Making your own crystallized ginger is easy, and it makes a nice gift.The combination of granulated sugar and the golden lumps of Chinese yellow rock sugar (available at most Asian markets, results in an unusually full-flavored, soft-textured candy with a golden hue. Using all granulated sugar, however, is perfectly acceptable.
Cover the ginger in cold water and soak overnight. Drain and cover again with fresh water and bring to a boil. Drain and allow to cool.
Peel the ginger and cut into 1/8 inch slice; or if you choose, cut into sticks the width of thin, lacquered chopsticks, as did the ancient Chinese. Cover these pieces with water and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain and repeat this process; then drain again.
Put the sugar and a pinch of salt into a pan with 2 1/2 cups water. Bring this to a boil and simmer until the sugar is dissolved. Add the ginger pieces, bring to boil again, and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to sit for at least an hour.
Finally, turn on the heat and simmer, stirring from time to time, for at least 30 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Stir constantly at this point.
When the ginger is nearly dry, remove the pan from heat and continue to stir for another 5 minutes
Pluck out the pieces with chopsticks or small tongs and allow to cool and harden on wax paper.*
Crystallized ginger will keep indefinitely in a sealed container. Makes 1 1/2 pounds.
*Some of the ginger pieces may end up a bit damp or sticky, which is why crystallized ginger is typically coated with sugar. Feel free to toss these pieces in granulated sugar as they begin to cool, but use a light hand.