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rainy days and mondays

Recipe: candied ginger

You could deduce that I am a rain lover simply because I live in a place that receives 300+ days of sunshine a year, but you’d be mistaken. I do love the rain, but I have in fact, always loved the rain. I even loved the rain when I lived in Ithaca, New York (during graduate school, no less) which boasts more days of precipitation annually (161) than Seattle, Washington (150). I truly came to appreciate those rainy days after living in Southern California. Winter or “the rainy season” was far and away my favorite time of year there. Of course, in Colorado, I prefer my precipitation in frozen form. That said, the rain is a lovely, beautiful, wondrous thing in summer. I had the privilege of foraging with two of my favorite ladies – Wendy and Ellen – in the suburbs outside of Denver on a deliciously rainy, cool Monday morning.

picking goosefoot in the rain

cute bumblebees keeping dry under this teasel bloom

ground cherries (not ready)

apricot haul

I don’t go foraging for the forage. Mostly, I like learning about and geeking out on plants with my knowledgeable friend. It’s also heaps of fun slogging through muddy trails, seeing local wildlife (snakes, bunnies, etc.), admiring what can thrive in the neglected corners of suburbia, and putting my pattern-recognition skills to good use. Oh, and of course there is the precious (tom)girl-time and post-foraging lunch at a local Vietnamese restaurant!

And if that wasn’t a perfect start to a Monday, Jeremy and I capped off the evening dining in Boulder at The Kitchen, catching up with two long-time friends from graduate school. Julie and Tyler were both in Jeremy’s department – he is an astronomer and she is a planetary geologist. Julie and I were graduate student “cousins” as we shared two common faculty on our PhD committees (Julie had a minor in geology and I had a minor in planetary). I quite love these two. Anyone who claims that graduate school is the best time of your life should be regarded with deep suspicion. However, I will say of our Cornell years that we carry many special friendships from that time into the present day.

tyler and julie

jeremy’s halibut entrée

a nice finish to a great evening

That’s one of the upsides to sticking close to home this summer – getting to see both local friends and friends from out of town. Another positive? Kaweah is doing great. Aside from general aging, her medical issues have abated and you couldn’t find a happier pup. I think being home and providing her with a normal (i.e. non-travel) routine has helped tremendously. Yet another plus of staying local this summer? More kitchen experiments.

find some nice, tender, young ginger (spring is your best bet)

I don’t know when I developed my taste for ginger. I know it wasn’t until I was an adult because I avoided it as a kid. The flavor grew on me and I began to use it more and more in my cooking. During chemotherapy, ginger chews were a staple. I popped one into my mouth whenever I felt queasy. I kept a bag of them along with saltines by my bedside. Folks had said not to eat your favorite foods during chemo because you’d come to have bad associations with them after treatments ended. But you know what? I just wound up loving ginger even more. It wasn’t just the nausea, but anytime I have a cold or feel under the weather, ginger is that soothing flavor in chicken congee or ginger tea that Mom always made for me. I occasionally grab a bag of candied ginger for snacking – it’s such a pick-me-up candy. Then one day it occurred to me that this must be ridiculously easy to make. Ridiculously.

peeling ginger

slicing thin

boiled in water

I followed a recipe from David Lebovitz’s blog, but I think the slices were too thin for my liking, or rather for my climate. I like my candied ginger to be of a chewy nature. Perhaps these wind up being chewy in other kitchens, but it’s so arid here that mine dried into ginger crisps. They were still fantastic, but next time I’m going to slice big fat chunky pieces.


combine ginger, sugar, and water

bring the sugar syrup to temperature

I use a candy thermometer to measure the syrup temperature. It takes longer than one would think to reach 225°F, so having a candy thermometer keeps you rooted in reality. Not only that, but for every 500 feet above sea level you are, you will subtract a degree from the target temperature since there is less air pressure (water boils at a lower temperature). For me, that translates into 208°F as my target because (8500 ft/500 ft) * 1°F = 17°F. Math is your friend.

You can let the ginger slices sit in the syrup for an hour or up to a day. I opted for a day. Store them in their syrup or drain them and toss in sugar. It’s up to you. I wanted mine sugar-coated.

drain the ginger

don’t let that amazing ginger syrup go to waste!

toss in sugar

shake off the excess

dry on a cooling rack

Like I said, don’t throw that syrup away. I put mine in a jar and keep it in the refrigerator. We use it in cocktails and homemade sodas or juices. Don’t throw the sugar away either! It’s perfect for baking, custards (ice cream), stirring into tea, or anything you want to add a hint of ginger to. Let the candied ginger dry, but if you live in a place with really low humidity, don’t over dry them unless you like them crunchy.

keep this and use it well

So, in the future, I will definitely go for the ginger chunks, but these thin candied ginger crisps are delightful. I took the pretty ones and dipped them in tempered dark chocolate (I talk about the tempering method I use here), which made for nice gifts. The combination of smooth, good quality dark chocolate and candied ginger is a lovely little treat that satisfies a sweet craving while waking you up with that spicy zing from the ginger. Totally worth the trouble of tempering some chocolate.

spicy and mellow

Candied Ginger
[print recipe]
from David Lebovitz

1 lb. (500 g) ginger, peeled
4 cups (800 g) sugar
more sugar
4 cups (1 l) water
pinch salt

Using a good, sharp knife, slice the ginger. Slice thin if you want thin, but I think I prefer mine to be thicken and chunkier (for chewy ginger). Place the ginger in a non-reactive saucepan and cover with water. Bring this to a boil then reduce to a simmer for ten minutes. Drain. Repeat this process again. Return the ginger to the saucepan with the 4 cups of sugar, 4 cups of water, and pinch of salt. Stir over high heat to help the sugar dissolve and let it cook to a temperature of 225°F/106°C (208°F at 8500 ft. above sea level or subtract 1°F from target temperature for every 500 feet above sea level). Turn off the heat and let the ginger stand in the syrup for an hour minimum. I followed David’s suggestion and let it sit overnight. If you want to coat the slices in sugar, David advises you drain the slices while they are hot so the syrup flows off the pieces better. I think you can do both – let it sit overnight, then warm it up on the stove and drain off the syrup before tossing in sugar and shaking off the excess. Lay the slices out on a cooling rack to dry – these can be stored at room temperature for up to a few months. Don’t toss the sugar out! It’s great for other recipes that could use a flavored sugar. Also, don’t toss the syrup out because you can use that in beverages. If you don’t want to coat the ginger slices, you can store the ginger in its syrup instead for up to one year. Extra step: dip the candied ginger slices in tempered dark chocolate. Makes a gillion.

20 nibbles at “rainy days and mondays”

  1. Lynn says:

    Just so ya know — I think your first sentence is missing the word ‘not’.

    Have you ever used a spoon to peel ginger? It’s fun and fast!

  2. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    So fun! This looks delicious!

  3. Joy says:

    I had the store bought version of candied ginger. I like your version so much better.

  4. Fiona says:


    [Sorry to be freakish, but I loved graduate school. Not the best time in my life – I hope – but pretty great. I was not in the sciences, though.]

    I keep candied ginger in my cabinet at all times. Who knew it’s so easy? And the by-products are almost as appealing. Ginger syrup would be amazing whipped into an icing for cupcakes.

    As always, thank you.

  5. Angela says:

    This is exactly how I’ve done candied citrus peel but never thought to do my own ginger! You only boiled twice, how potent was the ginger after? Would you recommend a third boiling if I don’t like it as strong? Thanks for sharing!

  6. Katie | GoodLife Eats says:

    I’m going to pretend I didn’t see this because if I make it then Madeline (almost 5) will most certainly eat the entire batch herself. She loves candied ginger and things it is actual “candy.” I once caught her and a friend eating straight out of the container in her bedroom closet. Sounds even better homemade and dipped in chocolate!

  7. Healthy Living Val says:

    This is phenomenal! I always buy too much ginger and never know what to do with it. And those ginger chews are always amazing but kind of hard to come by. Love this DIY

  8. Shut Up & Cook says:

    Another fabulous and beautiful post…thank you!

  9. Ruthy says:

    Oh man, that last photo of the ginger dipped in chocolate is what did it for me. I have a couple loose thumbs of ginger in the cupboard and I think I know where it will be going…

  10. Amanda@Chewtown says:

    I always buy way too much ginger and then don’t know what to do with the rest of it! Now I know. My boyfriend loves those Chinese ginger lollies so I know he would love these. Am bookmarking this straight away!

  11. Wednesday Link List | says:

    […] Also, homemade candied ginger! Print Recipe Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a reply […]

  12. jenyu says:

    Lynn – ah, no… it’s meant to be written that way :) but thanks. i’ve used a spoon and it makes me crazy with all of the little nubbies.

    Katrina – thanks!

    Joy – :)

    Fiona – most of my friends who actually enjoyed graduate school were either in liberal arts or never finished their degrees ;) ha ha ha! xo

    Angela – it was pretty nice and spicy, but I like it that way. Maybe you could blanch a third time to temper the spice?

    Katie – wow, your little one has such sophisticated taste for a kid!! I love it! :)

    Healthy Living Val – thanks!

    Shut Up & Cook – thank you :)

    Ruthy – it’s completely different with the dark chocolate. I love it both ways!

    Amanda – :)

  13. Mrs Ergül says:

    Again, you make everything look easy peas! Have never eaten candied ginger but now you make me want to candy them!

  14. Julie Denner says:

    Thank you for sharing your candied ginger recipe. I will definitely try to do this over the weekend. I hope it tastes as good as yours.

  15. Chapa says:

    Ineeded some candied ginger for the brine to soak my turkey and I couldn’t find any in the stores, so I followed your recipe, but I never lower the heat, so my ginger stayed cooking in the syrup until it turned dark. I drained and separated the pieces. The taste is fabulous and I don’t need the extra sugar :) Thank you.

  16. Jean Eames says:

    I really loved the look of your choocolate crystallised ginger, so managed to copy the recipe into the Ricipes file on my computer. However I couldn’t copy & paste the wonderful photograph, and really wish that had been possible!

  17. SR says:


  18. Jade says:

    I made this, (and by the way, they are fantastic), but I followed the directions to a ‘T’ and after I counted them all out, I got 23 less than a “Gillion”!?! Any idea what I may have done wrong to yield less than the recipe count?

  19. pattyK says:

    I disagree on the temperature. Water boils in Denver at 203*. That means that to get to 225* it just takes longer. This is evident in baking, cooking, and roasting meats. I do a lot of canning as well and must boil the water bath canner for a longer period of time and in the pressure canner, I need to reach 15 psi rather than 10 psi for sea level.

  20. pattyK says:

    Correction: 13 psi for pressure canning…. typo.

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