The subject came up on twitter and since the process for making candied ginger, and obtaining the amazing left-overs, isn’t amenable to 140 characters, I thought I’d quickly share it here.
- Fresh ginger (a big old hunk)
- Sugar (baker’s sugar works best but regular sugar is fine.)
- Sauce pan (required)
- Long handled wooden spoon (required)
- Wire mesh sieve (if you want to easily save off the sugar, required)
- cooling rack (best if it’s fine enough to hold the ginger (nice to have)
- A tare scale is helpful but you can always fudge it.
Peel the ginger.
Chop it thinly and into pieces not too much bigger than your thumbnail or, say, smaller than a quarter.
Put the ginger in a sauce pan and just cover with water.
Bring to a boil then lower the heat to medium-ish and let it cook a while, stirring frequently. The original recipe I followed said to cook until it was transparent, but as it turns out, that takes forever unless you are a master chopper and able to chop really thin. I don’t think it’s necessary. Besides, the transparent part happens at a different stage. Basically you want to keep it at a low boil (more than a simmer) for at least 45+ min. I set my timer and come out and stir every 10 minutes.
In order to get a good amount of ginger water you can use for tea (see below), once or twice pour the water off into a suitable container. Add fresh water and continue slow boiling your ginger. Not too often though or your ginger and ginger water will be wimpy.
When it’s transparent or the finest slices are looking transparent, remove the ginger from the heat, save off the remaining water and weigh the ginger. If you don’t have a tare scale, then eyeball it.
Put the ginger back in the saucepan and measure out an amount of sugar equal to the weight of the ginger. (If the total weight of your ginger is 10 ounces, then measure out 10 ounces of sugar.) Or eyeball it. The margin of error appears to be pretty big, but err on the side of more sugar, not less.
Add 3 tablespoons (or so) of water to the ginger. (I know that doesn’t seem like much, but it is.) Pour in your sugar and return the ginger to high heat. Throw in more sugar if you’re worried or anxious for some reason.
Using a LONG wooden handled spoon, constantly stir the ginger. (Why? Because the mixture is HOT, that’s why. The longer handled the spoon, the further your hand is away from the heat.) The sugar and water will boil rapidly and look foamy. Keep stirring until the pan is dry. DO NOT STOP STIRRING OR WALK AWAY at any time while you’re doing this. It’s at this stage that the ginger becomes transparent.
Remove the ginger from the heat and pour the contents onto a fine wire rack with wax paper underneath, or just onto the waxed paper if you don’t have a finely wired rack (otherwise, all those small bits of ginger fall onto the waxed paper anyway.) Let it cool a bit. You can use the spoon to spread it out.
Put the ginger into a bowl with more sugar and toss to coat. When the ginger is completely dry, put the ginger in an air tight container (see below).
Saving the sugar
You will have left over sugar, some of it fine, some of it lumpy with tiny bits of ginger, all of it gingery.
Get another bowl or container. Pour your ginger into a sieve and shake. (See above, transfer the big pieces to your container.) You will have a bunch of fine ginger infused sugar which you can save and use.
Sieve the sugar from the waxed paper. You’ll have the clumpier sugar left, which you can store separately from the finer sugar.
Use FRESH ginger.
Get a big glass of ice water. Put in fresh lemon juice to taste. Add some ginger sugar to taste (doesn’t take much!). Enjoy.
Put some of the ginger water, how much depends on how hot and gingery you like your tea. Fill the rest of the cup with boiling water. Enjoy.
Use the ginger sugar to flavor stuff. Like other tea. Or in your coffee.
Tags: Cooking with Carolyn