March 26, 2012

For the last several years, I have examined my food purchasing carefully. I’ve done everything I can to embrace living locally, knowing and supporting my farmers. I’ve joined CSAs, gone to farmers’ markets in snow and rain. I’ve held fast against Trader J’s styrofoam and plastic wrapping. And refused to buy at Whole YouKnowWhat when they offered only apples from Argentina – in August – during local apple season. Being part of the lower carbon footprint food chain makes me feel as though I am participating in something bigger than me.

Yet, every year, I stepped outside that 100 mile radius for one fruit, for the glorious, juicy, floral sweet taste unlike anything else, the champagne mango.*

They are intoxicating and I can’t quit them. Please believe me. I have no end of support for local farmers, I am completely committed to my farmers. My friends.  And, yes, I disdain Blueberries from Chile. But then the mangoes appear. And I falter. They are in season now …in Mexico and Central America This is the time of year the champagne mango is available. As are papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, citrus, and ginger.

Each year I make a batch of champagne mango chutney. I’ve written about it here. And published the recipe here. But there was one issue with the chutney that frustrated me. The ginger. I loved the fresh taste the ginger coins – fresh, peeled, 1/8” thick rounds of ginger – provided, but wished they were more edible. The ginger just wasn’t cooked long enough to be pleasant to eat. And while many substitute crystalized ginger, it just melts away leaving more flavor than texture, and sugar in a way I can’t control. It’s texture I want the ginger to give me, in addition to heat and sweet tones.

Christine Ferber has a wonderful (French) cookbook Agrumes and Fruits Exotiques, and since I picked it up last summer in Alsace, I’ve been dreaming of that heady mango flavor in preserves . Many of the tropical fruit recipes mention confit de gingembre. And the more research I did, the more I understood. Confit of ginger – very like making candied citrus – it’s not quite candied, not too sweet, and infinitely more edible than those ginger coins.

In fact, now that I’ve made it, I understand it even more. It’s an extraordinary condiment, all ginger, spicy, sweet, and then incredible heat. I can’t wait to serve it with chana masala. Lunch today was homemade ricotta, champagne mango and confit of ginger. I’m so happy.

I will be using the confit to add the ginger flavor to preserves. I’m trying out some new flavors for the tropical fruit season that I will be posting soon, so start scouting around for good looking fruits. In the meantime, I suggest you make this ginger confit. It’s a nice little bit of heaven to have on the shelf.

But, just to be clear, I put all the blame on Christine Ferber and her adorable book for this falling off the local-produce-wagon. I’ll jump back on in a minute, I promise. But this year, for some reason, the lure of fruits exotiques is just too much for me.

And by the way, even though peeling and matchsticking half a pound of ginger is possibly the worst task I’ve ever struggled through in the kitchen, I’ve started another batch, this time with Kaffir lime leaves (4) and a small bird chile, seeded and slivered. A spicy ginger confit will be the perfect addition to chutneys this summer.

*In the interest of truth in the blogosphere, we also enjoy avocados, artichokes, lemons, limes and other citrus. French cheese. Italian olive oil. English tea. Peet’s coffee. And wines, beers and spirits from around the world.

Ginger Confit
Four day process for three half pints plus a little extra
Worth it.

1/2 lb. fresh ginger
4 c sugar
4 c water

Peel and matchstick the ginger. This is a hateful task.
Soak the ginger in ice water overnight.
The next day, drain the ginger and put it in a small saucepan. Cover with cold water.
Bring to a boil, then pour off the water, cover with cold water and bring to a boil again.
Strain off the water one more time, then cover with cold water and bring it to a boil one more time. Strain off the water and set the ginger aside.
In a 3 quart heavy saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil.
Add the ginger, and let it steep in the sugar syrup overnight.
The next day, strain out the ginger and bring the syrup to a boil. Add back the ginger and let it steep again for twelve hours, or the next day.
Once again, strain out the ginger and bring the syrup to a boil. Add back the ginger and let it steep again for twelve hours, or the next day.
The final day, make sure you have your sterilized jars, canning pot filled with water, and all that jazz set up.
Bring the ginger and syrup to 220°, using tongs, pack the ginger into jars, then divide the syrup.
Clean the top of the jars carefully, place the lids, tighten the rings, and process for 10 minutes.

Ginger Confit on Punk Domestics

46 Responses to “ginger confit”

  1. Jayne

    Oh this does sound and look good but I don’t know if I can stand making the matchsticks!! What patience you have.

  2. Kimmy @ Lighter and Local

    Oh wow. I love ginger… that looks fantastic. I always feel that eating local and regional is a game of moderation. You do what you can, and that’s still more than the average person. You can’t drive yourself batty over it. 🙂

  3. gluttonforlife

    I blame you for my non-sustainable addiction to champagne mangoes–just had them with vanilla ice cream and coconut caramel. This ginger confit is a must-make!!

  4. Julia

    That is truly amazing. When I first saw that bowl of ginger, I thought: oh, that doesn’t look fun. But that final product? That looks like it just might be worth it.

  5. Linda

    Your wonderful use of spices during the year of Charcutepalooza really started me thinking about spice and herb combinations in ways that I hadn’t before. I’ve now begun experimenting and I really like learning about combinations. At first, I kept consulting various spice and herb books and “Culinary Artistry” but they always seemed to contain the expected and I want the unexpected. Although I live in north Idaho, I have a bay tree, lemon verbena tree, rose geranium, spearmint, and even a blood orange tree that overwinter in my sunroom. Although I haven’t been able to get that blood orange tree to bear fruit, the herbs do wonderfully. Indeed, I had to cut back my bay last spring because it had reached a whopping fifteen feet!

    I look forward to more of your posts about canning and herbs and spices and exotic fruits! I’ve been canning for years and now I need something different! That ginger confit is top on my list!

  6. Brook

    There’s a kitchen tool that may help you with the tedious ginger slicing task. It’s got a series of parallel super-sharp blades that you run down fruits and vegetables to make perfectly julienned shreds. I use it for making Vietnamese green mango salad.

    The Wok Shop usually stocks them, but they’re out of stock at the moment:

    I found mine at a local Korean market for about $5 Canadian.

    Happy shredding!

    • Brook

      PS Have you tried peeling ginger with the blade of a spoon? It makes fast and easy work of it.

        • Rita K

          We peeled 3 lbs of ginger last summer — peeler, grapefruit spoon, knife — our hands were on fire at the end (should have used gloves) — it was hideous. My ginger was to be fermented; it is not edible. So much work for no good results. I wanted that slightly sweet softened ginger that is served with sushi ……. FAIL.

  7. Shonagh

    I’m wondering if this could be done more classically with oil rather than sugar? That could be a very nice addition to chutney without adding all that excess sugar. Maybe I’ll try it!

    Great idea. Ginger is one of my favorite flavours.

    • Cathy

      Great question! It wouldn’t work for confitures or chutneys, as the oil would make it unacceptable for canning, but I think it might be a good preservation technique for ginger for stir fry, for instance.

      • Maxanna

        We store our ginger in Mirin (a rice wine- lower in alcohol content than sake) in a pint size Ball Jar (I use a plastic lid). It just sits out on our kitchen counter. No need to replace the Mirin- just add ginger when you’ve used all in the jar.

  8. Barbara | Creative Culinary

    While I heartily applaud your efforts to keep it local, I think we all have desires for foods that we would never have locally. Like you, I won’t succumb to South American imports to allow me to have blueberries in December preferring to stock up when in season and make do with my own frozen cache but if I were to do only local, I would never have tasted a French wine, a Meyer lemon or developed a total addiction to blood oranges, so I don’t think it’s goes against what you stand for to also allow yourself the luxury of something you love that isn’t available in a local market.

    This confit sounds divine, I love the taste of ginger. So you cut it by hand hmm…I’m wondering if my mandoline could do that for me? Although I admit that after a winter of witnessing 3 mandoline accidents in the blogosphere I’m not as quick to want to pull it out!

    • Sue

      Go to local restaurant supply or online and find one of these gloves. Mever another mandolin accident! They are amazing. Microplane 34007 Kitchen Cut-Protection Glove

    • Cathy

      please let me know if it works. I had an incident with my mandoline and it’s been banished…

  9. Eric

    Aside from attractiveness… what’s the reason for peeling ginger? Not that there is anything wrong with attractiveness!

    • Cathy

      Really, just for the look, I suppose. And then there are those hairy roots that I definitely don’t want in my preserves!

        • Judi Uvick

          I have peeled tender skined things like new potatoes by scrubbing with a new grill cleaning pad made with nylon. They are available in different ranges of coarseness , for scrubbing various surfaces, from joystick pans to rusty outdoor tools, and should work well to scrub the hide from ginger, along with the root hairs.
          Oops! For joystick pans please read nonstick pans.

  10. Shelly Donahue

    This is fantastic, what a great thing to have on hand. Psyching myself up for all the peeling and matchsticking as I really have to make this!

  11. shallotry

    Each time you drain off the water, are you saving that water to use for the steeping? (And I’ll take your word for the necessity of all the water changes, but what’s the reason behind it?)

    • Cathy

      I did actually sip the water I drained off – it was just ginger tea, and very tasty, but it also had a bunch of dirty looking stuff floating on the top of the water during each of those “baths.” So, the end product is clear and pristine with no floating icky stuff. I thought to do it because I use this same technique for candied citrus, all a bunch of experimentation!!

  12. Rhonda

    This looks amazing, I must try this immediately. The only question I might have is how long will it last after opening & what is the approximate time will it hold in the pantry?
    Thanks for the recipe!

    • Cathy

      This is the first year I’ve made it. I expect it will last about a month, once opened. If you make it, please let me know!

  13. Lisa

    Dear Cathy, let me just say – CHAMPAGNE MANGOES! I had never heard of such a critter before, and to be honest, when it comes to Mangoes, I can take or leave ’em. HOWEVER – I was in The Fresh Market yesterday getting a duck breast for the prosciutto recipe (currently in progress, along with the salmon…) and there they were, in the middle of the produce section: Champagne Mangoes — $1.00 each. Can you stand it? I got two. There’s only one left, and its demise is at hand!

    Great! One more thing – like Honeycrisp apples – for me to love, that’s only available for a limited time. (Too bad Honeycrisp are never $1.00 each!)


  14. Celia

    Quick question: I got a great deal on ginger and am making a double recipe of this. About how much ginger went into each jar? With a pound of ginger all cut up and steeping it only seems like I have enough to fill maybe 1/3 of a half-pint jar if I make six jars. Is this right? I’m worried that it’ll be mostly syrup.

    • Cathy

      Hi Celia,
      I filled the jars about 2/3 full, then topped with syrup. I had three half pints plus a little more.

      • Celia

        Thank you! I suppose I’ll see how it goes when I get to the canning! It smells lovely.

  15. anna saint john

    i’m in day 3 with a 6x batch. what i noticed right away with the syrup-making stage is that part of the recipe doesn’t multiply at the same rate. i would think the original 4c water & 4c sugar could easily handle 2+ pounds of ginger. i’m thinking i’ll be using the leftover ginger syrup for . . . just about everything!!!

    • Cathy

      Oh! Interesting! (I’ll be happy to take some ginger syrup off your hands!) Gingerale?

  16. Nywoman

    Am in the final stage, waiting for it to reach 220 degrees. Funny I didn’t find it at all tedious to make the match sticks. Had the TV on and watched past episodes of SMASH. It helped that I had just had my knife sharpened at the farmers market.

    Started with one lb of ginger which made 4 cups matchsticks. My final yield is exactly 3 half pints and a lot of extra syrup. Wonder if it will make good base for ginger ice cream?

    • Cathy

      I canned the syrup (same 10 minute processing) and plan to use it to make ginger ale in the summer.

  17. Traca, Seattle Tall Poppy

    I had the most amazing scone at Blue Scorcher in Astoria, OR. It was made with ginger confit. While I make a ginger scone with crystalized ginger, the confit put it over the moon! I’m so making this. Thank you! Puzzle solved. 🙂

  18. Kitchen Butterfly

    Making this right now……I didn’t julienne the ginger, I sliced some as thin as I could – for candying; and then diced the others. I plan on making a ginger jam, using homemade apple pectin once the 4 days are over :-)…..its heaven over yogurt, with a sprinkling of silvered almonds.

    • Cathy

      I loved your blog post on the ginger confit, but these ideas for using the ginger water are even more wonderful, if that’s possible! Thank you so much for posting this. xo

  19. isabelle

    Any advice about making ginger jam from this method? at which point in time should I add the pectin, how much, and how long should I boil it? Thank you



  1.  Some new and different preserves with mango, pineapple, papaya, bananas. — Mrs Wheelbarrow's Kitchen
  2.  Fresh Ginger, Three Ways: Confit, Jam, Candy | Kitchen Butterfly

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