DIY Ginger Syrup and Candied Ginger

I love ginger.  It’s one of my all-time favorite ingredients.  Especially the fresh root, although dried ginger will do.  The spicy, sweet rhizome lends flavor and zing to almost any dish, and it is highly versatile in the kitchen.  I often add it to smoothies or herbal tea blends, and find it to be uplifting and invigorating…and definitely warming!

As a bonus, ginger also has a number of health benefits.  It’s a well-know remedy for nausea of all sorts, including motion sickness and morning sickness.  Ginger helps stimulate appetite and aids in digestion.  It is also anti-inflammatory and used for pain relief, particularly arthritis and other joint pain.  Many women use ginger tea to help relieve menstrual cramps.  Ginger is an effective decongestant that also helps relieve sore throat pain–very useful for cold or flu season!

This ginger syrup is a slightly healthier version of the standard recipe.  I opted to use honey for the additional health benefits (anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, sore throat soothing), but you can also use sugar.  If you’d rather substitute sugar, simply add it at the beginning so that as it simmers, you will develop a nice, thick syrup.  Some people recommend doubling the honey (or sugar) to increase shelf life, but I just refrigerate mine.  I use it up pretty quickly 🙂

Ginger Syrup

1 cup fresh ginger (peeled and thinly sliced)

2 cups water

1 cup raw honey

Add water and ginger to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.  Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 45 minutes to an hour, until the mixture has reduced by half.  Strain and reserve ginger.  Wait until the mixture has cooled to room temperature before adding the honey, otherwise the heat will destroy many of its beneficial enzymes.  Store in a glass jar and keep refrigerated. 

Your “syrup” is really just a ginger decoction, so it will be watery.  The honey will make it thick enough to coat a spoon, but if you want it thicker, you will have to use sugar instead.  Or add more honey.

A tablespoon or two taken straight will definitely help clear stuffy nasal passages.  This stuff is pretty potent, so be careful if you’re not too fond of spicy things!

There are an unlimited number of ways to use this syrup.  My current favorite is a tablespoon added to a cup of elderberry tea, it’s delicious and full of nature’s best medicines.  I’ve also been adding it to water, just enough for a burst of flavor, and it’s a nice alternative to lemon water or ACV water (also a nice addition to either lol).  You can add it to seltzer for homemade ginger ale.  Be creative!

Candied Ginger

Reserved ginger from syrup

Granulated sugar (approx. 1 cup)

After straining syrup, spread slices on a drying rack or sheet pan lined with parchment paper.  Lightly dust with granulated sugar.  Supposedly, the slices will dry on their own, but I’m impatient, so I put them in the oven at 200 degrees for about 20 minutes and then shut the oven off and wait another 30 minutes before removing them.  Allow to cool, then then toss with sugar to coat each piece.  Keep in an airtight container.

I’m obviously not big on sugar, but this recipe is an easy way to recycle the ginger from the syrup.  Those who make their syrup with sugar will undoubtedly have a sweeter, more candy-like product, but ginger is still very spicy and this candy has a definite kick.  Candied ginger can be used medicinally much like other forms, it’s also convenient and portable, so I’ll live with the extra sugar.

Since it’s technically candy, most people probably eat this on its own.  It’s also delicious in mixed into oatmeal (with cinnamon!).  You can add it to yogurt, pancakes, or trail mix.  I haven’t tried it, but I’m betting it would be great in muffins or cookies.  I’ll have to experiment…I’d love to hear your ideas, so feel free to share!

 

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