Winter. Ugh. I’m so over it. Aside from the gray, dreary skies, the frozen, dirty ground, the dry, itchy skin and ALL THAT SNOW, there’s a ton of nasty viruses giong around. Pretty much everyone I know has been sick lately, mostly all with stomach issues. I was sick a while ago with one of those viruses. No fun at all.
One of the most effective things I tried to calm my stomach was ginger tea. Lots and lots of ginger tea. If I had had some of this crystallized ginger at the time, I would have been nibbling on it in between cups.
I really enjoy candying things (and making candy in general), and I REALLY love ginger, so I knew I had to try making my own crystallized ginger. It’s different from the big, juicy slices of candied ginger you find in the store most of the time – the ginger is sliced very thinly and is chewy and dry with huge, crunchy crystals of sugar. I think I may have used too much sugar since I don’t have a scale and just guessed at the amount. It was still really fun and something I definitely will make again and again. I’d love to try making the big, thick, juicy kind of candied ginger, too.
1 lb. fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
5 cups water
1 lb. sugar (approximately – you want equal weight cooked ginger and sugar)
Place ginger and water in a 4 qt. saucepan, cover and cook over medium-high heat for 35 minutes, or until ginger is tender. Transfer the ginger to a colander to drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the liquid (I set aside as much as possible and reboiled some with extra sugar to make ginger syrup). Combine the ginger, 1/4 cup ginger water and sugar in the saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, then reduce the heat to medium. Keep stirring almost constantly until the syrup dries up (about 20 minutes) and sugar is recrystallized. Quickly transfer the ginger to a greased cooling rack over a pan and separate the pieces. If your syrup has completely dried up you will probably have to break pieces apart and remove excess gigantic sugar crystals (like I did). Once completely dry and cool, store in an airtight container up to 2 weeks.
I’m thinking I might chop some of these up for the second monolithic carrot cake I’m working on. Once I make them chewier, they’d be great for dipping in dark chocolate.