If you have never tried making your own candied ginger, and if you like ginger, you need to make fresh candied ginger just for the 2 other products you get by making it that are wonderful to cook with. They are ginger water and ginger syrup and can be used in a multitude of wonderful dishes. I use the ginger water for stir fry, ice tea and to put in with sautéed vegetables like green beans at the end of cooking. The ginger syrup makes for great iced tea as well as a wonderful topping for ice cream and baked apples or pears, and a really good baste for barbecued pork to name just a few uses. I read every recipe I could find for making candied ginger (also called crystallized ginger) and they seemed like they were making it a bit more time consuming than it needed to be and I was right, it doesn’t need to take as long as most of the recipes told me it did and I came up with excellent candied ginger, spicy ginger water and lovely ginger syrup. With 1 pound of ginger for $1.98, 3 cups of sugar and 6 cups of water I got, a baggie full of sugar coated soft ginger candies, 12 ounce jar of candied ginger in ginger syrup, 1 cup of ginger syrup, and almost 1 ½ cups of strong ginger water. I have been mixing ginger syrup with rum and lemonade for a wonderful summer cocktail. Here is the recipe I assembled after reading all of the recipes on line and I have now made it twice and it came out the same both times. Give it a try because for $1.98 the worst that could possibly happen is you have a pound of ginger to use in your cooking!
When you buy your ginger pick the smaller pieces, but not too small because you need to be able to use a peeler (I used a “Y” peeler) without peeling off your fingers or getting mad at the little pieces you are trying to peel. Once you make this you will know exactly what size of ginger you want and why you want it that size, the smaller pieces are also tenderer than the larger ones besides being the right size. After the ginger is peeled you will need to cut them in about 1/8 to ¼” round slices, they don’t have to be exact and they will turn out just fine. Rinse the ginger lightly once to get the pieces of peel rinsed off so they won’t be in the water or syrup that you will want to use later, and if you like ginger you will want to use it later. Now put the ginger in a stainless steel pan and pour the water in and bring the water to a boil and simmer the ginger, with the lid on, for about 30 to 40 minutes. Take a piece out and try it and when it is tender turn off the heat and let it set overnight, I put the pan in refrigerator. The next day, it can be in the morning or the evening if you have to wait until then it won’t hurt a thing because the longer it sits the stronger it tastes and in the case of ginger that is not a bad thing! Drain off about a cup to a cup and half of the water so that you can use it to flavor things with that you don’t want the sugar from the syrup in them, the water will be wonderfully brown and gingery – just like what they use at your favorite Mongolian Grill restaurant. If you want more ginger water or syrup just add more water to the soak as this amount of ginger will flavor more water than this recipe it is just that this is all I want to store before I “have” to make another batch. You can also chop and freeze the water and boiled ginger to add to recipes at your leisure if you don’t want the candied ginger or syrup, it is still a good value of flavor for your buck and adds a lot more flavor to your stir fries than just chopped up ginger does and if you freeze it in ice cube trays (you can then remove the cubes and put them in a bowl or baggies to take out and add to your recipes when you need them. Then you add the sugar to the water and bring it to a gentle simmer and I simmered it for 30 minutes, let it cool for 30 minutes and then simmered it in the sugar another 30 minutes and I used a slotted spoon to remove the ginger I wanted to coat with sugar to make finger candy and left the rest in the syrup and poured the ginger slices and enough of the syrup to cover them in a jar and put the rest of the syrup in another jar to use for the things I previously mentioned. After I drained the sugar soaked ginger for candy I just put them on a piece of waxed paper coated with dry sugar and folded it up and placed the whole thing in t baggie and put it in the refrigerator and then every time I open it up I eat a few slices, you can sprinkle them on desserts or chop them up and put them in stir fried dishes also. It’s all good!