305: Candied Ginger
My ultimate goal is to make Lebkuchen, which are delicious German cookies, but the recipe called for crystallized ginger. Rather than buy an expensive but small amount of it, I decided to just make the candied ginger myself.
I had to halve the recipe because I only had about a half a pound of ginger, which is much more ginger than I’d ever bought before. [Actually, I bought a pound of ginger, but some of it fell into the trash as I was peeling it.] I don’t have a mandoline, but I tried to slice it thinly and evenly using a ruler as my guide.
First I simmered the ginger in water on the stove. Not all of my pieces were even, so I simmered the ginger a few extra minutes until it was all tender. I drained the ginger and kept a couple of tablespoons of the liquid to combine with sugar. [Theoretically, I should be able to drink the rest of the ginger tea that was made when I simmered the ginger. I didn’t get a chance to, but it’s in the fridge waiting for me to reheat it.]
I weighed the ginger, put it back in the pan with the liquid, and added an equal weight of sugar to it. I brought it to a boil on the stove and let it cook for 20 minutes. What I should have done was stir it constantly while it boiled, but I didn’t read the instructions closely enough. The syrup began to turn brown and caramelize while I wasn’t paying attention to it. Once the 20 minutes were up and I saw what was happening, I stirred the ginger vigorously to try to make the sugar crystallize as it cooked. I poured it onto a rack to cool, and stored it the next day.
I don’t think I’ve ever had candied ginger before, so I don’t have a reference to compare this to. The ginger is chewy but not too chewy. Definitely still very gingery and intense, but sweet. I haven’t put it in anything yet, but I’m looking forward to. This was simple enough to do, and I’ll definitely make my own candied ginger again. Next time I’ll be sure to pay attention to the ginger as it cooks in the ginger syrup.