Wednesday, May 15, 2013

How to De-Sugar Crystallized Ginger

Crystallized ginger or candied ginger is widely known for it's healing properties for minor stomach issues.  The process to make crystallized ginger is a multiple step process starting with sugar and ending with more sugar. Most store bought crystallized ginger is always laced with a lot of that extra sugar and instead of tasting the ginger, you get a mouthful of sugar, I have never liked that. I was always blowing off the sugar or wiping off the sugar with the bag it was stored in - that's why last year, I started making my own.

Recently, I started buying it again because making it is a multi-step process and I'm lazy. I decided to try and figure out a way to remove that excess sugar coating without ruining the integrity of the ginger. I tried to boil it and it just got too gummy, I don't know if I boiled it too long, but I didn't like it. I then tried to rinse it under running water, that removed some, but there was still quite a bit of sugar still adhered to it. The next thing I tried was to put the ginger in a jar, add some cold tap water and shake the jar, that didn't do it. Then I thought, what if the water was heated? So I microwaved some water for about 40 seconds and did some jar shaking again and it worked. Now the ginger was "wet", not very palatable, so I Goggled how to dry candied fruit and came up with a great way to get the ginger to how I like it and I want to share this with you.

Along with your ginger, you will need:
a jar with a lid (a mason would be great, then you wouldn't need a glass cup)
a small broiler pan from your toaster oven or a cooling rack set in a cookie sheet
a colander
cooking spray
(optional) a glass measuring cup or something to heat water in the microwave
preheated oven to its lowest setting

Put some water in your mason jar or measuring cup and heat up for about 40 seconds. Place a small handful of ginger in the jar and if using a measuring cup, pour in the heated water - you want the water level to be just below the ginger.

Place the cap on the jar and over the sink, shake up and down vigorously for a couple of seconds - you want to agitate the ginger against each other to remove the sugar.

Pour out the ginger in your colander and repeat the previous steps until all your ginger has been processed. Shake your colander to remove excess water. Dry out the jar.

Spray your broiling pan with cooking spray then spread the ginger in a single layer (my broiling pan has a lip on the bottom, so I turn it upside down, the lip will prevent the ginger from falling off). Place pan in your oven and time for about an hour.

When timer goes off, remove pan from your oven and turn over the ginger (I just use my fingers, you can use tongs or chopsticks) - the underside is still wet. Let it go for another 2-3 hours, set your timer! After 2 hours, check to see how your ginger feels - touch it should be dry with no sugar on it. If it still feels wet, put it back in the oven for another hour or so. When your ginger feels dry, take it out of the oven and cool.

Store the finished ginger in your jar. You could probably store this in your cupboard, but I keep mine in the frig - tastes good when it's cold. I don't know how long it will keep, I seem to buy just enough for the week and I always eat it before the week is over! I took this pic a day after I started writing this and you can see I ate quite a few. My crystallized ginger is very similar to Trader Joe's Uncrystallized Candied Ginger.

So, removing all that excess sugar from store bought crystallized ginger is that easy. Yeah it's a multi-step process, but at least I'm not eating all that extra sugar that my body doesn't need. Give this a try and let me know how you like it or if you do anything different.

Happy Tummy!!

09/25/13 Update: I ensure the ginger is as dry as possible and I now bake each side for approximately 45 minutes each. 

Comments or questions are always welcomed. I would love to hear what you think of this post or any of my other posts. Thanks!


Wendy Edelson said...

I have been trying to get all that sugar off, too.
What temp do you set your oven to?
thanks, Wendy

Elizabeth said...

Your article addressed exactly what I was wanting to know My question is: when the ginger is originally "crystallized ", does some sugar from that process get inside the ginger somehow, so that even if I wash off the sugar on the outside, I'm still getting sugar in the ginger ?What is the carb count of an ounce of ginger, both with sugar on the outside and after it's washed? thank you

Faith said...

Hi Elizabeth, the process for crystallizing ginger is to boil the ginger in water and sugar to get the sugar to stick to the ginger. Tasting the ginger after it's been "washed", it's still sweet, so I'm sure the sugar gets absorbed into the ginger, but how much, I don't know. I also do not know how one could measure how much sugar is on the ginger before and after it's been washed. I do know that this works and you get a lot less sugar in your system. Sorry I can't answer your questions.


Faith said...

Hi Wendy, I am so sorry for the delay in my answer. My temp is set for around 200 degrees - it should be low to dry out your ginger. I believe this could be done in a dehydrator, but I am not sure about how long.