Raiding the larder of ideas.

What one family eats, plans to eat, dreams of eating. Plus, other food and kitchen-related stuff from the home of steak-and-potatoes, pie and fresh green beans from the garden.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bringing Sweet to the Heat: Candied Ginger

The Bat is not the biggest fan of ginger, unless it's in a cookie with the word "snap" in its name. But when those cookies are on the menu, she's as goofy about our home-baked ones as Pop is... largely because not only are they crisp, like a good ginger snap should be, but because they bite back. I like to bring the heat. And my new favorite tool for that is homemade candied ginger.

Making the stuff is pretty straightforward, but you do rather need an accurate scale, a kitchen mandoline (or a lot of skill at slicing evenly, repeatedly),  and some real work time -- set aside a good two hours for the process. 

And ventilation. You will probably want to run a fan or open a window while you work with this. I love the smell of ginger, raw or cooked, but as it boils, it can be a bit overwhelming (it's not quite as bad as trying to dehydrate ghost peppers, but use caution, nonetheless).

Beyond that, it's just water and equal parts peeled fresh ginger and granulated sugar.

Candied Ginger


5 cups water (about 1.2 liters)
Approximately 1 lb.  (0.453 kg) fresh ginger, peeled
Approximately 1 lb. granulated sugar


Starting with a nice firm, sleek, non-wrinkly, large "hand" of ginger weighing a little over a pound. Peel it (if you're not sure how best to strip ginger nekkid, see this). 

Pour 5 cups water into a medium saucepan. Using your kitchen mandoline, slice ginger across the grain into 1/8-inch (about 3 mm) "coins", and place directly into the water. Cover, and bring to a boil on medium-high heat. Continue to boil, stirring occasionally, until ginger becomes somewhat tender, about 35-45 minutes.

While it is boiling, coat a cooling rack with nonstick spray, then set it over a jelly roll pan (sided cookie sheet) lined with parchment. 

When the ginger is softened, drain it in a colander, retaining the water.* 

At this point, you will need to weigh your ginger. Measure out an equal weight of sugar, and put that and the cooked ginger into the saucepan, adding 1/4 cup (.06 liters) water.

Again on medium-high heat, bring the ginger to a boil, and allow it to continue, uncovered, until the moisture is mostly cooked away (about 20 minutes), stirring often.

During the final stages, you will want to keep a close eye on it, as it goes very quickly from this

to this.
When it reaches the dry, crumbly state, immediately remove it from heat and spread it out on the cooling rack which rests above parchment.  Allow it to cool, store in a sealed container in your refrigerator for up to six months.

And, do you see all that crumbly sugar all over it, and falling down between the bars of the rack? Save it in another airtight container… you'll want to use it on top of cookies or pies, or to drop into a cup of tea. 

Or to nosh on when nobody is looking.

It's gingery, after all.

*The remaining water can be frozen in an ice cube tray and the cubes added later to tea – or other beverages – for a little zip.

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