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GINGER is good for you -- CANDIED GINGER recipe



GINGER in all its forms...especially enjoyable in
CANDIED (crystalized) GINGER


The pungent, intense root of GINGER...
has now been integrated in my kitchen for at least 10 years or so.

I usually enjoyed having it in meals at Asian restaurants...
but wasn't truly comfortable using such a strange looking root in my recipes.
Did not know how or what to really do with it?
Admittedly at first...I could only stand to eat a hint of it in my food.
It really was an acquired taste for me.

Now, it seems...I just can't get enough of it.
So much so...that I wanted to start making my
Homemade Candied Ginger
Not only is the store bought type laced with 
preservatives...it has gotten pretty pricey too.

This last week...I decided it was enough...so I went searching for a recipe.
The following is what I dug up...and I thought I would share some of it verbatim.
Yes...I am mostly quoting Kathy Fisher who was so dedicated to this topic.
She obviously passed a great deal of time in putting this info together.
Therefore, I am giving her much credit for some of the following detailed information.
However...after having experienced the recipe myself...corrections had to be made.
I felt that there were a few changes that needed to be modified too...sorry Ms. Fisher.
This feature article has become a collaborative work from two people who love ginger.

Update Note:...as I keep experimenting with this treat...I have made several changes of my own.

 ***
Ginger, Zingiber officinale
...a native plant of tropical Asia.
Ginger root is the underground rhizome.


.The intense flavor of raw ginger, used in many Oriental recipes, is too much for most.
.The pungent taste comes from the same family of molecules (gingerols, related to capsaicin) that cause the heat of chile peppers.
.When cooked or dried, some of the gingerol is converted to two more sharp-tasting compounds: shogaols and zingibrene.
.Mature gingerroot is dried and ground into powder to become the familiar kitchen spice used in cookies, bread and other bakery goods.
.Candied or crystallized young gingerroot has been a favorite confection and recipe ingredient around the world for centuries, particularly in India and Southeast Asia.

GINGER ROOT
...some Nutritional Information

The "officinale" in ginger's name shows the plant's past medicinal status.
Asian doctors regard it highly as a remedy for digestive troubles as well as an overall tonic. If you ever reached for a ginger ale to ease a tummy ache, your intuition was correct.

It's well documented that ginger relieves indigestion, nausea, colic, gas, heartburn, morning sickness, and motion sickness. In addition, ginger seems to protect against ulcers, has several actions against internal parasites, and may even ease acid reflux.  Old time healers also knew that ginger was good for coughs.

Further, it warms you when you are chilled and paradoxically, helps reduce a fever. Ginger compresses relieve sore muscles, stomach cramps, and swollen glands.

Recently, much medical research, particularly in Europe and Japan, has documented the therapeutic effects of the ginger rhizome, which contains 400+ compounds including enzymes and antioxidants.  Some of the studies showed how ginger mediates healing and immunity by reducing abnormal inflammation and clotting.

Also, ginger seems to have anti-cancer properties, blocking carcinogens, and it tones the circulatory system, suggesting that it could reduce heart disease.

Finally, Danish research showed that long-term ginger consumption might reduce arthritic conditions.  So, eat your ginger daily. It's good…and good for you.
 
***

homemade CANDIED (crystalized) GINGER

Please note...the finished product will be surprisingly pungeant tasting.
It could only make you wonder...what are we really buying at the store!?!
Although, somewhat time-consuming, it's reasonably simple to prepare.
Prep and cook time...about: 2 1/2 hours (mostly left alone slow cooking)


INGREDIENTS:
(American / Metric measures)

. 1-3/4 cups (425ml) water
. 1 cup (190g) granualted sugar 
. 1 tbsp. (15ml) lemon juice
. 1 cup (225g) Ginger root (firm  and unblemished) 

. 1/4 cup (60g) granulated sugar (for coating)


 

PREPARATION:

1. PEEL the Ginger Root and thinly slice the non-fibrous parts.
2. COOK the Ginger slices very slowly:
. In a small-medium pot...bring the water, sugar and lemon juice to a boil until the sugar is dissolved. Give it a quick stir.  Add the ginger and return to a boil before lowering the heat to a simmer setting (between Low and Medium).   KEEP COVERED WITHOUT WORRY OF OVER-BOILING.  This process will take 90 minutes.
. Afterwards, take off the lid and continue cooking for another 15 minutes.
(When thoroughly cooked, it will be tender and almost translucent.)
. At this point, take pot off the burner and cool for about 30 minutes.
3. STRAIN ginger from the syrup:
. With a small mesh strainer over a jar...pour out the syrup.  Place and spread the remaining ginger on a metal mesh screen with a bottom plate to catch minimal drips but mostly for aeration.
Note:  Save the ginger-flavored syrup (for up to a month) in an airtight jar.  Use in your tea, yogurt, on ice cream, or to make an amazing tasting ginger ale.  To make GINGER ALE: for every 8oz (250ml) of seltzer water...add  3 tbsp. (45ml) of syrup...and an optional squeeze of lemon.
4. AIR-DRY the ginger for about 20-24 hours.  Most of the tackiness needs to be gone before you proceed with the sugar coating.
NOTE: Don't expect your homemade candied ginger to be light yellow like commercial crystallized ginger.
Even if you use only white granulated sugar, your finished ginger and syrup products will still be various shades of amber. Sulfur dioxide is used commercially to retain the light yellow color of the raw ginger.

5. COAT Ginger pieces the next day:
. Toss the ginger in a small pan filled with sugar...or easier yet, toss ALL the ginger and shake it a few times in a plastic bag.  All pieces should be coated lightly with sugar.

. The candied Ginger is now ready to be stored in an airtight glass jar.  Refrigerate.

Variation: Chocolate Coating:
Another way to finish candied ginger is to coat it in melted chocolate, kept warm in a small double boiler. Dip the pieces with a fork, tap off the excess and put the coated pieces on wax paper until they're completely dry.
Press two pieces of either the sugar-coated or chocolate-coated candy together. If they do not stick to each other, they are ready to store in a tightly-closed container.
***



ABOUT this RECIPE...here's a little more details that may be handy to know:

. HOW TO BUY GINGER:
. Fresh gingerroot is readily available at your local supermarket.
. Look for firm roots (avoid the shriveled ones) with good skin (no moldy "eyes").
The younger roots are less likely to be fibrous so DO NOT pick the biggest rhizomes.
. You can peel the gingerroot or scrape off the skin.
. Although shape is just a personal preference, it's important to keep the pieces a uniform thickness so that they will all finish cooking at the same time.
. Put the ginger slices into a measuring cup, pressing them down a bit.

. SWEETENER(S):
.Traditionally, granulated white sugar is used to make candied ginger.  However, you can try anything you'd like, alone or in combination.
One interesting combo is: ½ maple sugar and ½ white or brown sugar.
. Other possibilities are Sucanat (dried sugar cane juice), date sugar, raw sugar, corn syrup, maple syrup, and honey.
. I've found that syrup sweeteners tend to produce a stickier end product.
There is also some concern that heating honey, particularly for the long times needed with crystallized ginger, creates toxic compounds and kills all the beneficial enzymes.
You need at least one cup of sweetener per cup of sliced ginger.
If you use more, you will end up with more syrup at the end (which isn't necessarily a bad thing, if you like the syrup as much as I do).

. LEMON:
. You can use a tablespoon or two of lemon juice or half a lemon, sliced, peel and all (candied lemon is wonderful, by the way), per batch.
The addition of lemon is particularly important if using only one kind of sweetener, especially if it is granulated white sugar, to help prevent crystallization of the syrup.
. While you are at it...you may have wanted to throw in some thin slices of lemon peel too.  Candied citrus is also very tasty.


When you finally get the opportunity to take
a bite of your homemade candied ginger...
I promise you that you will think this was
really not what you expected!

Once, you get over the initial palate shock...
you'll never want to go back to store-bought again.


This was, for me, a very surprising and enlightening experiment.
It was great learning more about one of my favourite ingredients.
How about you...did you learn anything knew?
Have you ever made your own Candied Ginger?


Flavourful wishes,
Foodessa


Comments ...???... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at: foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Go HERE for more SWEET creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)
. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.

OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later.