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Thursday, August 11, 2011

Sugar-Free Candied Ginger (LC, GF, SF) and more!

Lately I’ve been longing for the heat to finally be over and for Fall to come. When that happens I start to look at more fall like foods and recipes and inevitably the need for candied ginger and citrus peels arises.

I’ve made citrus peel myself for years, sugar-free and not (recipe to come soon) but I haven’t done much on ginger lately.

Candied ginger is not just an ingredient, it’s a great addition to nutty trail mixes, a garnish or a yummy candy all by itself. So the mouth feel properties of the candied ginger are more important than they would be in candied peel, which is usually just an ingredient in a recipe.

The recipe I settled on is this one. It gave me the best result in terms of chewiness, no cooling sensation, lowest carbs and least recrystallization!

The ginger isn’t quite as chewy as the regular sugary kind, but it also isn’t rock hard, even quite some time later. It has a little more hardness to it, but more like pressed powdered sugar, rather than hard crystals (on the inside of the ginger) if that makes any sense. For me it works!

I hope it does for you too!

 

Sugar-Free Candied Ginger

 

6 oz. of fresh ginger root *

1 cup of water (plus water for the first time boiling that will be discarded)

1 cup of erythritol, powdered

8 drops of stevia extract

pinch of salt

4 yellow Vitafusion sugar free fiber gums **

1 tbsp. glycerine ***

 

For crystalized ginger:

1/4 cup granulated erythritol

1/4 cup Ideal bulk sweetener

 

1. Peel the ginger by scraping it down with a teaspoon. It’s much easier to get into all the nooks and crannies of the ginger root that way! Once peeled, slice the ginger into thin slices using a sharp knife. Or chop it into small cubes, if you prefer that.

2. Put the ginger slices in a non-reactive pot, add enough water to cover the ginger, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let ginger simmer for ten minutes. Drain.

3. Mix the erythritol, copped vitafusion gums *** and 1 cup of water in the pot, along with a pinch of salt and the ginger slices, and cook until the water has reduced by at least half.

4. Stir in the glycerin. Turn down the heat and simmer for 2 more minutes.

5. If you are going to keep the ginger in it’s syrup, pour everything into a mason jar (or several.) Cover the jar tightly with the lid and turn it upside down. Leave it sitting on the counter for several hours or until completely cooled before turning it right side up again.

This can now be stored for several months in the pantry. Once opened you need to use it up pretty quickly however, as the erythritol will start to recrystallize! Should you get some crystals, just nuke for a minute in the microwave to dissolve, let the ginger cool a little and use like you would regular ginger in syrup.

6. If you are making crystalized ginger, continue to boil until all the syrup is almost gone. When it is getting close, there will be a lot of froth.

 

Once you get to about this much syrup,

remove from heat, tilt the pot to one side and carefully spoon the remaining syrup into a jar or bowl or onto some parchment lined pan . If you have candy molds, pour the “syrup” in there as it will harden into ginger candy!

A couple of these in some tea are lovely for a bit of gingery sweetness! Or even in some ice water!

Anyway, your ginger pieces sans the syrup will now look like this.

7. In a large bowl, mix granular erythritol, Ideal (or splenda.) I am using 2 sweeteners here, one with maltodextrin, as it cuts the cooling sensation from the erythritol. Toss the drained ginger slices in the sweetener mix to coat evenly.

8. Shake off excess sweetener, and spread the ginger slices on a cooling rack, until they’re somewhat dry and cooled all the way. (The left-over sweetener can be reused. It will have a faint ginger flavor to it, but not very strong.)

This happens pretty fast. About half an hour for thinner slices, a little longer for cubes.  Store in an air tight container straight after that to prevent them from getting too hard.

 

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* Ginger roots can be quite fibrous. To avoid this, try to get the  freshest and youngest ginger roots. Choosing smaller ones can also help!

Here’s an example of a tough and stringy one, even though very fresh and juicy:

Spring time is the best time to get the young ginger that isn’t as fibrous. But I always forget to stock up when the time comes around! So I’m getting a little extra fiber through mine!

 

** Available in most pharmacies and Costco, they are almost pure polydextrose and melt really easily - and lump-free! Target also carries their own store brand (Fiber gummies) with exactly the same ingredients.

The yellow ones have the most neutral taste and NONE of it comes through in the ginger!

If you don’t have access to the gummies, the gummies have the equivalent of 10g of polydextrose. Since there isn’t all that much of the polydextrose, I don’t expect any digestive upsets, but the polydextrose really helps with stopping the recrystallizing process later! It also stops the cooling sensation on the tongue!

 

*** Glycerine  is necessary in this. The amount of  erythritol that is present in this means that recrystallizing and hardening is pretty much inevitable. The glycerine together with the polydextrose retain some of the chewiness.

 

Incidentally, Trader Joes does a great trail mix (at least they used to, not sure they still do!) that has ginger bits in it. So yummy! And so easily low-carbed when you have sugar-free candied ginger handy.

I just love how the tart chewiness of the cranberries mingles with the sharp sweetness of the ginger! Not to mention the nutty roasted crunch thrown in!

Here’s my version of it. You can of course use your own ratios and favorite nuts!

 

Copy-Cat Macadamias mix Gingerly with Cranberries & Almonds

1 cup roasted macadamias, whole or chopped (I prefer roasted, unsalted for this, but you can just use them plain too)

1 cup of whole almonds

1/2 cup of sugar-free crystalized ginger (the cubes work best for this)

1/4 cup of dried, unsweetened cranberries (also nice with faux raisins)

Mix and enjoy!

Makes about ten 1/4 cup servings (a handful) at 5g carbs and 2 g of fiber, so 3g of net  carbs per serving.

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4 comments:

  1. I think I love you!! I've been trying to figure out a way to make candied ginger lower carb, but I always ended up with a mess. I haven't tried your recipe yet, but the pictures say it all. I like candied ginger for it's tummy upset relief, especially when I don't feel like drinking Hot Tea. and it's pain relieving benefits make it something I want to have around alots, but I couldn't bring myself to use the sugared version any more. I will gather my ingredients and try your recipe, I'm so excited to see a proper candied ginger recipe that turns out! and thanks for the tip on the Erythritol cooling, that's another issue I wasn't able to figure out.

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  2. where in the world di you find honeycomb candy forms?

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  3. where in the world di you find honeycomb candy forms?

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  4. Hi Alison, I think I either got it at Michaels or on ebay. Probably ebay. I've had it for many years, so I can't quite remember.

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