I found a few recipes that called for candied ginger this holiday season, but initially nixed the ideas because of the highly processed versions of this sweet treat found in the grocery store. This got me thinking that it may not be too difficult to make at home, so I did a little research and here is a relatively easy version you can try too.
This is the first time I've ever made candied anything, and it turned out so well that I could not help but label this recipe "easy". That being said, it was not a quick recipe at all although most of it was not hands on until the end. Looking back at the entire process, I think this would be a fun thing to make for special occasions... or if you thought you needed a forearm workout.
About 2 cups of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced thinly (less than 1/8 inch thick). **I cut mine by hand and some chunks were a little thick but you could use a mandolin to ensure thinness and uniformity. This recipe assumes 1/8 inch thick or a little less so if your slices are thicker you'll need to increase the boiling time**
1 cup turbinado sugar
1/2 cup coconut crystals, and a little extra to sprinkle
1. Prep and Cook Ginger: Peel and slice ginger and place in a medium sized saucepan with plenty of water. Boil for about 30 to 40 minutes until the ginger is tender. Drain in a colander, reserving 1/2 cup of the ginger liquid. You could use any "extra" remaining liquid to make homemade ginger ale or as a flavoring in recipes, added to tea, etc. So anyway, save the remainder. There are lots of potential uses.
2. Set Up Your "Cooling" Area: This is prep for the labor intensive part coming up, so before you start, lay a piece of parchment paper on your table or counter and place a rack on top. You'll let the ginger cool on the rack when you're done, but you really want to have this ready and waiting for you. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I did not use a rack and the only difference is that the excess "candy" stuck to my ginger. Which was fine! However, if you want very proper looking candied ginger, you'll want the rack. You can then reserve the "candied drippings" to add to your tea, garnish ice cream, etc.
3. Candy Your Ginger: So, then return a half cup of the reserved cooking liquid to your saucepan with the cooked sliced ginger, sugar, and the coconut crystals. Stirring constantly, heat on medium high until boiling, then reduce heat to medium and continue to stir. Keep stirring and stirring and stirring. And stirring and stirring and stirring. Wow, this is a lot of stirring. In fact, 25 to 30 minutes of constant stirring. If you like talking on the phone, this is a good time to make a call. Lucky me, my phone rang while I was stirring so I passed the time talking to a friend- thanks Amber!
Finally, at about 25 minutes, the "sugar" syrup will start to look dry and evaporate and re-crystalize. You'll want to transfer your newly candied ginger to the cooling rack, spread it out, and sprinkle with additional coconut crystals. Actually, I used a mixture of coconut crystals and maple sugar. Allow to cool. The amount of time varies, but mine cooled to the touch very fast. I think you'll want at least an hour up to overnight. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator for about two weeks.
I think this was a really neat recipe to make and I am looking forward to including my homemade candied ginger in other recipes. I have featured it in a baked apples dessert recipe I hope to post later this weekend and also a cranberry sauce. I also know that candied ginger is considered to be one of the ingredients in a good turkey brine. Ginger has lots of wonderful health benefits as well.
Oh, by the way, did I mention this was delicious?!?!?!