Considered a kind of gourmet foodstuff, ginger syrup is a type of syrup made from ginger root and sugar. Easy to make at home, it can also be found in many grocery and specialty stores. Ginger syrup in an inventive, more complex, substitute for pancake syrup, as well as being useful as a glaze, a flavoring for teas and alcoholic drinks, an ice cream topping, and to make homemade ginger ale.
Ginger syrup is made with just three ingredients: water, sugar, and fresh ginger root. Occasionally a recipe might call for lime juice or grated lime peel as well, but this is rare. The sugar is usually simple white granulated sugar, but a few recipes suggest using brown sugar. Ginger root, native to Asia and used in many Asian dishes, can be found in the produce section of most grocery stores. It is a light tan, knobby root with a rough skin and a spicy-sweet taste.
The skin of the root must be removed before the ginger is used. Using the edge of a spoon to peel the skin away is the simplest method of removal. Once the skin is removed, the ginger should be cut into pieces. Recipes vary on the size of pieces to use. Some suggest large chunks, some advise finely dicing the root, and others prefer using a blender. The smaller the pieces are cut the more surface area is exposed for the syrup to absorb the ginger flavor.
Once the ginger is cut, the sugar and water are boiled in a pan until the sugar dissolves. Then the ginger is added, and the heat is reduced. The mixture is allowed to simmer for about an hour. For a stronger, spicier taste, allowing the mixture to sit overnight is suggested. Otherwise, when simmering is complete, the mixture is allowed to cool, the ginger is removed, and the liquid is strained. The syrup can then be stored in the refrigerator until use.
Candied ginger can also be made when making ginger syrup at home. If candied ginger is desired, the root should be cut into 1 inch (2.54 cm) cubes or thin slices. The mixture should be allowed to simmer for two hours to ensure the ginger is softened. Once simmered, the ginger is removed, placed in a pan with sugar, and tossed to coat. Then, the cubes are allowed to dry overnight. Another use of ginger syrup is to mix the syrup with seltzer water to produce a homemade ginger ale.