Fresh ginger root can be prepared for long-term storage by drying and grinding it, but dried ginger loses much of the flavor and subtlety of the fresh root. An alternate method is to cook the ginger in a heavy sugar syrup, then coat it in granulated sugar to prevent the pieces from sticking together. Once dry, crystallized ginger can be stored for years in airtight packaging. The heavy sugar coating is unpleasant to some people, so in recent years various vendors have begun offering uncrystallized candied ginger, without the sugar coating. Alternatively, the coating can be removed at home.
Things You'll Need
Rinse the pieces of ginger under warm, running water, rubbing them between your thumb and forefinger. Drain well in a fine-mesh strainer, then pat dry with sheets of paper towel.
Place the crystallized ginger in a heatproof bowl, if you wish to reduce overall sugar content further. Cover with boiling water to a depth of 2 inches.
Soak the ginger for one hour, swirling or stirring occasionally to circulate the water. Drain into a fine-mesh strainer. The water will be sweet and taste of ginger, and can be retained for use in other recipes.
Squeeze several pieces of the ginger between a thumb and forefinger. If they feel sticky and syrupy to the touch, repeat the soaking process one more time.
Rinse the drained ginger well under cold water, then spread on paper towel to dry. Use in cooking or baking, in place of crystallized or fresh ginger.
Large rounds of crystallized ginger will soak better if cut into smaller pieces. Use oil or cooking spray to coat your knife or kitchen shears, which will prevent sticking and make it easier to cut the ginger.
The soaked ginger should be used within one week, because soaking or washing away the extra sugar makes the ginger perishable again.