Preserved Ginger – easier to make than you think!

15 March 2012 in Easy to prepare, Jams & Preserves

I was wondering around in my local veggie shop, as ya do, when I spied some fresh ginger and I had a yen to make some preserved ginger. I made some a few years ago and it was so useful for adding to cakes and puds or drizzling the syrup over ice-cream. It’s very easy to make and I don’t understand why it is so blinking expensive in the shops.

800g fresh ginger

750mls sugar

375mls water

Firstly you have to peel your ginger, I used a combo of peeler, sharp knife and the edge of a teaspoon for tricky bits.

Cut the ginger into cubes that are roughly the same size.

Cover with water and soak for at least 8 hours or overnight.

Drain the ginger and place in a saucepan and cover with water, bring to the boil and drain, repeat this two more times then on the third time, simmer the ginger until a sharp knife goes through it easily, mine took just over an hour.

In a thick bottomed saucepan bring the sugar and the water to a boil, then turn down the heat a little so you have a rolling boil. Keep an eye on it and stir every now and then until the syrup thickens, 20 – 30 minutes.

Add the ginger and simmer for 10 minutes, cool completely before spooning into a sterilized jar (just rinse the jar in very hot water, shake off any excess water and pop in the microwave on high for 1 minute)

Fills one 200g coffee jar.

I slightly overestimated the amount of syrup so I ended up with a little jar of extra syrup, which I plan to make ice cream with…..or maybe a syrup drenched ginger cake…or… this space!



47 responses to Preserved Ginger – easier to make than you think!

  1. Preserved ginger was a real favourite of my old Dad.He used to get a jar for his birthday and Christmas every year and would spend the rest of the year nibbling on it with crackers and blue cheese

  2. I always add some lemon juice to the water when I start the process, it helps to thicken the sauce.

  3. I add chopped pieces of the preserve to my Christmas fruit cake.

  4. What about ginger beer?

  5. Preserved ginger is expensive – I love ginger and will give this a try – thanks for sharing, Sue.

  6. Have just finished making my first batch – took a long time to cook to tender and I think I might try pressure cooking it the next time

    • I don’t have one, so that’s not an option for me, I am still using the same jar I made in March :) Thanks for trying the recipe.

  7. Looks interesting but why do most recipes, including yours, throw away the ginger flavoured cooking water two or three tyimes?

  8. Made this but my syrup crystalized, and tried re boiling, but wont, so more like candies peel so can still use. Do you think adding the ginger to the syrup does this as it introduces moisture once the syrup has been formed?

  9. It is a very valid question as to why the water gets thrown away. It could be used as the “stock” for a home-made ginger beer perhaps? Or for the basis of a tea for sore throat and chest remedies since ginger is so beneficial for the health.
    Also the fresh ginger I get locally seems quite fresh and tender, so I am not sure why does it have to be boiled so many times.

  10. Does the above recipe produce a thick, medium or thin syrup? How much sugar would you say is needed to produce a thin syrup? About half the amount?

    • Hi Erich, I still have some of that batch left and it’s not a thick sauce like the commercial varieties, I would say it’s medium.

  11. Thank you, that’s very helpful. If I wanted a thin syrup, do you think it would be OK to halve the amount of sugar? Or would you not recommend that? I’m a total amateur but love cooking and baking and experimenting in the kitchen.

  12. Kate said on 17 June 2013

    Coat in chocolate for gifts…or even better eat it yourself…yummy

  13. I suspect it would not keep well in thin syrup, unless you plan to store it in the fridge. I keep mine on the pantry shelf and it stores fine, using a heavy syrup (2 sugar to 1 water). Medium syrup – equal sugar and water – will probably store OK, but I prefer to be sure after all that effort. I don’t do all the boiling in plain water either, just cook it in syrup, cool and leave overnight, boil again next day and bottle and seal while hot. Works for me.

    • Thanks for your input Barbara, I think I will try your method next time. Mine is a medium syrup and it’s kept perfectly in the cupboard.

  14. If I had to guess as to why it is boiled and drained so many times, it would be to lessen the bite of the ginger.
    I often make candied orange peels, and it has the same process. I am certain the bitterness of the peel is the reason.
    I imagine you could save it for the above mentioned remedies….sore throat, tummy aches etc. Why not try it?

    • Hi Teri, very interesting that you follow the same procedure for your candied peel, I think that next time I make some I will definitely keep some back for ailments. I am still only halfway down this jar though! :)

  15. Hi Sous Chef, thanks for posting the instructions for making preserved ginger. I am hoping that making my own will be less expensive than buying it, as I go through quite a bit when I make gingersnap cookies. Also the last time I purchased from Bulk Barn in Toronto, it smelled and tasted a bit weird… also sometimes it’s very fibrous, yuck! Here’s the best gingersnap cookie recipe EVER: Mince up about 1/4 – 1/3 cup of preserved ginger (it’s very sticky, and be careful when you repeatedly have to wipe the sharp knife) and set aside. (Note – You cannot do this in a food processor; it changes the cookie texture.) Cream 3/4 lb softened butter with 1 cp sugar. Add 1/4 cp molasses and 1 egg. Combine 2 cps flour with 2 tsp soda, 1/2 tsp salt, 1-1/2 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp ground ginger, and 1/4 tsp ground cloves, and blend into butter mixture. Blend in the ginger. Put dough in the fridge for minimum of 1/2 hour to chill and make easier to handle. Roll into 1″ balls, roll in sugar, and place 2″ apart on greased or parchmented cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 mins at 375 or until they smell good. The little sugar-rolled balls store beautifully in the freezer, packed into an air-tight cookie tin between layers of waxed paper, to bake up whenever you have a craving (add an extra minute or 2 if frozen). Enjoy. :)

  16. Has anyone tried cooking the ginger in a microwave, surely that would greatly reduce the cooking time?

  17. What no one tells is that it does wonders for your sinusus. I’ve been making a cake at the same time as it is simmering away and lost count of the times I’ve either coughed or sneezed.

  18. I wouldn’t throw away the water, I guess that’s what makes the syrup consistency thick. I would place the sugar in warm water and dissolve. Then place the ginger in the water and bring to the boil until its cooked. I would then pour all the contents into a jar and store. I never understand why they would throw away the water, which carries all the ginger flavour.

  19. I’m so glad I came home and looked up this recipe!! I would’ve paid over $4 for a small jar of ginger preserves that I only needed a little amount of and it’s so easy to make, too!!! Thanks for helping me out with this ingredient. :D

  20. I’ve made this before and used some light corn syrup and fresh lemons in it as well. Just a variation

  21. Just my 2 cents worth. The water from the first two boils is thrown away, mostly because it absorbs the stuff in the ginger that cause your mouth to burn. Just bite into a piece of raw ginger and you will know what I am talking about. As far as the forming of crystals go, adding a little bit of lemon juice to the pot on the final boil will counter the formation of crystals.
    Thickness of the syrup is controlled more by cooking time than the amount of sugar. A candy thermometer will take away the guess work. Boil a pot of water and take the temp. of the boiling water. Now when you do the last boil with the ginger, let it boil till the temperature is about 3 degrees more than the reading you got from the boiling water and you will have a thin syrup, an extra 2 degrees on top of that (5 more than the water) will yield a medium syrup and another 2 degrees should leave you with a fairly thick syrup. If you go too hot you will end up with toffee and really too hot it will be candy (like on candy apples).
    Hope that answers a few questions.

  22. Alex said on 8 April 2014

    I need “preserved RED ginger”, an ingredient for Chinese dishes. I can imagine adding red food coloring to your recipe, but will this create the same product as the preserved red ginger in a jar which I used to find in Chinese markets?

  23. Hi!
    just loved your nicely explained recipe and all the readers’ contribution – very enlightening! I’m decided to try your recipe, as here in Portugal, 1 jar is a bit expensive and I’ve got a ginger preserve lover at home… now all I have to do is to buy ginger!

    • Thank you, I recently made a new batch and it comes in so handy and lasts for ages. Hope you enjoy yours.

  24. Lynn said on 2 July 2014

    Throwing off water? Well, before going online to find a recipe I made up my own. Cooked ginger directly in dilute syrup. Yikes, it kills your tongue and throat. Fiercely strong – awful actually.

  25. Thanks for the input Lynn *offers a glass of cold wine*

  26. After peeling your fresh ginger. Place in a jar filled with white wine so it covers the ginger knobs. You will always have fresh ginger on hand for cooking. You can also use the wine for stir-fry. But remember to top up the wine in the jar.

  27. How much sugar in grams would you need? Thanks!! I will try this soon!

    • Hi Kristiina, just weighed the sugar and it came to 600g, thanks for the visit and enjoy your ginger when you make it.

  28. Thank you so much! I’m going to use it in a pear cake from Jane Grigson’s Fruit Book. If cake’s worthy, I’ll post the recipe here!

  29. That lovely ginger water from the first few boils, If you like a ginger drink, save it, I put some in a glass, added a little sugar syrup, a squeeze of lemon, and topped up with cold water to dilute the sharp flavour, swap out the sugar for honey, add a little brandy.
    This would also be good carbonated with a soda stream.

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