Candied ginger and crystallized ginger are two different candies. One is fudge-like, firm and crumbly. The other is firm, chewy, and covered in sugar crystals. This recipe for crystalized ginger is everything crystallized ginger should be. It’s chewy, light in colour, spicy hot, sweet, and dry. Not sticky at all. When you make this recipe for candied ginger, you’ll also end up with a thick ginger syrup that’s lovely in tea, or spooned over ice cream. All you need is ginger, lemons, and sugar to get started.
Candied ginger is soft, gummy, and spicy-sweet, with the chewy texture of a gummy and the fibre of the ginger root it is made from. It’s useful for quelling a carsick child on the twisty, turny road going between the ferry depots from Langdale to Earl’s Cove. I wish I knew about it when my boys were little. It would have saved us quite a few mop-ups in the back seat. Ginger is way more effective than Gravol and the kids are a lot happier with ginger. Now that I’m an older and wiser grandma I keep a stash of candied ginger for car sick kiddos that come for a visit. We’ve saved many a back seat by liberally handing out crystallized ginger to visitors before they left for home.
But crystallized ginger is not gluten-free, so with our household wheat allergies, buying store-bought candied ginger is no longer an option. I’ve made a few candied ginger recipes trying to capture that soft, flexible, gummy texture, but until now my crystallized ginger was more like ginger fudge than that lovely yellow ginger coated in sugar crystals.
Last week when I was making marmalade I stumbled on the secret I was missing. And I want to share with you how you can make failproof crystalized ginger that is soft, chewy, and coated in sugar crystals as candied ginger should be.Print
Candied ginger that’s chewy, sweet, and gluten free.
- 1 large hand of ginger, peeled and sliced into 1/8th inch thick slices
- Juice and zest of 2 medium lemons
- 3 cups of water
- 3 cups sugar, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon of butter
- Add prepared ginger, juice and zest to a heavy bottom sauce pan. Add 3 cups of water. Simmer ginger in the water for 1 hour, until soft. Top up with additional water to make 2 1/2 cups of liquid in total. Stir in 2 1/2 cups of sugar. Stir until all sugar is dissolved.
- Simmer over medium heat until mixture comes to a rapid boil. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon of butter to reduce foaming. Stir occasionally to keep ginger from sticking to the bottom of the pot. When mixture reaches 220 degrees F. on a candy thermometer remove from heat.
- Prepare a cooling rack, by placing it on a baking sheet to catch drips. Strain out ginger pieces and place in a single layer on the cooling rack. Strain the remaining ginger syrup into a sanitized mason pint jar (500 ml). Save the ginger syrup for another use.
- Put 1/2 cup of sugar into a bowl. Dredge each piece of ginger through the sugar, coating both sides. Return to cooling rack to cool fully. Save the extra ginger sugar for another use.
Keywords: Crystalized ginger, candied ginger
The secret ingredient is lemons. Lemons contain the pectin needed to turn the ginger pieces into a sweet, chewy delight, instead of crystalized fudge. The zest and juice of a few lemons add the acid and pectin necessary to keep the ginger from discolouring and to keep the pieces soft and pliable.
It’s very important to cook the ginger pieces in syrup to 220 degrees on a candy thermometer. This is the “gel” stage and allows the pectin to bloom. Most ginger candy recipes tell you to cook the ginger to the softball stage and then beat it to get the crystals. Don’t do that. That’s how fudge is formed. It will make the ginger pieces hard and crumbly. Instead, just add the lemons and cook the ginger syrup and ginger pieces to the gel stage.
The ginger syrup you’ll have leftover is thick like honey and absolutely delicious. Save it for ginger cough syrup or ginger ice cream topping.