Crystallised ginger is one of my favourite baking ingredients, so when I saw a post on Whisky Drinkin’ Chimney Sweep about how to make my own I was really excited. It had never even occurred to me that I could make my own, what a dunce I am. I followed Jillian’s instructions and they didn’t let me down so much as a fraction of an ounce.
First you reduce an enormous bit of root ginger to little cubes. Cube-ish, at least.
Then you bring the ginger to the boil, then drain and repeat. After this, you boil again with a measured amount of water and sugar – I used golden caster sugar. Once you’ve done this, the ginger is shiny, sweet and syrupy.
Then, you roll the ginger in more sugar (the same kind, I think it’s important to use granulated and not caster). Spread it on a baking sheet and bake at a low heat for an hour, or a little longer, until it feels dried and not sticky.
Turn the oven off, stir through the ginger to turn any slightly syrupy bits upwards to let them dry, and leave on the baking sheet, in the oven, to finish drying overnight.
I used this ginger in my Herman the German Friendship Cake, and one of my colleagues liked it so much that she picked lots of it out of slices of the cake that WERE NOT HERS. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE. Anyway I took it as a great compliment. The ginger is fiery, sweet, satisfyingly chewy and basically like a ginger fruit pastille. It is better than any shop bought crystallised ginger, and it’s cheaper, too. A great mini-project to undertake of an afternoon.
I also added the recipe book that the recipe comes from to my wish list. I love the idea of preserving my own food but quite often it’s hard to do on the scale I want. My kitchen is pretty small and I don’t have any specialist equipment, a lot of storage space or a large fridge. The book is called The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving, and it looks like a nice introduction to preserving reasonable-sized portions of jam, chutney, fruit, vegetables and more. I don’t need gallons of jam. I won’t *eat* gallons of jam, at least not without becoming a bit ill and not being able to look jam in the face for a long time afterwards. Small batches for my own fridge and my friends and family’s cupboards sounds good to me!