While reading a British baking book, I recently came across an ingredient I was not familiar with: stem ginger in syrup.
A quick internet search informed me stem ginger in syrup is basically chunks of peeled, fresh ginger preserved in syrup. The internet also informed me that ginger preserved in syrup is ridiculously simple, but a bit time consuming, to make. Considering a jar of the stuff costs anywhere from $6 to $22 plus shipping online, it makes financial sense to make your own, if you have the time. I paid about $2.50 for an almost half-pound knob of organic fresh ginger root, and a 4-pound bag of store-brand sugar is about $2 at most Arkansas grocery stores.
Next week's column will feature one of the recipes I made with this ginger.
You'll need to plan ahead to make this, as the ginger needs to chill in the freezer for at least two hours. I let mine hang out overnight.
And you will need a kitchen scale for this recipe. If you don't have a kitchen scale, a workaround is to weigh the ginger using the scale in the produce department at the grocery store. If you buy 7 ounces of ginger, you can use the sugar and water amounts I mention in the instructions.
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Stem Ginger in Syrup
- Fresh ginger root
Place the ginger in the freezer for at least 2 hours and up to 12 hours.
Weigh the ginger. You will need an equal amount of sugar.
Using a spoon — a spoon will remove only the skin, leaving the flesh intact — scrape the skin from the ginger and trim away the dried ends where the plant was broken into pieces. You may want to use a tea towel to insulate your hand from the frozen ginger.
Cut the peeled ginger into ½-inch thick chunks. If necessary, use a paring knife to remove any remaining skin from the crannies.
Place the ginger in a medium saucepan and add enough cold water to cover by an inch or two. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 ½ to 2 hours or until ginger is tender, adding water as needed so the ginger is covered or almost covered. When the ginger is tender enough that it can be easily pierced with the tip of a knife, it is ready. Drain, reserving cooking water.
Using the cooking water, make a simple syrup of equal parts sugar and water. For example, my ginger before trimming and peeling weighed 7 ounces/200 grams so I needed 7 ounces/200 grams sugar, which is about 1 cup. To make the simple syrup I used 1 cup cooking water and 1 cup sugar. Depending on how much ginger you're preserving, you may need to add a little fresh water to your cooking liquid.
In the now empty saucepan, combine the sugar with the cooking liquid. Cook over medium low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Simmer 5 minutes or until syrupy. Return the ginger to the saucepan and simmer gently for 5 minutes more.
Transfer ginger and syrup to a clean jar. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 year.