I am head over heals in love with one of my most recent kitchen concoctions: Lavender, Ginger and Mint Iced Tea. After my morning pot of coffee has been drained, I pour the first of many glasses of this delightfully refreshing tea and continue drinking it all day long.
I admit it. I am an addict.
And as a full blown, can’t-help-myself addict with but one, smallish newly-added-this-year lemon balm plant, I promptly dashed out to the garden center to buy 3 more of the necessary plants for the tea. There were no problems in the mint department, however. I planted chocolate mint a couple years ago and it’s growing like gangbusters. And, having recently acquired 1/2 pound of dried culinary lavender buds from Amazon, I was in business there too.
But there were big problems in the ginger syrup department. I was down to my last little bit and the Mason jar housing the luscious liquid was cracked! Eek! I had a full blown ginger syrup emergency on my hands!
Fortunately, I was prepared for just such an emergency. I had just a bit of raw ginger left in the freezer and, though I’ve never tried making the candy and syrup with anything other than fresh, I decided I’d give it a try. Once I cleaned up the sticky mess in the fridge I located my usual recipe for candied ginger and ginger syrup and got busy.
I peeled the ginger and was somewhat concerned with the uglyish color of the root. I figured the worst case scenario would be that I would have to toss the candied ginger pieces, but that the syrup would probably be okay so I went forward.
I added the ginger pieces and some water to a pot and put them on the stove to boil.
I was happy to see my ginger slices lose their ugly grayish hue shortly after bringing them to a boil. Maybe the candy would be fine after all!
I boiled, simmered and drained the slices twice and then added equal parts sugar and water to the pot along with a pinch of salt. Since I didn’t have the full pound of ginger on hand that the recipe called for, I only used a cup of each of sugar and water for this batch. I turned up the heat and, using a candy thermometer I cooked it until it reached 225F.
I poured the contents of the pot into a colander lined saucepan to separate the candy from the syrup. It was evening when I started the project so I allowed it to drain until morning.
Bright and early the next morning with a steaming cup of coffee to get me going, I dumped the candied slices in a bowl…
and then tossed them with some sugar. Once they were evenly coated with sugar I decided to put them into the dehydrator. They were still too sticky to be stored away and I figured the dehydrator would be more efficient than air drying them.
The syrup went into a new, uncracked Mason jar and then into the fridge.
Just enough syrup to feed my addiction for a little while longer. I’ve already been to the grocery and stocked up on lots more ginger root. Next time I’ll make a much bigger batch, but for now all is well. I am well supplied with syrup and I have some candied ginger to munch on during my long drive to the beach next month.
Adapted from Ready For Dessert (Ten Speed)
You don’t need a candy thermometer to make this. Simply keep an eye on the pot and when the liquid is the consistency of thin honey, it’s done and ready to go.
1 pound (500g) fresh ginger, peeled
4 cups (800g) sugar, plus additional sugar for coating the ginger slices, if desired
4 cups (1l) water
pinch of salt
1. Slice the ginger as thinly as possible. It can’t be too thin, so use a sharp knife.
2. Put the ginger slices in a non-reactive pot, add enough water to cover the ginger, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let ginger simmer for ten minutes. Drain, and repeat, simmering the ginger slices one more time.
3. Mix the sugar and 4 cups (1l) water in the pot, along with a pinch of salt and the ginger slices, and cook until the temperature reaches 225F (106C.)
4. Remove from heat and let stand for at least an hour, although I often let it sit overnight. Or if you want to coat the slices with sugar, drain very well while the ginger is hot, so the syrup will drain away better.
5. Store ginger slices in its syrup, or toss the drained slices in granulated sugar. Shake off excess sugar, and spread the ginger slices on a cooling rack overnight, until they’re somewhat dry. The sugar can be reused in a batter or ice cream base, or for another purpose.
Storage: The ginger, packed in its syrup, can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one year. If you’re concerned with it crystallizing, add a tablespoon or two of corn syrup or glucose to the sugar syrup at the beginning of step #3. If tossed in sugar, the pieces can be stored at room temperature for a few months.