We have been making our own lacto fermented soda here for a little while now and one thing I have noticed is that we have a lot of ginger bits that seem to be perfectly good yet getting thrown away. We make our starter here using ginger but after a few batches of soda, the ginger " feeder bits" need to be strained. I had been throwing them away but after tasting a bite of a piece realized that the ginger was not only still crunchy but had a lot of flavor in it yet. The only apparent difference to me was a slightly alcohol flavor to the pieces of ginger.
As I fished through the fridge for my fresh ginger root to refresh my starter culture I had to move a jar of mango and ginger marmalade a friend has sent me from Australia. It was then that it hit me what I needed to do with the ginger, crystallize it. There was absolutely no reason why I couldn't take the strained bit and make our very own crystallized ginger at a fraction of the cost of what it is to buy it, know what was in it, be recycling in the process and making another of our own natural healing agents in the process.
Ginger is a wonderful herb for many different ailments. Some of gingers' therapeutic actions are anti-nausea, stimulant, circulatory stimulant, vasodilator (opens up blood vessels to improve blood flow), anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, rubefacient (warms tissue externally) and diaphoretic (stimulates perspiration to increase elimination through the skin and can help reduce fevers). It can also help to lower cholesterol levels and reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. It can assist to lower blood pressure & helps stop coughing. For many of these therapies ginger is drank in a tea form or by eating crystallized ginger pieces. Instead of using ginger for our teas, I instead use the ginger pieces as a sweetener and simply throw a few pieces into whatever flavor tea I am drinking as it steeps. The ginger pieces can also be used in various cooking dishes as well as desserts and other confections. It goes very well in many marmalades and is a wonderful accompaniment in some chutneys and served with meat.
Making your own crystallized ginger is very easy. Cube or slice your fresh ginger root (Already done if you are being cheap like me and recycling it). Place ginger in sauce pan, cover with water and 1 cup sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes, reduce heat and continue boiling until water is nearly evaporated. Measure the amount of cooked down ginger and add equal amount of sugar and 1/4 cup water. Bring back to boil and stir constantly. Lower heat and continue to stir until water is evaporated and ginger is near dry. Cool and coat in sugar. Store in airtight container for up to 3 months, longer if it is stored in fridge.