If you’ve never had the experience of tasting candied ginger then you are in for a real treat. It is both cool and hot at the same time -- cool initially, and then the spicy heat kicks in. The flavor is exotically intense, and it is quite an eye-opener if you happen to be having a rather sluggish day.
Ginger has many health benefits. Widely known to be effective against nausea (I can personally attest to this), it is also said to prevent colds, flu, heartburn, and migraine, and recent studies show that it not only slows the growth of colon cancer, but may be a powerful weapon in the treatment of ovarian cancer, at least according to a study conducted at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, where it was found that ginger powder induces cell death in all ovarian cancer cells to which it was applied!
So, stock up on FRESH, juicy ginger (I recommend Melissa's ginger), slice it into coins and boil them for a delicious tea, and then candy a bunch to munch on when you want a zingy sweet snack that is actually quite good for you.
The process isn't all that different from candying orange and lemon peel. Here it is, step-by-step, with a nod to Alton Brown:
Choose a fresh, good quality ginger.
Peel the ginger root.
Slice into 1/8 to 1/4-inch thick slices using a mandoline.
Place into a 4-quart saucepan with water (1 pound of ginger to 5 cups of water), and set over medium-high heat. Cover and cook for 35 minutes or until the ginger is tender.
Transfer the ginger to a colander to drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Weigh the ginger and measure out an equal amount of sugar.
Return the ginger and 1/4 cup water to the pan and add the sugar. Set over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to medium/low and cook, stirring frequently, until the sugar syrup looks dry, has almost evaporated, and begins to re-crystallize, approximately 17-20 minutes.
Transfer the ginger immediately to a wire cooling rack that has been sprayed with Pam and underlined with parchment or waxed paper. Spread out and separate the pieces as well as you can and cool completely.
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