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Homemade Stem Ginger

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Homemade Stem Ginger is so easy to make and so much better than shop bought. Chop finely and add to ginger cakes, puddings or biscuits for a real ginger hit. The syrup makes a delicious ginger cordial.

We really love ginger here at the Kitchen Shed and often use our Homemade Stem Ginger in savoury recipes too. It adds warmth to a sticky glaze for roast pork and takes our sticky ribs marinade to the next level of tastiness.

Homemade Stem ginger is the perfect recipe to try if you’re new to preserving or jam making. Having said that, it’s even easier to make than jam since there’s no thermometer required. You simply cook peeled ginger in water until tender and make a syrup with sugar.

A jar of homemade stem ginger with a parcel tag label on a table. Christmas tape, string and a pen on the table.

There’s a slight sense of sadness here at the Kitchen Shed as we pack things away for the winter and wind down the freezer contents.

I thought I’d pretty much worked out how to use up all our frozen food until I discovered a bag of ginger which was way too much for a stir fry or curry for two.

Seemed to me there was only one thing to do, make some stem ginger and take a jar or two with us to Guernsey to enjoy over the winter.

An opened jar with a spoon of preserved ginger.

What Is Stem Ginger ?

Stem Ginger is the preserved fresh young roots of the ginger plant. The roots are are peeled, sliced and cooked in sugar syrup.  

How To Buy Fresh Ginger Root

You can buy fresh ginger roots from supermarkets as well specialist stores in the UK.

Choose pieces of fresh ginger root with firm, unwrinkled skin that is thin enough to scrape away with your fingernail.

Tough, thick skin is a sign the ginger is old and dried out.

Any root that feels light in weight or has a wrinkled skin should be avoided as no amount of simmering will soften it.

Potato peeler on a chopping board with peelings and chunks of ginger.

How To Make Stem Ginger

Stem ginger is much easier to make than you might think – it’s a case of peeling and slicing the ginger into chunks, covering with water and cooking until tender.

Although some recipes use an “all in one” approach, I prefer to drain the cooking water from the ginger and use it to make a syrup – this way you have greater control over the quality of your syrup because of the more accurate water to sugar ratio.

The ginger is added back to the pan with your syrup and simmered for twenty minutes before transferring ginger and syrup into a sterilised jar.

Raw pieces of root ginger in water ready to be simmered.

How To Sterilise Jars

I like to sterilise jam jars in the microwave.

Simply clean them as normal and rinse but whilst they are wet, pop them in the microwave for two minutes on full power.

Remember the jars will be very hot, so remove with care.

Alternatively, wash jars in the dishwasher on a hot cycle.

Always sterilise more jars than you think you will need.

An enamelled pan with ginger being cooked in syrup.

Top Tips For The Best Stem Ginger

 Buy fresh young ginger roots.

Freeze overnight before cooking.  

A note on Sugar Syrup:

Stirring sugar into a syrup to dissolve with a spatula.

 Make sure the sugar is dissolved before bringing to the boil.

To test if the sugar is completely dissolved scoop out a small amount of the syrup with a spoon.

You should not be able to see any sugars crystals in the liquid.

Do not stir the sugar syrup once the sugar has dissolved or the sugar will crystallise.  

Testing ginger syrup for sugar crystals with a spoon.

How Long Does Homemade Stem Ginger Last ?

Stem Ginger will last up to 12 months stored in a cool, dark place. Once opened, store in the fridge and use within 2 months.  

Ways To Use Stem Ginger

Stem Ginger adds a fiery ginger hit to all manner of desserts, tarts, puddings, cakes and biscuits.

The syrup can be used in cocktails, drinks, or added to ice cream and salads.

You’ll find Stem Ginger in savoury dishes too. From sticky ribs, roast pork and chicken to steamed fish. In fact, the list is endless.  

Homemade Gift Ideas

I love making gifts for friends and family and Homemade Stem Ginger regularly finds its way into our Christmas hampers. Here’s some of my reader’s favourite homemade gift recipes.

Homemade Vanilla Extract

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Don’t Want To Miss A Thing ?


Homemade Stem Ginger is so easy to make & so much better than shop bought. Chop finely & add to ginger cakes, puddings or biscuits for a real ginger hit. The syrup makes a delicious ginger cordial.

Homemade Stem Ginger

Homemade Stem Ginger is so easy to make & so much better than shop bought. Chop finely & add to ginger cakes, puddings or biscuits for a real ginger hit. The syrup makes a delicious ginger cordial.
4.99 from 124 votes
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Course: Baking
Cuisine: British
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
Freezing time: 12 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 40 minutes
Servings: 24
Calories: 118kcal
Author: Sarah James


  • Large Saucepan
  • 2 x 500g Preserving Jars or equivalent


  • 650 g fresh ginger root
  • 600 g caster sugar or superfine sugar
  • 1.5 litres water reserve 600 ml of liquid after cooking


  • Freeze ginger overnight.
  • Remove the ginger from the freezer.
  • Peel the ginger and cut into 2 cm thick slices.
  • Add the ginger to a pan and cover (by a couple of centimetres) with water. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for about an hour and a half to 2 hours until nice and tender.
  • Drain the tender ginger pieces and reserve the cooking water. Set to one side while you make a syrup.
  • Measure 600 ml of the ginger cooking liquid and add back to your pan along with the sugar.
  • Return to a gentle heat and stir to dissolve the sugar – once the sugar has dissolved stop stirring. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for about 15 to 20 minutes until you have a nice thick syrup.
  • Add the cooked ginger back to the pan and simmer gently for 20 minutes before transferring ginger and syrup into a sterilised jar and sealing. Store in a cool, dry place for up to a year.



The recipe can be easily halved, doubled or tripled.
Buy fresh young ginger roots.
Stem Ginger will last up to 12 months stored in a cool, dark place. Once opened, store in the fridge and use within 2 months.  
Nutrition information is approximate and meant as a guideline only.
Calories: 118kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 1g | Sodium: 4mg | Potassium: 113mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 25g | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 1mg

Pin Homemade Stem Ginger For Later

Top image is of a jar of stem gnger with Christmas ribbon and a parcel tag label and pen. Bottom image is of a jar opened to show preserved ginger and a spoon.

I’m entering Homemade Stem Ginger into Corina’s food challenge Cook Once Eat Twice over at Searching for Spice.

Recipe Rating

Heather O’Brien

Sunday 19th of November 2023

To seal the jar do you just add ingredients while hot? Do you need to can it in a water bath like jam? Thanks!

Sarah James

Monday 11th of December 2023

Hi Heather, sorry for the delay in replying but I've been away for a few weeks without access to Wifi and a very weak mobile signal. Add the ginger and syrup to the sterilised jar while it's still hot and top with a sterilised lid and tighten. A vacuum seal will form as the contents cool. This is the method I use as we don't tend to water bath here in the UK, I've never had any problems with jam, chutneys or fruit preserves going off. However, if you prefer to use a water bath, process for 15 minutes. Hope this helps, Sarah.


Friday 4th of August 2023

Just wondering if we are using fresh organic ginger as to why it needs to be frozen first? Does it tenderise/benefit it in some way? Has any one trialled fresh and non-frozen ginger?


Sunday 1st of October 2023

@Dec, It makes it easier to peel

Sarah James

Monday 7th of August 2023

Thanks for getting in touch. Freezing the ginger first does tenderise it, I've tried both ways and found using frozen ginger gives better results. Organic fresh ginger may be more tender without freezing, I've not been able to source organic so I've not been able to compare the two.

Patti Forrest

Monday 2nd of January 2023

Hi Sarah. I didn’t cook the ginger long enough or the pieces were too large so it is very firm - can I cook it again? Thank you.

Patti Forrest

Sunday 8th of January 2023

@Patti Forrest, thank you

Sarah James

Saturday 7th of January 2023

Hello Patti, yes you can recook it until tender, it's best to cook in water and not in syrup to soften it, hope this helps, Sarah.

Chenda k.

Saturday 24th of December 2022

Sounds delicious will surely give this recipe a try. Just one quick question, if i were to julienne the ginger how long would i have to cook it for? I love to eat ginger when there thinly sliced or julienned. Its great that way. Please give me hour thoughts on what cooking time would be so i can give this a try...thank u

Sarah James

Saturday 7th of January 2023

Hello Chenda, I haven't cooked julienned ginger myself but I would try 30 minutes and check it. Cooking it for longer until tender if necessary. Hope this helps, Sarah.


Wednesday 7th of December 2022

Does this need to age awhile or can you use it immediately?

Sarah James

Wednesday 14th of December 2022

Hello Maggie, the stem ginger can be used once it's cooled down. I do try and keep it at least a week to let the flavour develop but I must admit I find myself using it more or less straightaway. Hope this helps, Sarah.