Here at the Porter house, we love ginger. We usually have some fresh ginger root in the house, and go through it pretty fast – sometimes when cooking Indian cuisine, sometimes Asian… but a LOT of the time, we use it for making ginger syrup.
Ginger syrup is great for flavoring and sweetening tea, and also in cocktail making. It’s easy and simple to do, and lasts a long time when refrigerated.
Recently, we’ve taken to being more efficient with the ginger we use for making ginger simple syrup. Rather than throwing away the “spent” ginger, we now use all of it, turning out 3 separate ginger products: ginger syrup, candied ginger, and ginger sugar. Simple ingredients – just fresh ginger, sugar, and water to produce everything! Let me show you how…
First, we start with the candied ginger…
Ginger Root – We usually use about 1 1/5 lbs
Use a vegetable peeler to peel all of the skin (rind?) off of the ginger, carefully slice it all into uniformly thin pieces. (I like to aim for between 1/8″ and 1/4″ thick). Place in a large pot with the water, cover, and cook for about 45-55 minutes on medium heat. The ginger should be tender.
Strain off the ginger, reserving ALL of the cooking water (This is what you’ll use for the ginger syrup!). Add your cooked ginger back to the pan, along with the sugar and about 1/4 cup of cooking water per lb of ginger. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring almost constantly. Once mixture comes to a boil, turn the heat down slightly and continue to cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often.
While you’re waiting, set up a baking rack (we use one with a small grid) over some parchment or wax paper, and spray it with pan spray.
Around the 15-17 minute mark, the water will evaporate and the whole thing will crystallize and go dry – once it starts happening, things go quickly! As soon as it’s all dry, dump it all out over your baking rack, spreading and separating the pieces as needed. Allow to cool completely at room temperature.
(Instructions continue under the ginger sugar section!)
Next, we do the ginger syrup…
Ginger Simple Syrup
Ginger cooking water – however much you have left
Measure the remaining cooking water, and measure out an equal amount of sugar. For every cup of ginger water, you’ll use a cup of sugar, etc.
Add measured ginger water and sugar to an appropriately sized pot. Cook over medium heat, stirring until water dissolves. Turn the heat up a little, and bring it JUST to a boil.
Once syrup starts to boil, remove from heat, strain through a fine wire mesh into a clean bowl/pot, and let it cool completely.
Transfer to an appropriate container – we’ll usually use clean wine bottles with “tasting” corks, but mason jars work well too. Refrigerate for up to 1 month.
Finally, the ginger sugar…
This isn’t so much a recipe, as a minor clean up procedure!
Go back to your candied ginger, after it’s completely cool. Transfer the pieces to an airtight container, gently knocking them against each other (I’ll roll them in my hands) to dislodge any loose, excess sugar. Cover tightly, store at room temperature.
You’ll be left with a fair amount of excess sugar, mostly clumpy. Run all of that through a food processor until it’s as fine as you’d like it – this will depend on your desired uses for it. Transfer to an airtight container, store at room temperature.
The candied ginger should last 2-3 weeks when stored properly, IF it stays around that long. It’s great for snacking, baking with, topping desserts with (sliced up!) and even making ice cream out of!
The ginger sugar last much longer, maybe 4-6 months? I don’t know, it’s usually gone before it goes bad. Use it to add a bit of extra flavor to your baking, to coffee or tea, or to rim your cocktail glasses!