Spicy and sweet, crystallized ginger can add a wonderful zing to cookies, cakes, ice cream, and cranberry sauce. We also like it finely chopped and sprinkled over savory dishes like roasted acorn squash and pumpkin soup. Chewing on the ginger treat can even help soothe an upset stomach. Although a jar of it can be outrageously expensive at the store, crystallized (or candied) ginger is quite simple to make at home.
Use the freshest, most tender and firm (not spongy) ginger root you can find. You chop it any way you like; 1/8-inch thick coins and strips work well. The leftover cooking syrup can be stirred into drinks and drizzled over pancakes and ice cream (you may want to simmer it longer to thicken it).
1 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus extra sugar for coating
1 cup peeled and sliced ginger
Combine water and 1 1/2 cups sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
Add ginger, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, transfer ginger to a wire rack (set over a pan or dish so your counter doesn't get sticky).
Let stand until dry, and then roll slices in additional sugar.
Store in an airtight container for up to three months.
Video: Ginger from Spices of Life
Recipe: D.I.Y. Candied Lemon Peel
(Image: Flickr member wishiwerebaking licensed under Creative Commons)