For those of you who have a vigilant sweet tooth, here is a head-turner. Also called ginger chews or candied ginger, crystallized ginger are pieces of tender ginger root that have been boiled in sugar solution and coated with sugar. These toothsome treats taste and feel a lot like gummy bears but also have a tinge of spice from ginger. Doesn’t it sound like the perfect mix of sweet and spice?
Not many people have heard about candied ginger while those who are familiar with it may find the idea ridiculous, using a spice to make a treat. But is candied ginger good for you? Let’s understand what they exactly are to take that call.
Must-Knows About Crystallized Ginger
1. It Has 5 Grams More Sugar Than Gummy Candies
Candied ginger is quite heavy on the calorie and sugar stats. To give you some perspective, 1 ounce of ginger roots has 22 calories and less than 1 gram of sugar, whereas, 1 ounce of candied ginger has 100 calories and 21 grams of sugar. When compared to gummy candies, candied ginger wins by a clear margin of an extra 5 grams for the same serving size. Another way to put it is 3–5 grams per 6 grams of candied ginger, that is 50–80% just sugar!
With the hope that you’ve understood how sweet these treats really are, do not be fooled and overeat them just because they are made from ginger. We all know the repercussions that come with sugar-laden foods – weight gain, heart disease, and diabetes, not to forget, the inevitable tooth decay.
2. It Is A Healthier Alternative To Traditional Candy
Despite its high sugar content, we cannot deny the fact that candied ginger is in fact…ginger. What’s more, candied ginger does not bring all the artificial harmful ingredients to the table like regular candy. We’re talking about ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and artificial food dyes.
The benefits of ginger are diverse and include nausea relief, digestive health, alleviation of clogging of arteries (atherosclerosis), and pain relief. Yes, you can get all of these from crystallized ginger as well. Which is why candied ginger is a much healthier alternative than traditional candy. You can look at it as the lesser of two evils!
3. It Packs In Both The Benefits And The Side Effects Of Ginger
The precautions that apply to regular ginger, apply to candied ginger as well. Along with the benefits come the side effects. Besides the excess calories that they bring, they may also cause acid reflux, diarrhea, and stomach distress.
Those on blood-thinning and blood-sugar-lowering medications better avoid it. It is also not recommended for children under 2 years of age.
4. It Is A Great Addition To Salads, Breakfast Items, And Ice Creams
Keeping in mind the precautions and side effects, candied ginger consumed in moderation can add a burst of flavor to your meals. Sprinkle them over your breakfast, throws some into your coffee, or mix them into fruit salads or baking batters. They also make for interesting toppings on ice creams.
Being high in calories, candied ginger is also a great addition to trail mixes for travel enthusiasts. Chew on them as you make your way through tough terrain to keep your energy levels up.
5. It Is Easy To Make At Home
The best part about ginger chews is that you can make them in your own kitchen and don’t have to depend on external supplies. Get hold off some ginger root, preferably tender, organic, and grown in your own garden, and DIY!
- 3 cups (1 lb) fresh ginger root
- 2¼ cups (1 lb) granulated sugar, with some extra for sprinkling
- 5 cups (1.19 L) water
- Peel the ginger root and cut into 1/8-inch long pieces. You can simply cut thin round slices as well.
- Add the water to a saucepan, throw in the ginger pieces, cover the pan, and bring to a boil.
- Once the water starts boiling, reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for about half an hour.
- Use a fork to check if the ginger is tender. If it is, take out about 1 cup of the water from the pan and set it aside.
- Strain out the ginger to remove the excess water. Pour the water you reserved back into the pan along with the ginger pieces and sugar.
- On a medium-high flame, bring the water to a boil with constant stirring (you don’t want the sugar to char).
- Once the sugar syrup has reduced (it may take about half an hour) remove the pan from the flame. Separate the ginger pieces and allow them to cool on a tray.
- Sprinkle some sugar to add some extra grit and sweetness.
- Store your candied ginger in an air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.
If you are hesitant about using table sugar, you may use honey instead. Making candied ginger at home is better than buying it from a store as you can control the amount of sugar you add to it.
Indulge your sweet tooth with candied ginger, but keep it as a once-in-a-while treat without treating it as a natural panacea for ailments as you would regular ginger. For health benefits, you would have to consume a lot of these candies, which is not recommended.