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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.

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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.
5 from 115 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


Saturday 15th of October 2022

Can I cook the ginger in the slow cooker for a few hours before adding the syrup please

Sarah James

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!

Richard Southgate

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.

Sarah James

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.


Saturday 25th of September 2021

Hi from the Netherlands! This looks real easy and I'll be sure to try it as I have a giant piece of ginger, which was on sale last week. Stem Ginger is easily available here, but rather expensive, so this should be a good idea. As you probably know, us Dutchies love our cheese and have it cubed - as a snack - regularly with a drink. I just love to serve some, with a piece of gingerstuck on with a toothpick, and others - for the non-ginger lovers - with pineapple. Now that you have a good stock, you should try it! ;)

Sarah James

Wednesday 29th of September 2021

Hi Petra, thanks for popping by. I've never tried cheese and stem ginger on a stick, one I'll be sure to try next time I get the cheeseboard out. Stem ginger is easy to make, just make sure your ginger is young and tender. Do let me know how you get on.

Best Ever Honeycomb - Tales From The Kitchen Shed

Friday 16th of October 2020

[…] Homemade Stem Ginger […]


Wednesday 30th of September 2020

WOW, this cute jar seems a great edible gift idea! I love it and am considering to make it as gifts during the holiday time. :)