Making crystallized or candied ginger at home is a way to store a fresh harvest for longer.
The steeping and drying process of candied and crystallized ginger allows you to store in an airtight container for 2 years, and then pop in the fridge and eat within six months. This is great if you grow your own ginger and are looking to go more self-sufficient.
Obviously, though candied ginger is a treat worth making even if you use store bought ginger!
Are Crystallized & Candied Ginger The Same.
Just a small note on the slight differences in naming of your ginger sweet treats.
Both ‘crystallized’ and ‘candied’ are used almost interchangeably when talking about ginger. The one distinction may be found when candied ginger is simply cooked and stored in a jar of syrup. Whereas crystallized refers to the sugar you can roll the candied sugar in to make it look like a jewel.
So really we can use either method to store and preserve our ginger. If a recipe calls for candied ginger and we have only got crystallized in our larder, then that is a fine and suitable substitute. Do not try and replace candied or crystallized ginger with ground ginger in a recipe as you will be missing out on the moisture and crunch that this provides.
How To Make Candied & Crystallized Ginger
For this recipe you can use freshly dug up or store bought ginger. I would recommend buying organic ginger though as it is not sprayed with chemicals to suppress rhizome growth.
You will need; 1 cup of peeled and thinly sliced ginger, 1 cup of granulated sugar and 3 cups of boiling water.
Pour the water into a pan and bring to the boil, add the sugar and ginger slices and then cover to simmer for 5-10 minutes. You do not want to boil your ginger. Remove the saucepan from the heat and leave until cool 20-30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 210F (100C). Strain the ginger from the water (put the water to one side for future use). At this point you can make stem ginger by cooling the ginger and putting into a clean jar then pouring the syrup over. If we want candied or crystallized we must now instead lay the ginger out on a baking tray. Put the pieces of ginger into the oven and close the door. This process can vary in times as the root ginger may hold on to more or less moisture. When the ginger is still bendy but not tacky to the touch, remove from the oven. Care should be taken not to let them burn. The thicker the ginger slices the longer they will need in the oven. Once cooled you can turn your candied ginger into crystallized ginger by tossing in sugar.
Stem Ginger Vs Candied Ginger
For this version do not roll your candied ginger in sugar.
The difference between candied and stem ginger is that stem ginger will not be dried. Instead once you have brought your syrup to the boil and let your ginger simmer for 10 minutes, allow it to cool and jar it up immediately. Stem ginger is more moist and crunchy, candied is chewy.
It is really hard to simply replace stem ginger in cakes and home baking due to it’s flavor and the moisture it offers.
Uses For Crystallized Or Stem Ginger
The numerous health benefits of ginger are well documented and if you were to ask if crystallized ginger was actually good for you the answer would have to be yes in moderation. To be truthful the only way to get kids to eat ginger can sometimes be when rolled in sugar, so a little bit of sugar for a lot of healthy nutrients.
Candied ginger tastes like a sweet and soft little pocket of spicy warmth. If you have thinner flakes of crystallized ginger the sugar can be a bit overpowering for those who don’t have a sweet tooth. So factor this in a decide between crystallized vs candied.
Candied, crystallized or stem ginger are perfect for baking.
- This recipe for Frosted Ginger Cake With Crystallised Ginger is perfect for a Winter time high tea. Very warming and not too rich. By mixing the chopped crystallized ginger in to the cake batter you will get an even mix, just don’t over mix it as it will not rise as you may like.
- Add roughly chopped stem ginger to marmalade recipes to give your Seville oranges a real lift.
- Rinsed and thinly chopped candied ginger will work very well in a stir fry that has a splash more soy sauce added to compensate for the added sweetness. Fiery and soft, perfect with crunchy fresh vegetables.
- Candied Ginger & Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies uses ground ginger as well as candied ginger and the tow obviously work very well together. The dark chocolate works so well with the sea salt as well. A very nice afternoon treat.
- Eaten raw crystallized ginger is used to lessen the effects of nausea and morning sickness. Having a little jar handy before setting off on a long car journey used to see me fine when I was younger.
- Apple Crumble Topping With Crystallized Ginger, now this works very well with apple’s or any other fruit crumble really. Just finely chop your stem ginger and add to your crumble mix along with some porridge oats and brown sugar. This way you will have a slightly crunchier topping and you can reduce the amount of sugar you add to your fruit.
- Orange & Candied Ginger Bread This is one of those instant family favorite recipes and these two ingredient are added to chocolate to make the most obvious flavor combination. It just works and is a real friends around the table sharing bread and stories kind of a loaf.
- Stem Ginger Ice Cream is a bit fiddly as you have to make a creme anglaise first, but well worth it and the recipe takes you through it easily. This goes perfectly with an apple crumble or rhubarb pie, anything that needs a little creaminess and heat to cut through it.
- Apple & Stem Ginger Chutney you have got to love a good chutney and this is a great recipe with a fiery kick from the ginger. You will need to make up a spice bag or sachet d’epices to make this chutney, so check out our article on how to do that here.
- Roughly chop your candied ginger and add to nuts and flaked coconut. Then pop under the grill to toast before using as a topping to warm porridge, hold back some of the ginger syrup and drizzle over. Perfect for a brunch style meal in the garden!
- Crystallized Ginger Spice Mini Muffins these are great for packed lunches and the recipe makes around 48 mini muffins. The ginger goes really well with chopped pecans and the two flavors live together well in these not too sweet muffins.
What Next & Further Reading
- How To Make Your Own Paprika making your own spice blends can be a fun activity at home.
- How To Grow Ginger From Seed you may well need plenty of ginger recipes once you start growing your own!
- Herbs That Sell Best – Making A Profit Selling Herbs Candied ginger is popular and will be something that you can make a little extra money on as well.
We hope to have inspired you to try some of these ideas and recipes. Let us know how you get on!