All the deliciousness of the stem ginger in syrup, with zero sugar! This easy homemade preserved ginger is sweet, spicy AND healthy, unlike the store bought jars. Perfect for eating and gifting, and the ginger syrup works great to give keto drinks and cocktails some guilt-free zing 🍸
I first found about preserved ginger while aimlessly browsing at supermarket shelves (a favorite pastime) and was super curious about it.
I love the peppery taste of ginger, added as a spice to food, especially stir-fries. The zestiness of ginger tea and the flavor that it lends to cakes and gingerbread cookies. The thin slices of gari made to eat in between sushi and sashimi. Ginger ale! The list goes on.
Ginger is not only incredibly unique in taste, but also a “superfood” – which is great, because the list of supercheap non-carby superfoods is far from exhaustive. If the hundreds of articles online are to be believed, ginger alleviates health conditions that range from motion sickness to menstrual cramps and even kills bacteria and fungus. Pretty magical stuff.
The store bought stem ginger in syrup is crazy delicious, but the sugar, man… no can do. So, I bought it out of curiosity, tasted it and loved it but the jar has remained sadly in the fridge for maybe a year now?
And there the sugary stuff is going to remain, to be used as a weapon when the day comes, because I thought, how hard can it be to DIY a keto version of this? Not hard at all! It just takes some time and 3 ingredients only: water, keto sweetener (xylitol or allulose are preferred), and ginger!
How to choose fresh ginger
- Pick ginger with smooth and shiny skin, not shriveled and pruny. The skins should also be on the thinner side, and you can test this by scratching the surface with your nail, it is good if it easily peels off. Imagine that you’ll have to remove this skin later…
- The root piece should feel heavy for it’s size, as an indication that it’s still full of moisture and not drying up.
- The freshest ginger will snap when broken. Try to tear an arm off. If it offers resistance, feels elastic or if it starts bending before it breaks, don’t buy it.
Cheap as it is, I went ahead and bought almost 1 kilo of ginger root and decided to just wash and peel all of it all at once, and keep what I was not going to use prepped and frozen for another time. Big mistake.
I peeled the whole kg of ginger by vigorously brushing the roots under water, which sounded easier than trying to use a knife or peeler, as they are full of nooks and crannies. Still, it took a crazy long time. And all the rubbing made the the spicy vapors so strong in the kitchen that my nose and eyes started burning. I think I got high from it because I swear I started seeing some odd shapes in the pieces. For example,
and there were other way less pretty and NSFW shapes too. I’ll leave it to your imagination 😁
How to make stem ginger in sugar-free syrup
It doesn’t get any easier: Just add all ingredients to a pan and bring it to a boil, stirring until the sweetener is completely dissolved.
Then, bring down the heat to very low, cover the pan, and let it simmer until the ginger gets softened. You can check this by piercing a piece with a fork. It should go through without much resistance.
How long to boil ginger
It took about 4 hours of simmering to soften this batch, which was my first. I know… 😕 Yours might get done sooner, so check as you go. Ginger roots will have different textures to start with, so some will take longer boiling time to soften than others.
It’s important to keep an eye on the level of water throughout the cooking time, as you don’t want it to dry out. Add a little more water when needed, boiling so not to bring down the temperature which will elongate the cooking time.
Extra tip: Freezing raw ginger
I’ve read around that if the ginger is frozen before cooking it will soften faster. I have a full bag of washed and chopped ginger sitting in the freezer now, and after we finish with this jar I’ll try again with the frozen one to test if the cooking time will be reduced or not.
Update: I found out what happened to my frozen ginger after 6 months… it turned into mush. Really, if I lightly squeeze the ginger in between my fingers, I juice it! So, freezing the ginger definitely works for softening it, but 6 months might be a tad too long…
If you’ve made this this keto friendly preserved ginger and would like to try it in a recipe, go and check out our gingerbread and walnut rum cake!!
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