Friday, December 19, 2008

Candied Ginger

I am such a "get your ginger out of a tube" woman when it comes to savory cooking. I can't be bothered to peel and grate the fresh ones. However, when I make my Ginger Cookies, I must use the real stuff. Here in Japan, they seem to sell fresh ginger in packages much bigger than I need. I heard you could freeze it, but, I don't think it would be good in cookies after that. So, it sits in my fridge. Then it gets thrown away.

A few weeks ago I caught a cold, and for some reason the ginger sitting in my fridge came to mind. I searched the web over and thought I found true love. Actually, it was a recipe for candied ginger and ginger syrup. Syrup for pancakes, tea, yogurt...well, you get the picture. It sounded so healthy.

So, when I woke up from sleeping on the sofa - again - to protect the family from cold germs, I headed for the kitchen. Someone said to peel the ginger by scraping it with the side of a spoon. I had never heard of this, but it worked so wonderfully! Then, I was supposed to slice the ginger into 1/8 inch pieces. Right. NOT! I have a slicer that slices 1.5 mm, so used that and was done slicing in a second. I only had 1/2 cup of ginger, so halved the recipe...or so I thought.

Candied Ginger

1/2 cup sliced ginger (1.5 mm)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water

Put it all in a small saucepan, and simmer for 30 minutes. Fish out the ginger using tongs or chopsticks, or... whatever, and place the slices on a fine mesh rack. My cookie rack was really not fine enough. The ginger kept falling through. But, anyway, let it sit and dry on the rack for 30 minutes. Then roll each piece(s) (they tend to stick together) in white sugar, and put them back on the rack. Then, let them sit overnight to kind of dry and harden. Store in an airtight container. I put mine in the fridge. This ginger is very very hot!!! Not for the kiddos!

Comments that I got from my Japanese friends about this ginger:

  • Is ginger in the US hot too? Uhhhh, I don't recall ever buying fresh ginger in the US. I grew up thinking ginger came out of a bottle that you shook and made cookies with.
  • The heat of the ginger root depends upon the part of the root you get. Who knew?
  • What do you do with it once it is made. Ummmm. I have no idea.
I had no idea, but my dear friend, Abigail, whom I sent a sample to, posted two recipes using it! You GO, Abigail! Ryu and I just use it as dessert. HOT!

Abigail made Ginger-ed Coffee, and used it in a Dressing for a Fruit Salad.

But, the story doesn't end here. I wondered why I only had 1 Tbsp. of syrup, after all the other reader's comments. The next day I was coming out of my cold fog and while I was cleaning the kitchen, I came across the recipe I had used...or not used, as the case turned out. The original recipe called for the following:

1 cup ginger
3 cups water
3 cups sugar

Yep, that would give you some syrup, I think. And, might take some of the hottness away from the ginger? Or not. Anyway, if you want syrup, up the amount of water and sugar, I say!!! LOL!

Actually, I did use that one lonely Tablespoon of syrup to make a wonderful drink. I grated a wedge of fresh apple and added hot water. Hot and YUMMY! My husband, Ryu, said that Japanese make a drink with grated ginger and grated daikon (long white radish). Sounds yukky to me, but...


Abigail said...

Yes, we are twins separated at birth. No doubt about it. I usually buy the little glass jars of grated ginger already done for me, and if I ever buy a real chunk of the fresh stuff, half of it ends up going bad and into the gomibako. Hmmmm. Sad, that.

Anyway, I am really enjoying getting creative with your candied ginger. Maybe I'll make it again one day and maybe it will actually dry out and be usable. I made some several years ago and for some reason it never dried properly. I had the same problem - it kept falling through my slatted metal grilling rack. Doshiyou?

Kim said...

Abigail - YES! Those racks just don't work, do they?!?! I finally stuck the pieces on the sides of my "zaru"...strainer! That's the word! At least they didn't fall through, but it wasn't easy!!!

I look forward to reading more things you come up with to do with that ginger! BTW, did you finish off the candied yuzu? I think it would be yummy in the Raw Ginger cooky recipe - minus the raw ginger!

thefukases said...

Your ginger is fabulous! I always cut mine too think and it really zings. I use fresh ginger a lot and think I will be even more now...:) As for drying you can get cool three tier drying racks for a couple hundred yen at the hardware store. A must for summer when there're all those tomatoes around!

Kim said...

Heather - I'm so glad you liked it!!! I am too lazy to get a knife out when those handy dandy slicers or scizzors will do. Those racks sound like the way to go. I hope you will share other ways you use ginger root! I can't seem to get enough of it! Oh, and I have never eaten or seen "purchased/real" candied ginger. Is it like the stuff I made???