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Crystallized Ginger

(recipe, Karen Solomon)


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Introduction

Sometimes it's fun to just blow up your palate. There are a lot of ways to do this, and the payoff is the pleasure that results from spicy hot or super-sour bites. The pleasurable burn of fresh ginger mellowed by a sugar crust holds that sort of reward: think of it as a high dive for your taste buds. This is a full-flavored candy on its own, but it also gives a hearty oom-pah-pah to cookies, candies, quick breads, and so on. And while I would never pass myself off as someone qualified to offer medical advice, in my own personal experience, this is an entirely tasty panacea for nausea, morning sickness, and motion sickness. I prefer it sliced thin and on the crunchy side, but if you prefer it cubed and more chewy, chop accordingly.

Ingredients

  1. 8 oz. fresh ginger
  2. 3½ cups sugar
  3. 2 cups water

Steps

  1. Peel the ginger and, using a mandoline or sharp knife, slice it very thinly, about ⅛ inch thick.
  2. Bring 2 cups of the sugar and the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the ginger, stirring to coat; lower the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Turn off the heat, cover, and let steep for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  3. Strain the liquids from the solids, retaining the strained ginger syrup for another use, such as stirring into sparkling water for a quick soda. (Refrigerated, it will keep for up to a week.)
  4. Pour the remaining 1½ cups of sugar in with the drained ginger pieces and mix with your hands, coating every surface of the ginger with sugar; make sure the ginger pieces don't stick together.
  5. Spread the ginger out in a single layer on a baking sheet and let it dry overnight, stirring once or twice.
  6. Once it's completely dry, move it to an airtight container lined with a paper towel. The ginger will keep for up to a year in the refrigerator.

Note

Save the sugar that falls off from the crystallized ginger for other uses: to sprinkle on top of Ginger-Lemon Scones, to add an extra jolt to sugar or ginger cookies, or to make a sugar rim for a cocktail. To make a sugar rim for a cocktail, run a cut wedge of lemon or lime along the rim of a martini glass, then dip and swirl the glass rim in a saucer of ginger sugar.