A beautiful blend of sweet and spicy (as well as chewy and crunchy), these small ginger confectionaries are bursting with big flavor!
This rhizome is a stimulating ingredient with a variety of uses: both in the home kitchen as a delicious garnish or snack, and even in the herbal medicine cabinet as a natural tummy-tamer.
While it’s no multivitamin gummy, it has its own style of beneficial goodness. Ginger is a superfood that can soothe the simptoms of a variety of nausea-related illnesses, including morning sickness.
With this recipe, you can enjoy this sweet concoction as a natural remedy when those symptoms occur – or otherwise just for pure enjoyment!
Make It Yourself!
You can easily make these candies in your home kitchen, with just two ingredients.
This recipe is unlike many of the packaged candied ginger products that you’ll find. With no additives, preservatives, or food dyes, it’s a homemade creation that’s all about pure, gingery goodness!
Keep in mind: without any of those additives, our homemade version will like be darker than the store-bought versions of these treats that you may be used to.
Another consequence of eliminating additives and preservatives like sulfur dioxide is that your gingery goodies will have a shorter shelf life.
While many store-bought kinds can last for a few months, these candies will remain fresh for about two weeks.
Using oxygen absorbers and vacuum sealed bags can help to increase shelf life as well, when you’re making large batches.
But don’t worry – the sweet and spicy flavor that you love is the same. So give it a try!
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep the Ginger
For a yield of 1 pound of peeled and sliced ginger, you will need about half a pound more of fresh, unprocessed ginger than what the recipe demands.
Take into consideration the waste involved: peeled skin, end pieces, and small knobs will take away from the total weight.
All of these things need to be discarded, while the remaining quantity will give you the appropriate yield of usable product.
The ideal thickness for your slices is between 1/8 and 1/4 inches. You may use a knife or a mandoline to get a more precise cut.
In order to maintain a chewy texture to balance that crunchy sugar exterior, avoid cutting them too thin – or else the slices will lose moisture as they cook and dry.
Step 2 – Soften
Slowly simmering the ginger slices in hot water before introducing the sugar syrup helps to break down and soften the fibrous cell walls.
This promotes a better infusion of the sugar syrup into each piece and will yield a softer, more enjoyable texture.
Place in a large pot and fill with cold to room temperature water. The gradual increase in heat as you cook them yields a better final texture, rather than initially shocking them with high heat.
As you simmer them, be sure to keep all of the pieces fully covered to promote even cooking. You may need to add another cup or so of water to the pot if too much evaporates.
Step 3 – Cook in Sugar Syrup
Now that they are prepped and softened, you can make the sugar syrup in the same pot by mixing together sugar and some of your reserved ginger water.
Using the water from the softening step augments the final flavor, yielding an even more intense, gingery kick!
The syrup is highly concentrated in order to promote crystallization. Because of this significant quantity of sugar, make sure to dissolve all of it in the water. And keep the heat at medium-low, to prevent it from crystallizing too quickly or burning.
Once the sugar is completely dissolved and the syrup begins to boil, you can add the ginger slices. Don’t forget to stir occasionally! This helps to continually and evenly coat and cook them.
Use a heatproof spoon or spatula for this process.
Step 4 – Remove and Cool
In about 15 minutes, check to see if they are ready to remove from the syrup.
There are two visual signs that will help you to determine this: the syrup will be thickened slightly, and the ginger will be translucent. Cook them for a few more minutes if you need to.
As soon as they are ready, immediately remove the pan from the heat and drain, using a colander over a big bowl to collect the syrup.
Be sure to use a heatproof colander and bowl when straining, as you are dealing with very hot ingredients!
You can now set the pieces to cool on a wire cooling rack over a baking sheet. I advise using two forks during this process instead of your bare hands, as the pieces are very hot and sticky at this point.
Do your best to keep the pieces separate from one another on the cooling rack – they will stick together as they cool.
As an added bonus, you can actually reserve the syrup for other uses. It will be infused with some subtle, gingery spiciness.
To prevent recrystallization, mix an additional 1/2 cup of water into the syrup and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
Step 5 – Coat with Sugar
After 30 minutes of cooling, test one piece to see if it’s ready. You want it to still be sticky enough that the sugar coats it properly, but not warm enough that the sugar melts away.
Toss it in some sugar, and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. If nothing has dissolved, you’re cleared to continue coating the other pieces.
You can definitely toss a handful at the same time without any issues. Just be sure to place the pieces back on the rack to continue cooling and drying separately, so they don’t stick.
Step 6 – Dry and Store
Once all of the pieces are coated in sugar, place back on the cooling rack in a single layer. They will need at least 3 hours to cool and dry completely (though I couldn’t resist snacking on a few during the long wait!)
Store in an airtight container at room temperature, away from heat and direct sunlight. They will keep for about two weeks.
Serve as You Wish!
Enjoy a few pieces on their own as a delicious, tummy-taming snack or a quick, fiery pick-me-up.
Or, serve as a bold garnish for some of your favorite desserts, like this lemon bundt cake. The next time you are ready to eat a bowl of silky semifreddo, or serve a slice of scrumptious pie, top it off with a handful of freshly made candied slices to wake up the flavor!
Last but not least, candied ginger is often a favorite addition to batter for gingerbread baked goodies.
Be inspired to go homemade with this DIY recipe, and tell us what you think in the comments below.
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The staff at Foodal are not medical professionals and this article should not be construed as medical advice. Foodal and Ask the Experts, LLC assumes no liability for the use or misuse of the material presented above. Always consult with a medical professional before changing your diet or using supplements or manufactured or natural medications.
Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
About Nikki Cervone
Nikki Cervone is a full-time cheesemonger and specialty foods buyer living in Pittsburgh. Nikki holds an AAS in baking/pastry from Westmoreland County Community College, a BA in Communications from Duquesne University, and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University. When she's not nibbling on her favorite cheeses or testing a batch of cupcakes, Nikki enjoys a healthy dose of yoga, wine, hiking, singing in the shower, and chocolate. Lots of chocolate.