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Holiday Craft: Candied Ginger

Ginger is a very polarizing root.  Having grown up with it in almost every dish (ginger is to Asians as garlic is to Italians), I like a pronounced ginger flavor in both cooking and baking.  But my husband and probably most other people from his western European family?  Blechhh.  I never really understood why they all love hot peppers so much but couldn’t stand the spicy bite of ginger root.

Enter young, or baby, ginger.  Young ginger is picked in infancy and doesn’t contain the spicy, stringy flesh of supermarket ginger.  It is very crisp and pale-colored, with a ginger flavor that is sweet and somewhat reminiscent of fresh water chesnuts.  I had only seen it in Asian supermarkets until I came across some from Gravity Hill Farm, purveyor of some of the most beautiful organic produce I’ve ever seen.  You can find them at the Stockton Market.  I’m not sure why you can’t find more local farmers making it, as I recently read that it is very easy to grow.  Guess it’s all those western European ginger-haters.

I haven’t yet had a chance to spring this new find on my in-laws, but the fact that Hubby actually used the word “yum” and proceeded to eat whole slices roasted with fish, I knew it would make a future appearance.

Out of fear I wouldn’t see it again, I loaded up and then promptly got overwhelmed by a series of household appliance breakdowns and discouraging service calls, so dinner was to be had elsewhere for awhile.  The ginger got a little old (and oddly enough got much spicier) so I decided to candy it, inspired by my sister’s own project just a couple of weeks prior and the fact that David Lebovitz posted a simple recipe on Facebook (love him).  A couple of days later and the spice has already died down – but they still retain that delicious gingery flavor to appear in future pies, cakes, and pancakes.  I also love things that stay shelf stable – great gift idea!

I cut much smaller slices so I dried mine on parchment paper instead, with outstanding results: http://www.davidlebovitz.com/2008/12/candied-ginger/

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