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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.

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 with us to Guernsey to enjoy over the winter.

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.

Choosing suitable ginger root:

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.

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.
The tenderness of ginger stems cannot be guaranteed and some recipes recommend blanching three or four times to tenderise the stems. I’ve omitted blanching as freezing the ginger breaks down the cell structure and tenderises the stems, so I’d recommend freezing your ginger before cooking. Also, frozen ginger is easier to peel so it’s a win win situation.

If you’d like to try this recipe for yourself, here it is an easily printable form. Just hit the PRINT button on the recipe card below.

 

4.9 from 13 reviews
Homemade Stem Ginger
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
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.
Author:
Recipe type: Preserving
Serves: 1 x 500 g jar
Ingredients
  • 325 g (12 oz) fresh ginger root
  • 300 g (1½ cups) caster sugar
  • Water to cover the ginger
  • 150 ml (3/4 cup) ginger cooking water
Instructions

Optional: Freeze the ginger overnight (freezing tenderises the ginger)
  1. Peel the ginger and cut into 2 cm thick slices.
  2. 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 until nice and tender.
  3. Lift out the tender ginger pieces and set to one side while you make a sryup.
  4. Reserve 150ml of the cooking liquid and add back to your pan along with the sugar.
  5. Return to a gentle heat and stir to dissolve the sugar - once the sugar has dissolved stop stirring.
  6. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for about 15 to 20 minutes until you have a nice thick syrup.
  7. 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.
  8. Store in a cool, dry place for up to a year.
Notes
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.

I love making gifts for friends and family and Homemade Stem Ginger regularly finds its way into our Christmas hampers. Click here for more homemade gift ideas from The Kitchen Shed.

Pin Homemade Stem Ginger for later:

 

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

 

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66 thoughts on “Homemade Stem Ginger”

  • HI – I live in the US and have never had stem ginger but needed it for a key lime, ginger tart recipe that I wanted to try from the Great British Bake Off. In any event, I used very fresh ginger and froze over night as instructed. The syrup never did thicken and there was not enough to cover the ginger so I made more which also never thickened. The cooked ginger was very bland and I could not even detect it in the finished tart. Is stem ginger supposed to have a strong flavor or one that is very subtle? I have no point of reference… Thanks for any suggestions you might have.

    • Hello Jeanie, the ratio of sugar to ginger cooking liquid is enough to give a medium syrup so I’m not sure what happened. Stem ginger has a strong flavour although it isn’t as hot as fresh ginger. Maybe next time check and have a taste of the ginger before cooking? When you make the syrup, try turning the heat up a little and use a bigger pan. Hope this helps, do let me know how you get on.

  • Hello Sarah, I found your blog whilst searching for quantities for a preserving syrup.To my delight I found this recipe for preserved ginger – next on my lockdown preserving list.
    You may be interested to know I have been just been preserving Green (ie unripe) figs. My daughters allotment in North London is awash with them. They are a bit of a faf – they have to be boiled and squeezed 4 times, each time in fresh water, to get rid of the sap and then boiled n the prepared syrup. They are so worth it especially during the Corona virus lockdown when the time is available.
    THANK YOU!

    • Hi Moxy. Was really interested to see you pickled your green figs. Would it be possible to send me the recipe for this? We are heading over to our house in France next week and I expect our fig bushes will be laden. Not sure if we will get back again for when they are ripe so pickling unripe would be brilliant.
      Many thanks
      Linda

  • Should I freeze the ginger in the root or is it ok to peel chop and freeze. I made a small amount for rhubarb jam without freezing at all as I was in a hurry and it turned out great so I am now making a batch to have in stock and I would like to try freezing.

    • Hello Patricia, freezing the ginger in smaller pieces makes it much easier for when it comes to making the stem ginger. I tend to leave the skin on as I find it easier to peel when it’s frozen.

  • I have to say that this was stunning! I was never a real ginger person but i an now converted. I made this yesterday and today i used it to make stem ginger icecream. Heaven. There wasnt enough syrup for me especially as you will wanted to use the syrup itself as a topping for icecream so would make more next time!

  • Covid 19 has stopped some activities so decided to make this recipe. I quadrupled the quantity for the boiling of the ginger and then made two batches of the ginger sugar syrup. Extremely flavoursome. A new recipe added to my other culinary feet’s. Many thanks for the use of your online recipe☺️
    Alison Dorset uk.

  • My daughter made some and gave me a bottle for Christmas – WOW! now just have to made LOTS of bottles for myself – so easy. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hello Kirk, sorry for the very late reply but I’ve been on a break from my blog. White sugar is the sugar to use, I’ll put it into the recipe to avoid confusion. Thanks for getting in touch.

    • Hello Tammy, sorry for the very late reply but I’ve been on a break from my blog.
      The stem ginger will last stored on the shelf in a sealed jar. Cooking the ginger in a high sugar syrup is enough to preserve it. Here in the UK we only use the water bath method for preserves made without sugar, salt or vinegar like tomatoes. Hope this helps.

  • Are you putting the finished product in a hot water bath to seal the canning jars? Is that why you are getting the self life? How long will it last if you just put it in a jar, did not seal it, and placed it in the fridge? It looks wonderful, but I am trying to figure out how to store the finished product… In the fridge, not sealed…. or canned/sealed on the shelf?

    • Hello Kim, apologies for such a late reply but I’ve been on a break from my blog. The stem ginger will last stored on the shelf in a sealed jar. Cooking the ginger in a high sugar syrup is enough to preserve it. Here in the UK we only use the water bath method for preserves made without sugar, salt or vinegar like tomatoes. Hope this helps.

  • Really simple and straightforward – thank you!
    Used the stem ginger I made in a recipe a friend gave me for ginger and lime ice cream – divine!

  • I just made this and it turned out perfectly. I have not yet tried it but it does look exactly the same as yours. I had my ginger frozen for about 2 weeks prior to making it. Thank you so much for this recipe for those of us in the USA and who want to make everything from scratch with high quality ingredients.

  • I love this recipe! It was easy, well written, and delicious. I love the syrup so much I run the risk of using it all before I use all the ginger. I wanted to give it 5 stars but the page won’t let me.

  • Love ginger it’s so good for you, I’m going to give this a go but use stevia instead of sugar, this may reduce the shelf life but that’s ok. Putting my ginger in the freezer now ready for making tomorrow, that’s a great tip. Thank you

  • Can you use cinnamon in stem ginger, and if so, how much. I use 325 grms fresh ginger to 1.5 cups sugar & 150 mls ginger cooking water. I cook the ginger first (covering & simmer in fresh water around 1 hour; then cook a 2nd time using 150 mils of 1st ginger cooking water, for a more gingery taste). Put in sterilised jar

    • Hi Hilary, cinnamon is a good idea to add to the stem ginger, the flavours go so well together. A small stick of cinnamon would be plenty as it is a strong spice. Thanks for popping by and do let me know how you get on.

  • Hi There,
    I have been boiling my ginger pieces for two days. They are not plump and yellow rather dark brown and hard. What am I doing wrong?
    Thank you,
    Ulrika

    • Hi Ulrika, that does sound strange. Maybe it’s the fresh ginger you are using, the older ginger is tougher but freezing it usually tenderises it. It’s best to bring the ginger to a boil and simmer gently for an hour, so boiling for 2 days may have overcooked the ginger. The only thing I can think of besides the ginger is that if you added sugar to cook the ginger, sugar does tend to harden if added before the ginger is nice and tender. Hope this helps, do let me know how you get on.

      • Hi Sarah, I really wonder if the roots you can buy in the supermarket are tender enough because I had the same experience. I will try again, freezing for a few days before the cooking. Thanks for this suggestion.
        Graham

    • Hello Mary, I haven’t kept mine in the fridge and it’s kept well, there is no sign of mould growth. I’ve got a couple of jars on my pantry shelf I made last October and it is still good to use. I’m hoping it will keep for 12 months like jams or preserves and I’ll update my post this October once I can be sure. Hope this helps 🙂

  • So glad I found this. I have hunted everywhere here in Los Angeles for stem ginger with no success and could only find it online. Americans have no idea what it is. I can’t wait to make my own batch now. Thank you!

  • Hi I was just wondering if the ginger needs defrosting before starting this recipe? It does look delicious. Also how long does it keep for unopened?

    • Hi Hannah, thanks for stopping by. Yes the ginger does need to be defrosted before starting. As far as how long the ginger keeps, I’ve made a few jars now and I’ve got a jar that is 6 months old and still ok. I”m going to keep it a year and try it just to check it will keep for that long like other sugar based preserving methods. Thanks for stopping by and do let me know how you get on 🙂

      • I’m late to the party here – hello from Virginia!
        I took it right out of the freezer and skinned it while it was still almost frozen – the skin just flies off. I doubled the recipe to put in little jars as part of Christmas baskets, and of course a bigger jar for myself. Melanie from Los Angeles, Virginia is still so culturally English that it isn’t impossible to find, but the Vietnamese grocery has it in big boxes for practically nothing, so the combination is perfect! Thank you, Sarah!

  • Well, I’m so very glad I saw this post on #cookonceeattwice. I love the idea of making your own stem ginger and I’ve now learnt you can freeze ginger – wow! What brilliant Christmas gifts these would make.

    • Thanks Choclette, glad you saw the post on #CookOnceEatTwice. The ginger grates much more easily when it’s frozen too so it’s a win win situation.

    • Thanks Boris, the flavour has all the ginger fruitiness and heat with a delicious sweet finish, perfect for ginger cookies or a cake.

    • Thanks Kate, I’ve made two more batches since so I have enough for gifts – I am saving a jar or two for us though 🙂

  • I love ginger whether its in savoury dishes or in desserts. But I have never tried homemade stem ginger before, sound really aromatic and delicious. Will definitely give this a go. 🙂

    • You’re most welcome Rosie, I couldn’t find any in Brittany either. The chocolate and stem ginger tiffin looked delicious didn’t it? Thanks for popping by, let me know how you get on 🙂

  • I love how easy this is to make Sarah. I love stem ginger it has a great flavour and clearly homemade would have an amazing flavour. great tip too about freezing the ginger root first. Definitely going to try this. Pinning.
    Angela x

    • Thanks Angela, if you love stem ginger then you’ll absolutely love making your own. Thanks for pinning, let me know how you get on x

    • Thanks Candace, it is so easy to make, I think people are put off making it because they think it’s a difficult process.

    • Thanks Kirsty, homemade gifts are so much more personal aren’t they? It also cuts down on all that Christmas shopping. x

    • Thanks Mandy, I’m going to make a few more jars to add to my Christmas hampers. Always a pleasure to link up to #CookBlogShare x

    • That’s handy to know, it’s almost the same method as making candied ginger except the sugar syrup isn’t crystallised. Thanks for popping by Lisa 🙂

  • I bake a lot using stem ginger, this is such a brilliant idea. Once our kitchen has been refitted I will definitely be making this. Great tip about freezing first too. I’ve found that with blackcurrants, freeze first and it cuts the jam Making session in half! Brilliant post x.

    • Thanks Sammie, you’ll be surprised how much better homemade tastes. Thanks for the tip about frozen blackcurrants, it’s my favourite jam, I’ll remember to freeze them first next year. A refitted kitchen sounds exciting, look forward to seeing it on IG x

    • Thanks Vicki, I love preserving and I’m always looking at the ingredients label on store bought jars to figure out how it’s made, very sad I know! It’s a pleasure to share 🙂

    • Thanks Eb, it really is easy to make. Jars of stem ginger are going into my Christmas hampers this year, I’m hoping friends and family enjoy it x

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