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What are the Benefits of Ginger?

Updated on June 19, 2013

Ready to Eat and Enjoy!

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Crystallized Ginger

3 stars from 2 ratings of Ginger Candy

Ginger for Health and Taste

Ginger (Zingiber officinate) is a wonderful food for your health. The underground stem of the ginger is the part we will be working with and talking about.

The underground stem of ginger (Zingiber officinate) is well known in Chinese medicine to be helpful for arthritis, bursitis, motion sickness, and nausea sufferers. Ginger also helps relieve chest congestion and is a natural anti-inflammatory agent.

Chinese medicine considers ginger anti-flu and anti-cancer. This study was lead by Dr. Hiroshi Ochiai in Japan.

Dr. Andrew Weil advises taking one to two pieces of crystallized ginger for nausea and prevention of motion sickness. Dr. Weil also recommends placing crystallized ginger in your tea for a soothing drink. I recommend it because it will make your tea taste wonderful!

There are various folk medicine uses for ginger that include an Amish tonic that proposes to help with arthritis, high cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, digestion, sinus infection, and allergies. If you want to have such a tonic, search on the Internet for Yoder’s ginger tonic.

Ginger is on the FDA’s list of generally safe list. As with all things, take ginger in moderation. Ginger if taken in large quantities can annoy your stomach, cause gas, and bloating.

Do take the candy we are about to make in moderation. It is steeped in simple sugar syrup!

Ginger

Two hands of ginger
Two hands of ginger | Source

Selecting and Storing Ginger

The whole root of ginger is found in the vegetable and fruit area of your grocery store. It is called a “hand of ginger” and by looking at it you can see why. Look for firm ginger. Do not buy soft or yellow or blackish ginger. It is easier to buy a hand and then break it off at home for use. When you break off a piece from the hand of ginger it should crisply snap right off.

Ginger can be stored in the freezer section of your refrigerator where it will last for several months. Eventually the ginger will loose its taste and potency even in the freezer. Be sure to label the container or plastic bag that you store the ginger in with the date you first froze it.

When a recipe calls for ginger, just pull out the frozen ginger; peel a bit and micro plane off the amount that you need for a recipe. Return the ginger to the freezer for the next use. There is no need to thaw the ginger to micro plane it.

Ginger is not expensive.

Crystallized Ginger

We love the taste of crystallized ginger. It is generally expensive and hard to find. By hard to find I mean hard to find quality crystallized ginger. The best quality for the price that we have found is at Trader Joes. This lead us to wonder if I could make our own. I have made other candies from fruits and roots. So, it made sense for me to make our own crystallized ginger.

The first thing I had to learn was how long to cook the sliced ginger in order to make it tender enough to eat but not turn into ginger jam! The 40 minutes was just fine. By the way, tasting it at this point will certainly bring tears to your eyes! In fact the whole kitchen was a bit much for my husband during the cooking. The strong ginger smell made his eyes water!

Next was to make simple syrup to plunge the cooked ginger into. I used ½ cup of the ginger water and 2 cups of cane sugar. Once this boiled and the sugar melted, I added back the drained ginger. I then dried the ginger. It was sticky and hot. I used tongs to spread it on the drying rack.

After it dried I packed it in a sealed container with MORE sugar. Even though it should now be beyond spoiling, I stored it in the back of the fridge for two weeks. It is yummy. It is especially good when put into hot tea.

This is much more potent than the crystallized ginger you buy at the store. We like it better. However, the cooking and drying process does take a long time!

Ingredients

Ingredients
Ingredients | Source

Ingredients

  • two hands ginger root, see picture
  • 4 C. sugar
  • 2 T. vanilla
  • 4 cups filtered water

Instructions

  1. Peel the ginger, wash the ginger, and slice it into 1/8 to ¼ pieces
  2. Boil the ginger in the 4 cups of water for approximately 40 minutes
  3. Drain the ginger. Retain all the liquid.
  4. Use ½ cup of the water and 2 C sugar. Cook until the sugar mixture boils. Keep a tight watch on this! Reduce heat and add the cooked ginger back. Bring back to a boil and then reduce to low.
  5. Cook the ginger until it is dry This took 4 hours.
  6. Spread on a rack. Be sure to use was paper on the pan! I also sprayed the rack with cooking spray to make it easier to remove the dried ginger.
  7. Air dry the ginger until they are dry chips This took 3 days and I live at 12% humidity. So, do plan for a place to put them. OR slow dry them in the oven with only the pilot light on OR low low heat
  8. Pack in air tight sterilized jars.
  9. Place in the back of the fridge for two weeks. (We cheated and had some during those two weeks, esp. in our hot teas!)
  10. Enjoy as candy or put in your tea

Peeleed

Peeled and ready to slice
Peeled and ready to slice | Source

Sliced

Sliced
Sliced | Source

Ginger to a boil then simmer

Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer  Simmer 40 minutes
Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer Simmer 40 minutes | Source

Adding vanilla

Adding vanilla
Adding vanilla | Source

Drain ginger

Drain once cooked
Drain once cooked | Source

Sugar syrup for ginger

Melting sugar
Melting sugar | Source

Sugar melted

Sugar has melted
Sugar has melted | Source

Ginger in melted sugar

Bring to a boil then simmer on low
Bring to a boil then simmer on low | Source

Water reduced

Water reduced ginger that is ready to dry
Water reduced ginger that is ready to dry | Source

Drying ginger

Drying on rack
Drying on rack | Source

DIY or Buy It?

Will you try and make this OR just buy it....this is too long a process for me!

See results

Comments

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    • savingkathy profile image

      Kathy Sima 

      5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Your crystallized ginger looks amazing! Thanks for providing such detailed instructions - the photos are very helpful. I may have to give this a try!

    • NMLady profile imageAUTHOR

      NMLady 

      5 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

      Hi chefmc, Try ginger in parsnips or carrots. This ginger is good in tea! Ginger is a big player in Chinese foods. It is also good for baking cakes and cookies. Thanks for reading and commenting and good luck in using ginger.

    • chefmancave profile image

      Robert Loescher 

      5 years ago from Michigan

      NMLady...I have been fascinated by ginger for a several months but still haven't put into any of my recipes yet. What are some good flavor combinations with ginger? Ginger and asparagus? Ginger and chili powder? Ginger and garlic?

      You get the idea. I am looking for suggestions of what type of recipes would be a "good fit" for adding ginger to. Thanks.

    • profile image

      sdzulu 

      5 years ago

      Nice treat. Something different and delicious.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      5 years ago from Arizona

      I love ginger and usually buy it at Trader Joes. We also use fresh ginger a lot. I like this recipe and going to bookmark and try. I know there are many health benefits ...Voting up and pinning.

    • NMLady profile imageAUTHOR

      NMLady 

      5 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

      oh! well now i know.

    • Attikos profile image

      Attikos 

      5 years ago from East Cackalacky

      NMLady, Cackalacky is a biting alias for North Carolina. Some consider it a mild slur, like calling the Pacific states the Left Coast, but I figure that since I live here I can get away with it.

    • NMLady profile imageAUTHOR

      NMLady 

      5 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

      Do try it! That is the same reason that I made it.

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      5 years ago from Germany

      Wow! I would like to try this. I´m fond of eating crystalized ginger but sometimes they are so expensive to buy. I´m glad you make this very informative hub. Thanks for sharing.

    • NMLady profile imageAUTHOR

      NMLady 

      5 years ago from New Mexico & Arizona

      Well, that sounds great! I like that I learn so much from this community! (where in the H is East Cacklacky.......)

    • Attikos profile image

      Attikos 

      5 years ago from East Cackalacky

      Regarding storage: I put peeled, cubed ginger into a Mason jar, then top it off with vodka. It keeps in the refrigerator practically forever, and it tastes perfectly fresh when you use it.

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