Candied Ginger Root Nirvana

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.

About 1 1/4 lbs. fresh Ginger root

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.

Ginger root drained after cooking in water 2x

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.

 

Ginger slices in finished syrup

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! 

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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. 

 

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Look how much candied ginger this recipe makes!

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.

 

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Delicious ginger syrup!

Enjoy!

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Chamomile Harvest

The cuttings of just one German Chamomile plant filled the harvesting basket.  I am only growing two this year, and enjoyed an early harvest.  I hope to see a 2nd, full bloom before the extreme summer temperatures kick in, but after that the flowers are pretty much random.  Their scent is so sweet and lovely!

Our neighbors are expecting a baby girl in late June, which gives me just enough time to solar infuse Chamomile, Rosa Rugosa petals and Lavender flower buds in Rice Bran and Meadowfoam Seed oils, both of which are high in fatty acids and known for their gentleness.  It is such a pleasure to gift a batch of herbal diaper balm to new mothers.

 

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Garbling Chamomile can be a bit of tedium, but as luck would have it a friend dropped by.  We had a good visit and a glass of wine while I snipped the flowers off the stems!

The flowers from both plants filled these three drying baskets.  They will be dry in about a week, and fill two quart jars for the pantry, for later use.

By the end of the season, solar herbal infusions will fill my kitchen window sill.  =D  I infuse herbs in oil by the simpling method, because it allows me to specifically combine or exchange infused oils of equal strength for salves or balms.

The center jar is filled with Cottonwood buds in olive oil, solar infusing since January, and I probably won’t strain them off until the end of June.  It takes several months to dissolve the resinous coating of the buds in oil by the solar method.  But,  I’m not in a hurry and they aren’t an ingredient in my diaper balm recipe.   I  just enjoy seeing the colorful, healing jars of herbs and oils as I go about my day.

 

Corn Silk Tea

Corn Silk Tea is a very old folk remedy still much in use today. So think twice before you toss out that corn silk!  It is much more useful than it appears.

The tea is useful taken for kidney stones and other urinary tract issues, gout, anxiety and even as a tonic to help children with bed-wetting issues. An elderly Latino neighbor takes it as a digestive aid.

If you grow your own organic corn, pull the clumped silk out of the top of the ears and use fresh or dry for later use. To brew a cup, use about 1 Tbsp. Silk to 8 oz of boiling water. Sweeten with stevia or honey, as desired. Adults generally benefit from 3 cups a day, and children with one cup.

The corn silk may also be tinctured. Drop fresh corn silk into a mason jar, and cover with 100 proof vodka. Swirl jar occasionally to redistribute, and place on shelf away from sunlight for about 6 weeks. Take 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. several times a day, instead of the tea.

Some soap makers even add threads of cornsilk to the lye solution for a silky feel in their bars of soap!