There are many ways to make delicious and spicy candied or crystallized ginger and I do believe I’ve tried them all. It is a simple process: cook ginger, sweeten ginger, let ginger dry, coat ginger in sugar. The most important thing I discovered in my experiments is that the only real mistake you can make is a mess.
This is by far my most successful method. It’s very easy and non-scientific, though it does require some waiting time. Have fun!
You will need:
- ½ lb. fresh ginger root (about 2 cups, peeled and sliced)
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for coating
- Cooling rack
- Wax paper
1. Snap ginger root into manageable pieces and peel by gently rubbing off the skins with the side of a teaspoon.
2. With a sharp knife, slice ginger into 1/8- inch to 1/4-inch pieces (cut thicker pieces for spicier candy).
3. Place ginger slices and 4 cups water into a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for about 1 hour, or until ginger is translucent and tender (cooking time will vary depending on how thick your slices are). Add more water as needed to keep ginger covered while cooking.
4. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid and drain ginger. Return ginger and 1 cup cooking liquid to the saucepan and stir in 1 cup sugar.
5. Bring water, ginger and sugar to a boil over medium heat and cook until syrup starts to thicken, about 5 minutes (or until liquid reaches the 230°F-235°F “syrup” stage on a candy thermometer, if you have one).
6. Remove individual ginger pieces from the syrup in the saucepan with a fork and arrange ginger slices on a cooling rack. Make sure the counter top under your cooling rack is lined with wax paper and let the ginger drip-dry completely, this may take several hours or overnight.
Note: Don’t throw out that yummy cooking syrup – save it for pancakes or iced tea. Mmm!
7. Toss sticky drip-dried ginger in a bowl of sugar. You can further dehydrate ginger by arranging the slices on a parchment-lined baking sheet and baking it at 200° F for a few minutes until dry and chewy.
Candied ginger can be stored at room temperature in an airtight container for many months.