(Thank you everyone for helping get this to FoodBuzz Top 9)
Funny how our tastes change over the years. Or maybe I should just speak for myself.
I used to hate ginger as a kid ... even as a young adult. It took me awhile to get to like this interesting little rhizome. And it all started with this ... candied ginger.
These unassuming little things are great to add into fruitcakes and cookies ... even eaten on it's own, unless you're not into ginger, of course.
Ginger is actually very good in aiding digestion, treats stomach discomforts, reduces nausea, motion sickness, morning sickness, arthritic pains and a whole lot of other things that I've read about, told about and haven't had a chance to do anything about ... that's good in a way I suppose.
The Chinese revere this humble root. It's a definite must for confinement dishes, supposedly getting rid of bloatedness and toxic gases in the tummy. "Confinement" here means the recovery period after birth for the new mother, not criminals in jails.
I took this opportunity to show off a small part of the family heirloom. The spoon and bowl, both with a hand-painted dragon motif, is part of a set that has some real gold bits on them. I'm not too sure if it's safe to use them for eating because of the lead content normally found in the glaze of old Chinese ceramics. Since it's the dragon year, we dug them out of their cupboard "caves" for the festivities before they are banished for another 12 years.
To get nice clear, translucent pieces of candied ginger, you'll have to get super young ginger roots. It really doesn't matter if they're a little older but bear in mind that you'll have a more pungent and spicier flavor.
I have here a batch made from younger rhizomes and another from slightly older ones. You can see the difference in the colors. I'd made smaller pieces out of the older roots since they're "spicier" and takes a little longer to soften.
It isn't difficult. It doesn't take too much time. And the best part at the end of it is, you can use the leftover syrup to make homemade ginger ale or a slight twist to that, lemongrass ginger ale.
(What? You're expecting more ingredients?)
Peel and slice ginger into 1/2" thick rounds or cubes. Halve the size for older ginger (you can tell it's TOO old when there's too much fiber).
Place cut ginger into a pot and add enough water to cover the pieces.
Cook on medium heat for about 30 - 45 mins or until pieces are tender, depending on how old the ginger is.
Drain, reserve about 3 - 4 tbs of liquid.
Weigh drained ginger. Add the same amount of sugar and the reserved liquid in pot and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until ginger turns translucent and liquid is reduced. About 45 mins - 1 hour.
Leave to cool a little. Drain and reserve sugar syrup to make ginger ale.
Toss drained pieces in powdered sugar or not (it's up to you). Separate the pieces out so that they don't clump together.
Allow to dry overnight on a piece of parchment.
Store in jars or airtight containers.
Note: Since this doesn't contain any preservatives, I'd suggest keeping them in the refrigerator for a longer shelf life.