Sunday, 16 December 2012

Crystallized Ginger

Ginger has long been known as a natural remedy for nausea (and everything else under the sun if you read health food articles) the one thing I do know about it though, is that it's absolutely delicious! Used all over the place in Asia, ginger has crept in to some of our most traditional holiday recipes be it in fruitcakes, mulled wine or anything else. One particularly delicious treat (with a kick!) that's worth giving a try is crystallized ginger. If you've ever had it, you probably love it, or have at least developed some kind of Stockholm Syndrome relationship to it...if you haven't had it? You should definitely make it! Although being a bit of a pain to make, this confection is absolutely worth it and is great to put into gift baskets with an old fashioned feel! People who haven't tried it might be surprised by its deliciousness, I know I was when I first had it when I was (briefly) in Japan! Anyway, enough rambling, let's get to it!


Ingredients:


-700 gr. Ginger (peeled)
-5c. Granulated white sugar
-4 tbsp water

1) Prepare a landing pad, ie a glass pyrex, plates or a cookie sheet on which you'll be able to pour lava-hot ginger directly from the pot.
2) peel about 750, 800g of ginger with a spoon, it works really well...seriously...try it
3) Cut the ginger into thin slices with a knife, not necessarily paper thin but not wedge-like either, you want a good promise say 1/8 of an inch?
 4) Throw ginger in a pot, making sure to clear a substantial amount of head space, sugar overflows make nasty, nasty fire hazards and are a pain to clean! Cover the ginger with sugar and mix the water in, heat on low heat until the sugar is melted then continue for about 5 minutes
5) Bring the heat up to medium and cook. First the sugar will turn syrupy, then the water will begin to evaporate and finally crystals will form, stir constantly and quickly scraping the sides to prevent it from sticking, once the sugar sticks to the ginger and not to the pot and it has become dry as a bone, pour the ginger out onto its landing pad before it burns.
 6) Let cool and enjoy! Consider wrapping it in bags and giving them out to make some new best friends, watch out, this stuff has kick to it!

Fun stuff? If you candy ginger (boil it in water, drain, rinse+repeat 3 times, reserving the liquid and then preserve in simple syrup) you can use the drained juice to make a sort of ginger concentrate for cooking, baking or adding to soda water to make ginger ale:

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