FRONT BURNER: Easy-to-prepare ginger stalk in syrup
While reading a British baking book, I recently came across an ingredient I didn’t know about: stem ginger in syrup.
A quick internet search informed me that strain ginger in syrup is basically chunks of fresh ginger that has been peeled and preserved in syrup. The internet also informed me that preserved ginger in syrup is ridiculously simple, but takes a bit of time to prepare. Considering a jar costs between $6 and $22 plus online shipping, it makes financial sense to make your own, if you have the time. I paid about $2.50 for a nearly half pound knob of fresh organic ginger root, and a 4 pound bag of store brand sugar is about $2 at most grocery stores around the world. ‘Arkansas.
Next week’s column will feature one of the recipes I made with this ginger.
You will need to plan ahead to do this, as the ginger needs to chill in the freezer for at least two hours. I left mine lying around all night.
And you will need a kitchen scale for this recipe. If you don’t have a kitchen scale, one solution is to weigh the ginger using the scale from the produce section of the grocery store. If you buy 7 ounces of ginger, you can use the amounts of sugar and water that I mention in the instructions.
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Ginger stalk in syrup
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 only remove the skin, leaving the flesh intact – scrape the skin off the ginger and cut off the dried ends where the plant has been broken into pieces. You can use a kitchen towel to insulate your hand from the frozen ginger.
Cut the peeled ginger into ½ inch thick pieces. If necessary, use a paring knife to remove the remaining skin from the recesses.
Place the ginger in a medium saucepan and add enough cold water to cover 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 to cover or almost cover ginger. When the ginger is soft enough to be easily pierced with the tip of a knife, it is ready. Drain, reserving the cooking water.
Using the cooking water, make a simple syrup of equal parts sugar and water. For example, my ginger before cutting and peeling weighed 7 ounces/200 grams, so I needed 7 ounces/200 grams of sugar, or about 1 cup. To make the simple syrup, I used 1 cup cooking water and 1 cup sugar. Depending on how much ginger you are storing, you may need to add a little fresh water to your cooking liquid.
In the now empty saucepan, mix 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 pan and simmer gently for another 5 minutes.
Transfer ginger and syrup to a clean jar. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 1 year.