Crystallized ginger is an old favorite of mine. When I was a kid my mom always had a bag stashed somewhere, so I suppose you could say it runs in the family. With such a big kick, you wouldn’t think a little kid would like such a treat… but the spicy bite didn’t stop me.
Candying your own isn’t difficult, either. The hardest part, by far, is peeling all the ginger – but don’t worry, it’s worth it. Not only is this just as delicious as store-bought, but it’s quite a bit cheaper. Plus, you get bragging rights that you made it yourself. Bonus!
And of course we’re all familiar with the classic sugar-tossed slices, but have you ever had chocolate-covered candied ginger? If not, you are in for a serious treat. Dark chocolate cuts through that sharp bite of heat, and the whole thing mingles into one perfect ginger experience. This stuff can be hard to find on the shelves, too, so is just one more reason to make your own.
(Recipe adapted from Alton Brown)
1 lb. fresh ginger root (buy slightly more than a pound, as you will lose some from peeling)
1 lb. granulated sugar
Extra sugar for tossing, or chocolate for coating (I recommend dark)
First, lightly grease or spray a cooling rack, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment or foil. Set aside.
Peel all of the ginger. When peeling this much at once, I suggest wearing gloves (un-powdered, latex-free, such as Nitrile) to prevent any skin irritation.
Carefully slice the peeled ginger very thinly, using either a mandolin slicer or a very sharp knife.
Weigh your slices, and measure out an equal amount of sugar. If you don’t have a scale, but weighed your ginger when buying it, you can use that weight as an estimate. One pound of granulated sugar is about 2 level cups. Set sugar aside.
Place ginger slices in a medium size pot, and fill with just enough cold water to cover all of the ginger.
Set over medium-high heat, and cook for about 40-50 minutes, or until the ginger is fairly tender.
Strain the ginger, reserving the water in a bowl for later. (You will need 1/3 cup for the rest of this recipe, but any extra can be mixed with honey to make tea, or stirred into other tea or beverages. Be careful though – it’s potent stuff!)
Return the ginger to the pot, along with 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid. Add in the sugar, and set over medium-high heat until it begins to boil. Reduce heat to medium, and cook for 20 minutes. Swirl the pot from time to time to make sure all of the ginger is covered, and the sugar isn’t burning, but do not stir.
Set a colander or fine mesh sieve over a jar or other heat-proof container and strain the ginger. Spread candied ginger onto your prepared cooling rack and let it dry for at least 2-3 hours, or as long as overnight.
Fill a small container or baggie with granulated sugar, add several slices of ginger, and toss to coat. Set aside and repeat until all of the ginger is covered.
Or, melt chocolate in 20 second intervals in the microwave. Add ginger, stir, and remove to a parchment or foil lined plat or tray. Chill in the fridge 10-15 minutes, or until the chocolate is fully hardened.