I am such a big fan of ginger and use it in so many things. Now that I am growing my own ginger, I just had to have a go at making home-made crystallised ginger – and it is so much simpler than I thought it would be.
800g ginger root (the younger and fresher the better)
Peel the ginger root, using a teaspoon or potato peeler. I had previously read about peeling it using a teaspoon and didn’t really believe it was possible until I tried it with really fresh ginger before the skin had thickened – and it really was simple to gently scrape the skin off. Then cut into pieces.
The various different recipes I found online talked about slicing the ginger really finely – no more than 2mm thick (especially for dipping in chocolate) – which seemed very strange to me as all the crystallised ginger I have had has been in bigger chunks (especially chocolate covered ginger). As they all said it, I figured it must be something to do with trying to do it at home rather than via a larger commercial process. But nonetheless I decided that I would try it chopped in different sizes and sliced in different thicknesses to see if it made a difference and which would be best. It didn’t seem to make any difference at all what size or shape pieces they were so it is just your own preference.
Place the ginger pieces in a saucepan and add enough water to cover by 1cm. Bring slowly to the boil, then simmer five minutes, then drain. Do this three times and then put it back in the pot and add 1L water, sugar and a good pinch of salt. Again I’m not sure why the three times is required but they all seem to do it. You can save the discarded ginger water and use it back in the final syrup or to make ginger ale etc so perhaps it is just preference as to how gingery you like it.
Slowly bring to a gentle boil, then cook until the syrup resembles a light runny honey. If you have a sugar thermometer, cook until it reaches 106C.
If you want you can decant (some of) your ginger and syrup now into hot sterilised jars and seal them. The ginger is reported to store better this way so you can space out the crystallising if you prefer.
Remove from heat and allow it to sit for 20 minutes.
Strain ginger pieces and place on a non-reactive surface such as a pyrex dish or a silicon baking sheet on an oven tray.
Place in the oven at 100C until the ginger pieces are almost dry but still chewy. Allow to cool.
Toss the ginger pieces in sugar to complete the crystallisation (optional). I prefer ‘naked’ or uncrystallised ginger so leave them as they are. Store in an airtight container.
Dip in chocolate, use in cooking and baking, or just eat straight from the container.