reads 225 degrees F. You don’t have to use a candy thermometer but it sure makes it a lot easier than guesswork.
The Chef Remi Cooking Thermometer has great reviews and can be used for both candy and meats. A thermometer, in my opinion, is an essential kitchen gadget.
Once the ginger mixture has reached 225 F drain the ginger immediately while hot. Use a colander over a bowl so you can collect the drained syrup.
Don’t discard it. This recipe produces a delicious by product: GINGER SIMPLE SYRUP! Add a teaspoon or two to your drinks for a refreshing ZING!
Lay out the ginger slices on a large cooling rack over a cookie sheet, separating the individual slices the best you can (this is the more tedious part of the process).
Let the ginger sit for 2 hours so they’re sticky but not wet (you want the sugar to be able to adhere without dissolving).
Toss the pieces in a bowl of sugar to coat all sides.
Lay the crystallized ginger back on the cooling rack to sit overnight to dry.
Store the crystallized ginger in an airtight container in a dark, cool place. Because it’s cooked and sugar and then coated with sugar, it will keep for several months.
- 1 pound peeled and sliced ginger, preferably young/smaller roots, sliced about ⅛ inch thick (by hand or use a mandolin)
- Pinch of salt
- 2 cups white granulated sugar
- Extra sugar for coating
- Place the sliced ginger in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Reserve ½ cup of the ginger water and then drain the ginger slices.
- Place the sliced ginger back in the pot with the reserved ginger water, sugar and pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until the temperature on a candy thermometer reads 225 degrees F.
- Drain the ginger in a colander over a bowl to catch the syrup (see Note).
- Lay out the ginger slices on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet, separating the slices the best you can. Let cool for 2 hours (you want them sticky but not wet so that the sugar will adhere without dissolving).
- Toss the ginger slices in a bowl of sugar so they are coated all over.
- Place the ginger slices back on the cooling rack to sit overnight.
- Store in an airtight container in a dark, cool place. Will keep for several months.