Stem ginger refers to chunks of ginger candied and stored in simple syrup. The syrup is a standard reduction of sugar and water commonly used in baking and pastry. Stem ginger, as it's known in the United Kingdom, has several regional names, such as preserved ginger and canton ginger, in the United States and Canada respectively. Stem ginger is commonly added to the rich batters of spiced cakes, cookies and crumbles. It also can be used in seasoned butter, mincemeat and Schezuan-style dishes.
To make your own stem ginger, you'll need the following ingredients and these seven easy steps.
- 1/2 pound ginger root
- 2 cups white granulated sugar
- Candy thermometer
- Airtight food-storage container
Peel the ginger root and cut it into cubes. Make sure the cubes are roughly the same size. Place the ginger in a saucepan.
Cover the ginger with cold water and bring it to a boil.
Reduce the heat to a simmer, cook the ginger for 10 minutes and drain the water. Cover the ginger again in cold water, return to a simmer and cook for another 10 minutes.
Mix 2 cups of warm water and 2 cups of white granulated sugar and pour in a saucepan. Attach a candy thermometer to the pan and place it over medium-high heat. Place the ginger in the saucepan.
Cook the ginger in the simple syrup until the candy thermometer reads 225 degrees, approximately 15 minutes.
Remove the pan from the heat and place it on a wire rack, uncovered, to cool. Allow the ginger to reach room temperature, about an hour.
Pour the ginger and the syrup in an airtight food-storage container. Store the ginger in its syrup for up to three months in the refrigerator for best results.
A.J. Andrews' work has appeared in Food and Wine, Fricote and "BBC Good Food." He lives in Europe where he bakes with wild yeast, milks goats for cheese and prepares for the Court of Master Sommeliers level II exam. Andrews received formal training at Le Cordon Bleu.