Have you ever made candied Ginger root? It is so worth the trouble. I promise it is just like the sugared ginger root found on the health food aisle for $5.99 in that very small package. Only, think way cheaper, fresher, better and more of it.
This is a great time of the year to buy Ginger root as you will most likely still find the spring root, which is tender, juicier and has fewer “hairs” in it. But I make this treat for holiday neighbor gifts, too, in the dead of winter, with wrinkly ginger root. It is always good, no matter what. The roots you select will ideally be very firm, with tight, smooth skins, because they will yield more. This recipe calls for a pound of root, approximately three large “hands.” I always hope there is extra root just because this recipe makes enough syrup to handle a little bit more. 🙂
The first step is to peel the ginger root. I use a standard (but very sharp) potato peeler. I do not have enough time to peel this much ginger root “correctly” with the edge of a teaspoon. Sorry for whomever came up with that tedious idea! But a sharp peeler works great and quickly, and the edge will even clean the crevices where little knobs protrude.
Slice the root thinly, then place in a deep sided, stainless saucepan and cover with water. (Some people prefer smaller, diced chunks) Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Do that twice. Drain and place ginger back in the saucepan.
Now to make the syrup part of the recipe. Add the following right on top of the drained ginger in the saucepan:
3 cups granulated sugar
2 1/2 cups of water
1/4 tsp. of salt
I use Distilled water because we have a well and fairly hard water. If you have access to soft tap water, just use that.
Allow sugar to dissolve into water over low heat, stirring to evenly distribute it.
Turn heat to medium high and bring syrup to a boil. Once syrup begins to boil, reduce heat to low or medium-low, and do not stir it again! Just let it bubble away until candy thermometer reads 225 degrees. The process takes about 40 minutes on my stove.
Cool ginger in the syrup to room temperature. Put a lid on it, and allow ginger to soak in the syrup overnight. Reheat the syrup and ginger in the morning, right before you coat the slices with sugar. It must be hot to hold on to the granulated sugar!
Drain hot syrup using tight mesh colander over large measuring cup or bowl. Save and set aside the strained syrup! Immediately pour 2-3 cups of granulated sugar in a bowl. Throw a few slices of hot ginger into the sugar, and toss with a spoon or fork to coat. Remove sugared slices to cookie cooling rack and repeat until done.
Place the syrup in a bail wire bottle or canning jar and refrigerate till needed. Ginger syrup is great on ice cream, nice in tea, and a wonderful remedy syrup for sore throats, especially for adults. You can add a few lemon slices or a little fresh juice to the bottle of syrup, too, if you like. I often do. Be aware, this syrup is a tad hot and spicy, so most small children don’t care for it.