Ultimate Preserved Crystallized Ginger Recipe
Miscellaneous Gift Recipes
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Ultimate Preserved Crystallized Ginger
This is, bar none, the best, crystallized (preserved) ginger I have ever tasted! It’s a bit time consuming to make – but it will keep indefinitely. It makes a wonderful holiday or hostess gift, is a great cure for motion or morning sickness, and, in addition to simply being eaten out-of-hand, it can be used in baking, mixed into softened ice cream, added to stir-fried dishes or vegetables (it’s wonderful chopped over buttery glazed carrots). It’s terrific in various salads, can be stirred into sour cream for a fruit-dipping sauce – even the cooking syrup is useful (see below). The recipe came from our listener, Andie (the one we’re planning to put on speed-dial). She tells us that the secret is in steaming the ginger, instead of par-boiling it. Steaming keeps the ginger tender and moist, while leaving the maximum flavor in the ginger (instead of in the par-boiling water). This recipe does not require any specific quantities of ingredients – so make a small batch or a lifetime supply as you like – but the proportions are all carefully noted, to easily adapt to the amount you choose to prepare.

Fresh ginger root (larger pieces are easier to peel)
Granulated Sugar
7-Up (or similar citrus soda)
Equipment needed:
Steamer (can be any kind: stainless steel, Oriental-style bamboo, a colander, couscousier, or any other steaming contraption of your preference)
Crockpot (or a non-reactive cooking pot – enamel, glass or stainless steel)
Two wire racks – for draining and drying the sliced ginger pieces

In a mixing bowl large enough to hold the desired amount of ginger, mix a solution of 1/2 water and 1/2 7-Up (or other citrus soda). You will need enough liquid to immerse the ginger completely.

Break off any small buds from ginger root and reserve them for another use. Peel the large pieces of ginger with a vegetable peeler or paring knife, and drop the peeled pieces into the liquid solution.

Slice the peeled ginger pieces into 1/8-inch slices (or as close to that thickness as you can come) slicing the ginger crosswise or on a diagonal – in the direction that will obtain the largest slices possible. Return the slices as you cut them to the liquid solution.

Drain the sliced ginger and arrange the slices in stacks. Lay several stacks on their sides in the bottom of the steamer basket (or whatever you’re using) until the entire bottom of the basket is covered with stacks resting on their edges. Repeat with a second layer, and a third, if desired. If there are a few unstacked slices left over, those may be laid flat over the top.

Place the steamer basket over simmering water, cover, and allow to steam for 30-40 minutes or until the ginger is quite tender. If older, larger or more fibrous ginger is used, ginger may require an additional 10-15 minutes of steaming time.

In the Crockpot (or other cooking pot, as described) make a light simple syrup: for each cup of sliced ginger, you will need 1 cup of water, and 1 ½ cups of granulated sugar. Bring this mixture to a boil to dissolve the sugar, then add the sliced ginger. When the mixture again comes to a boil, reduce the heat to as low as possible, cover the pot, and allow to simmer gently for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally. (NOTE: If the syrup evaporates to the point w2here it no longer completely covers the ginger slices, simply dissolve more sugar in water, in a small saucepan, to make another batch of simple syrup as described above, and pour over as needed to keep the ginger covered.)

Andie Says: If you are cooking this on top of the stove, and must leave during the process, simply turn off the heat, leave the pot, covered, at room temperature until you return, then bring mixture back to the boil, reduce heat, and continue simmering gently. The total cooking time will be what counts.

After 6 hours of cooking time, remove a couple of slices of ginger, allow them to drain and cool, then taste them. They should be very tender. If they are not, simply continue simmering and tasting – process may require as much as 2 additional hours – even longer if slices are thicker.

When ginger is tender, remove the pot from heat (or turn off the Crockpot) and allow to cool for 30-40 minutes. Slices should still be warm, but not hot enough to burn. Using a skimmer or tongs, remover the slices from the syrup and place them, without overlapping, on a wire rack (over a sheet pan or parchment or wax paper to catch drips). Allow the slices to dry until just “tacky”–they should be slightly tacky, but should not stick to a finger pressed onto a slice then lifted.

(Strain the syrup into a jar and save for use in cooking, drinks, fruit salads, etc.)

Place 1/2 cup, granulated sugar in a shallow, 1-quart container – (such as a plastic Tupperware or Rubbermaid) with a fitted lid. Drop several slices of ginger into the container, cover and shake until the slices are very well coated with sugar. Then place the slices on a clean drying rack, and repeat with more slices, until all have been sugared – adding more sugar to the container as needed.

Leave the sugared slices on the rack overnight, or as needed depending on humidity (if desired, or if weather is especially humid, a fan will speed up drying time). Test for doneness by squeezing 2 slices together; if they do not stick together, they are finished. Store preserved ginger in airtight containers with screw or snap tops, plastic or glass – but do not use recloseable plastic bags. Ginger prepared and stored in this manner will deep indefinitely at room temperature.

If, for any reason, the ginger dries out over time, do not discard it: simply chop it finely and use in cooking or baking. You may even dry it further in a very low oven, and grind it to a powder in a coffee mill or spice grinder.

Source: Melinda Lee


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