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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Top Tips For The Best Stem Ginger
Buy fresh young ginger roots.
Freeze overnight before cooking.
A note on Sugar Syrup:
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.
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.
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Homemade Stem Ginger
- 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.
Pin Homemade Stem Ginger For Later
I’m entering Homemade Stem Ginger into Corina’s food challenge Cook Once Eat Twice over at Searching for Spice.
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.
Sunday 8th of January 2023
@Patti Forrest, thank you
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.
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
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?
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.
Saturday 15th of October 2022
Can I cook the ginger in the slow cooker for a few hours before adding the syrup please
Thursday 20th of October 2022
Hello Khadija, I haven't tried cooking ginger pieces in the slow cooker myself. I would be guessing at the time required but I have poached pears in my slow cooker for 2 hours on high or 4 hours on low. Cooking ginger on the hob takes approximately 1 1/2 hours to 2 hours once it has come to a simmer. As an estimate, cooking time for ginger would be at least 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Hope this helps and do let me know how you get on, Sarah.
Thursday 7th of July 2022
I grow ginger at home (in Australia). After a bumper crop this season, I decided to make something a little different from the usual grated and pickled ginger. This recipe was spot on and it turned out perfectly. Because my ginger is so fresh, the syrup is quite fiery but also addictive. I can’t wait to have some on ice cream tonight!
Tuesday 22nd of November 2022
@Sarah James, Hi Sarah, I grow it in UK, I start it from shop-bought tubers with promising shoots and cover that in a 7-inch pot in Jan/Feb on the windowsill. It stays there until the frosts have gone and I divide it into bits with a shoot and move it outdoors in a large pot for the summer. I get a reasonable yield each year. I was looking for this recipe to make some with this year's crop. I imagine that I can use a pressure cooker to boil the tubers in water.
Thursday 7th of July 2022
Hi Fiona, how lucky to be able to grow your own ginger. I'm so pleased your stem ginger turned out perfectly. Wishing I could try some of your syrup, enjoy some on ice cream.