Colds and flu swept through our house last week in the form of sniffly head colds followed by my son’s stomach flu. After he pleaded with me to buy him some gingerale to ease his tummy, I decided to make my own. It is easy to make and much nicer than canned pop. We don’t usually have pop in the house; it is a rare treat for my kids. I have much less guilt when I can create a version that is healthier and much less processed. Homemade gingerale begins with a simple ginger syrup and ends with soft and sweet crystallized ginger as a byproduct. The complete recipe is below.
Other ways to use ginger:
- Fresh ginger is also a key ingredient in the curry pastes that Erin and I make. We make large quantities of this and freeze it in icecube trays for easy addition into recipes.
- I love to add fresh ginger to fruit and vegetables when I am juicing them. It adds a vibrant pungency to the juice and has detoxifying benefits. I especially like it with an apple/carrot juice blend. You only need a thumbsize piece of ginger to start as it really packs a punch. I tend to love it much more than my husband and daughter – they both complain profusely when I add it to the juice, but I’m convinced that one day their taste buds will come around to the flavour.
- In cookies – I was never a huge fan of gingerbread cookies until Erin and I made them with fresh ginger (in addition to dried). What a difference! I suggest adding adding a few teaspoons to your next gingerbread cookie recipe.
- Crystallized ginger works beautifully with all the ingredients in carrot cake, the earthiness of the carrots and the warm combination of spices. Toss some finely chopped crystallized ginger into your next carrot cake recipe and be surprised by the complexity of flavours it creates.
- Gingerale by day, Ginger Martini by night. Stir together 2 oz vodka, 2 oz ginger syrup (below), and a splash of lemon juice. Garnish with a slice of crystallized ginger.
Ginger Syrup and Crystallized Ginger
Yield: 2 cups ginger syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar, natural and unprocessed
- 2 cups ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
- extra sugar for coating
- sparkling water and lemon for serving
In a pot on low-medium heat, dissolve sugar in water and bring to a simmer.
Add in sliced ginger, simmer for 20 minutes, then turn off heat and allow to steep for 1 hour (you can leave it longer, it only intensifies the flavour).
Strain ginger, reserving the ginger syrup.
Toss ginger in sugar then place in a single layer on a parchment covered cookie sheet.
Bake at 225 degrees F for 2 hours. Allow to cool.
To make gingerale add a few tablespoons of ginger syrup to a glass and top with sparkling water (amount of syrup/water ratio can be adjusted to your own taste). I like to add a squeeze of lemon to mine.
Syrup keeps up to a week or for two months in freezer.
Crystallized ginger lasts a long time as long as you\'ve dried it out sufficiently. Store in airtight container.