Fresh Ginger, Three Ways: Confit, Jam, Candy

Some realizations hit you in the still of the night – those grey hairs don’t just mean you’re getting old, they mean you have earned the right. To stand up for yourself. To say no. To be happy how you choose to be.

Some realizations take you by surprise, my 9-year old is writing with a ball point, my 7-year old no longer cries when she gets up in the morning to prepare for school, my 5-year old is in his second year at school and can read. My kids are all grown/I will soon be an empty nester :-).

Some realizations are understated. You rise to walk up the tall mountain. You know it will be hard but you find yourself at the summit, panting and realizing… was just as hard as I thought it would be, but I’ve coped far better than I ever expected.

Some realizations are slow to come, like the deliciousness of sweet ginger. So slow to come that you pause, and stop and think….of how difficult it will be to peel and julienne the young fresh ginger. But you quickly look past that. You move forward to embrace all the things you can do with it. And when the recipe you happen upon is a four day journey…and you only have (want 3 days), you wing it. You realize that you can do so much with it.


You can:

Candy it;


Admire it;

Candied Ginger in Chopsticks

Eat it; (Dice it into chunks and add to your favourite stir-fry, rice or noodle dish! – I absolutely loved the contrasting, sweet and fiery ginger in the Vietnamese Noodle dish).

Vietnamese Mango Noodle Salad

Drink it; (Make a tea, a ginger lemonade, some punch……the sky’s your limit)

First ‘boiled’ syrup

Jam it;

Ginger three ways – Jam, Candy, Confit

Bake it in a chocolate cake and overall create undying love with it. (Ask my nieces who their favourite Aunt is and why?)

Candied Ginger, Ginger Jam and Ginger Confit, adapted from Mrs Wheelbarrow’s Kitchen
Four day process for three half-pints plus a little extra.

My additions and comments are in bold, the original recipe is in italics.


1/2 lb. fresh ginger
4 cups caster sugar
4 cups water
Extra caster sugar, to candy


Use fresh young ginger – it will be easier to peel and will not be as ‘tough’ and fibrous as older ginger.

Use the back of a teaspoon to peel the ginger.

You can halve or double the recipe, to suit your needs. Though more is better, isn’t it?


Peel and matchstick the ginger. In my case, I cut some into chunks for the confit and jam; and the others into coins and thin (stem like slices), for candying.

Soak the ginger in ice water overnight.  The resulting liquid from the first soak tastes  of very fresh ginger and is a cloudy yellow colour. You could use the liquid to make some ginger rice, freshen up a soup, perhaps even make some ginger tea. I didn’t feel like discarding it!

The next day, drain the ginger and put it in a small saucepan. Cover with cold water.

Bring to a boil, then pour off the water, cover with cold water and bring to a boil again.

Strain off the water one more time, then cover with cold water and bring it to a boil one more time. Strain off the water and set the ginger aside. Something interesting happens to the texture of the ginger after the three cycles of cover with cold water-bring to the boil and strain. At the end of this period, the ginger is firm and takes on a crisp/light crunch. So you bite on a piece and it is almost the texture of Chinese water chestnuts. Not at all what I expected.

First boil: In a 3-quart heavy saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil. Add the ginger, and let it steep in the sugar syrup overnight.This is where I shaved off some time. I began this step in the morning and let the ginger steep in the syrup for six hours.  The first boiled syrup is a light tan colour and the ginger  deepens in colour and taste. It becomes sweeter and takes on a deep yellow hue. Till its next soak. I cant resist pulling out chunks of ginger and chomping on them. At first all I get is the fragrance of ginger, followed by a mellow sweetness. At first there is no heat, then it comes in waves, slowly building till it reaches a crescendo that is a pleasant, mellow warmth and spreads like fire in very short grass

Second boil: The next day, strain out the ginger and bring the syrup to a boil. Add back the ginger and let it steep again for twelve hours, or the next day. I followed this step to the letter. Well almost. I let my ginger steep for 6 hours, not 12. . The second soak and boil leaves the ginger translucent and a shade darker. I expect each subsequent boil will strip a shade of light off, sweeten a depth more and get my ginger closer to me.

Third boil: Once again, strain out the ginger and bring the syrup to a boil. Add back the ginger and let it steep again for twelve hours, or the next day.  This time, I let it steep overnight and prepared myself for the final stretch. By the third cook, the syrup and candy pieces have taken on a gloss, a shine that makes me suspect they know they are getting near the end.

The final day, make sure you have your sterilized jars, canning pot filled with water, and all that jazz set up. I didn’t do any of this as I was going to use the ginger right away. Instead, I prepared sugar to candy the ginger and sneak some. I must say each time I get near the pot, I help myself to a slice or two. Just checking to see how its done.

Bring the ginger and syrup to 220°, using tongs, pack the ginger into jars, then divide the syrup. Clean the top of the jars carefully, place the lids, tighten the rings, and process for 10 minutes.

Instead, I fish out the medallions/coins and ‘tree trunks’, toss them in sugar and set them on a rack to dry overnight. I candy my ginger!


The next morning, I am amazed at the crunch the pieces have developed. Even the fibrous bits all of a sudden loose their toughness, standing tall, proud, delish!


And off they go into the candy (Snoepjes, Dutch for sweets) jar. Awaiting my nieces who blitz through the entire tin in an afternoon. ‘Ginger is good for you’….. I say to myself. Excusing myself in indulging them.


I decide to recreate my favourite ever ginger jam, using homemade pectin. Its a snap – I put the confitted ginger and some syrup into a pot, tip in my homemade pectin and let it come to the boil. After a few minutes, it’s jammed. I put it in a jar and enjoy some for breakfast, on bread. It isn’t Scott’s Finest Ginger jam, but it is mine, all mine.

A few days ago, I baked a ginger and chocolate cake, using the leftover ginger jam. I stayed with Amanda Hesser’s tried, tested and adored Chocolate Dump-it all cake which is my most requested bake ever. I’ve made over a hundred cakes since December 15th when I first made it! I love its versatility – it is a brilliant canvas for new flavours and frostings. Anyhow, the cake was nice – very gingerbreadish, with my additions of ginger powder, cinnamon powder and chocolate chips (which all sank to the bottom, mind you). I topped it with some chocolate ganache with candied pecans. And I have to apologise for not having a photo to demonstrate all of its goodness, even it wasnt my favourite version of the cake.

And so, tortourous as the ginger peeling and chopping were, I’ll be making this again, in a huge vat so we can enjoy its goodness for months to come.

What are your favourite things to do with fresh ginger?

 [wpurp-searchable-recipe]Fresh Ginger, Three Ways: Confit, Jam, Candy – – – [/wpurp-searchable-recipe]


  1. So delighted to see what you’ve done with the ginger confit! I must try my hand at these candies, as I’m crazy for candied ginger. I’m not sure I would share… Thank you again for the link-love. All best, Cathy

  2. I love this so much, Ozoz! 🙂 I had no idea about the process of making candied ginger. It is one of my favorite sweets and I’m so happy that now I can make it myself. Scrumptious!! (I love your Dutch tin :-)) xo

  3. Wow, and empty nester already? 🙂 My one and only daughter will turn 18 in November…and to think she was in kindergarten just last week 😉 It happens in a flash!

    I love, love, love ginger, so I love, love, love this post!! I have not candied it myself yet, but it is on my list! I always have it on hand in many forms, even growing in my back yard. I want to make ginger ice cream and add some candied ginger to it. My favorite is my ginger shortbread cookies. My daughter loves ginger tea, so easy to just steep it in some hot water…she also liked it with her lemonade…we’ll do that again when are lemons are ready. Now with this nudge, and after seeing how good your ginger turned out I might be able to cross it off my list! Thanks!

  4. Hello Mdme Butterfly

    Beautiful post and I think when your kids are as young as toddlers… One thinks how lucky you are that they will become independent soon:) Love the contrast between the striking amber ginger and your black back drops!

  5. I usually buy it, but now I know how to make it because of you. Children grow up so fast my first grandchild will be time flies….

  6. Where to begin? “To be happy how you choose to be”… such an important thing to be reminded of in life.

    I’m hooked now on trying ginger is all these fabulous forms. Love the chocolate cake you made and I may need to include ginger in the one I’m baking this weekend (isn’t the Dump-It Cake just the best?). When I stir fry I grate fresh ginger in and appreciate the bite and flavor it adds.

    Ahh, the imminent empty nest…my babies are 15 and 17 now and I’m savoring every moment that we are all under the same roof together before my oldest leaves next year.

  7. I tried making candied ginger before but the recipe and outcome was very different! The recipe I tried was a one day affair which ended up with over dried ginger! I will try your method next time as you have archived stellar results! Spicy ginger will be a welcome addition to fall and holiday baking adventures!

  8. Beautiful. Sugar-fire-crunch; I do so love candied ginger. The fresh stuff goes pounded into my chai/tea twice daily, and without fail. We also often pickle it into my father’s favorite quick kitchen concoction, which involves combining ginger, chillies, tamarind, and some jaggery (unrefined brown sugar) to even things off. The claims to ginger are too many in our house to leave enough to be candied. But I know I’ll be by here again when the craving for eye candy hits.

  9. I’ve never made candied ginger but I always have it on hand and used it just this past week to make sugar cakes. I love ginger in all forms and drink it as ginger beer and use it ALOT in cooking. Maybe when I run out I will try to make it.

  10. I just chuckled at your thought of being a soon-to-be empty nester. Enjoy the kids, they grow up fast. I look at my 4year-old and wonder where the baby went.

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