Monday, December 19, 2011
Entertaining, yes. Successful, no.
So, it's been a while since I've done the candy thing.
Even so, I've been thinking about making candied ginger for a long time. And now is the time.
Any minute now.
Excuse me while I steel my nerve.
OK. I'm ready. I'll be back when I'm done.
Dudes. This was sooooo much easier than I thought. Seriously.
The first thing I did was do a bit of recipe research. One set of recipes sliced the ginger very very thinly and did only one boil, then dried it for a few hours and coated with sugar. The other group sliced the ginger thinly and did two boils, with the final one going until all the liquid was completely evaporated.
I tried the first method first because it seemed easier but the ginger stayed tough and very VERY hot. Also, not sweet enough.
Crystallized ginger should be seriously sweet. Really, what's the point if it's not seriously sweet?
So, I tried the second method. We have a winner!
Here is what you do:
2. Peel the ginger. I saw on Cooks Illustrated that it's easier if you use the side of a spoon to scrape the peel and it worked like a charm.
3. Chop the ginger. In chunks or slices, whatever you want. You do not have to slice it paper thin like some recipes say. I did chunks. I like chunks. Chunks are great.
5. Put an equal amount of sugar in the pan - that's why you needed to measure the water you put in.
6. Boil for 45 minutes or so. The ginger will shrink some and turn golden in the center as it cooks.
7. Drain the syrup off the ginger. Save the syrup! It's very hot, but great for fruit salads, or homemade ginger ale or drizzled over grapefruit and broiled..... Plus you need a bit of the syrup for the next step.
[The first set of recipes stopped here. Dry the ginger for several hours or overnight. Make sure the pieces aren't touching as they dry. Toss with sugar.] But really, don't stop there!! Keep going!
8. Measure the ginger as you put it back in the saucepan [or another smaller one].
9. Put an equal amount of sugar in the pan and 2 Tablespoons of syrup for every cup of ginger.
The sugar and ginger will look damp, but not at all wet. You might think it looks too dry. That's ok. As soon as things heat up again, the ginger will release more liquid and it will get wetter. If you think you need more liquid, add a bit more. It won't hurt and it will make you feel better, which is important when you're making candy. I know.
10. Put the pan on medium heat and let it come to a boil. You can turn the heat down a bit if you want to, but you want to keep a good boil. Stir OFTEN. Keep an eye on this. As it boils way down, you'll want to stir constantly so that it doesn't start to burn.
12. As soon as it gets dry, take it off the heat.
15. It'll cool pretty fast. Taste it.
Keep your ginger and sugar in jars, away from humidity.