Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Crystalized Ginger, Day 2

Yesterday I began the four day process of making crystalized ginger. I made a trip to Fiesta to get fresh ginger. I thought I had plenty since I had some at home as well. However, I had not read through the recipe that day before I went shopping. The recipe calls for a pound and a half. I had to make a quick run to the HEB to get more. As I said, you will need about 25% more ginger than the recipe calls for because you will lose about that much when you peel it. I have a very precise scale that I use for soapmaking and I used it to weigh the ginger before and after I peeled it so I'll know how much to buy next time. I don't think you have to be that precise with this recipe.

Using my trusty Wufstof Classic 3 inch paring knife, I took the hard outer 'bark' off the ginger. This should have been the most time consuming part of the whole project. (More later on time consumption.) Then I used my Wufstof 7 inch santoku knife to slice it into medallions about a quarter inch thick. I love these knives. They are perfectly weighted and stay sharp with little effort on my part. It is important to use good, sharp knives for jobs like this. They make things a lot easier and you are much less likely to cut yourself with a knife that goes through things easily and efficiently.

I put the ginger in a heavy stainless steel stock pot and covered it with purified water. You might be able to use tap water where you live but I have well water with a lot of minerals in it. Even if it worked OK for the recipe, I would not want to boil anything in it multiple times and then try to clean the pot. I was supposed to bring this to a boil, no problem there, add a cup of sugar, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes. At this point, the burner on my stove went into business for itself. I reduced the heat and thought I had a good simmer going so I set the timer and left the room. When the timer sounded, I checked on the pot. It was not simmering. It was warm, but no simmer. I tried this on anther burner twice before I got it to simmer for about 10 minutes. It had been hot all that time so I had to guess at how much time it needed. It did not exactly simmer. It boiled a little more than I wanted it to so I just gave it my best shot.

Today, I brought the concoction to a boil again before adding the thinly sliced lemon and a cup of Karo syrup. Then it was supposed to simmer for 15 minutes. I did the best I could. I think it was more of a light boil.

( I used Karo because MB thinks is works better than other brands of corn syrup but I will look for an organic corn syrup before I do this again. When I read the label, I discovered that this ain't my grandmother's Karo. You know, the stuff she used to make those pecan pies. The stuff I loved as a child when she put it on the corn griddle cakes she made for my breakfast. No, it is not that Karo. This new version has high fructose corn syrup in it. I don't have to have everything organic but I try to avoid high fructose corn syrup because it is highly processed and most likely made from genetically altered corn. It seems that a strand of corn has been developed that 'blows up' in the stomach of any caterpillar or other bug that eats it. I don't see how that could be good for humans. It also has vanilla in it which may be what MB thinks makes the ginger better.)

My house smells fantastic.

Since it is National Talk Like a Pirate Day, the soundtrack for this post is Pirate Looks at Forty, one of two or three Jimmy Buffet songs that I will admit to loving.


Bradley Egel said...

I learned more in the above few paragraphs about crystalized ginger than I ever did in my entire life...EVER...

Just stopping by to say hello and thank you for stopping by the Nest :)

The Egel Nest

The Minstrel Boy said...

that's why i use the crock pot when i make this. it's much less hassle. to get in the simmer time all you have to do is turn it on high until it reaches the simmer (about an hour with mine), turn it low, and walk away from it.

don't worry though, there's nothing all that cruicial about the temps and the times. for a strictly cosmetic reason most folks don't like the syrup to carmelize all that much. a light golden is cool, dark brown is not so cool.

good call on the purified water. the folks who slather the syrup around will thank you.

i would have to agree with you on the Karo too. those bastards! it used to be some good stuff.

luckily i have an english ex-pat neighbor who likes to stop by for tea in the afternoon. she has a line on some Lyon's Golden Syrup. that shit's the bomb!

Little Wing said...

I am keeping up with the crystalized ginger post, I want to see the end result!

Anonymous said...

While I'm not defending the process by which the corn came to have the caterpillar killing feature, what it produces is a protein that caterpillar guts aren't capable of digesting. Instead the protein shreds their intestines.

With regards to this protein, caterpillar intestines are not at all like ours. Our intestines have no problem with this protein at all.

This pest control measure is applied all the time by organic gardeners & farmers who are contending with caterpillars. It's the product of a bacterium, Bacillus thurigiensis ("Bt" for short).

- oddjob (who is visiting thanks to the props offered by Minstrel Boy)

Anonymous said...

(Misspelled - Bacillus thuringiensis)

- oddjob

sexy said...
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