This is a “three-for-one recipe” using only two ingredients – ginger and sugar!
You can always have crystalized or candied ginger in the pantry if you make it yourself! If you have a local source for ginger, even better!
Our Vermont farmers have started growing fresh ginger during our long daylight hours of summer. They grow well in the humid weather in a greenhouse, and the resulting ginger is the most flavorful I’ve ever had, most likely because it is so fresh.
I tuck a lot in the freezer for grating the rest of the year, and pickle some for sushi. But I use a fair amount of crystalized (candied) ginger in recipes, so making my own was obvious. The candied ginger is great in breads and muffins, cakes, puddings and other desserts, as a topping for fruit salad, or addition to any number of savory dishes and gravies. Any time you want a little pop of sweet and heat.
When making the crystalized ginger, you get two luscious byproducts: ginger tea, and ginger syrup!
The ginger tea is for immediate drinking. Ginger’s healing properties and health benefits have been recognized for thousands of years for just about everything from upset tummies to cancer protection. If you aren’t in the process of making candied ginger, you can make a cup of the tea simply by steeping a few thin slices of grated ginger in boiling water for 15 minutes.
The final simple syrup you have when making this recipe becomes ginger syrup. It can be stored in the refrigerator and used as a sweetener, glaze, topping, or flavoring for anything from seltzer water to meringue.
200 grams fresh ginger, skin scraped or peeled
400 grams white sugar, plus more for coating
Scrape off the peel of the ginger with a spoon. If it is freshly harvested, it will come off easily, or, if thin enough, you won’t need to peel at all. If it is an older root, scrap and remove any discolored spots as well.
Cut the ginger into thin slices, around 1/8 inch, or chop into cubes.
Place in a small saucepan and cover with water by an inch or two. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat and cook at a simmer for a half hour.
Drain this over a bowl, reserving all the liquid. Place the ginger back in the pan and add two cups of the ginger boiling water. Save the rest, it is delightful ginger tea that you can drink immediately.
Add the sugar to the pot.
Bring this to a boil again, then simmer gently for about 45 minutes, or until it reaches a temperature of 225 degrees.
Strain out, but save the ginger simple syrup for use in any number of beverages or desserts.
Remove the ginger slices to a wire rack to cool for four hours or overnight. They need to be tacky, but not wet. If too wet, the coating sugar will dissolve.
Roll them in coarse sugar to coat all around.
Let dry completely and store in an airtight container.
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