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Dec 5, 2009 04:09 PM

Crystalized vs. Candied Ginger

Hi All,
Just trying to make a ginger bundt cake here. Recipe calls for crystalized ginger, but I could only find "candied non-crystalized ginger". Do you think it would destroy my cake if I used that instead?

I'm going to try it in five minutes anyway, just wanted another opinion.

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  1. From Penzey's website:
    "Ginger, Crystallized - Crystallized ginger is ginger that has been cooked in a sugar syrup and then coated with sugar. It has a wonderful sweet spicy taste that goes well with the refreshing flavor of lemon. You can buy crystallized or candied ginger in small tins at specialty grocery stores or in bulk form from health food stores. It will last indefinitely if stored in a cool dry place. "

    It's really the same thing, I don't understand why the product you bought states "non-crystallized."

    Edit: Hope I'm not to late to help.

    15 Replies
    1. re: bushwickgirl

      Candied 'Non-crystallized' ginger is just candied ginger that isn't finished with a dip in sugar.

      Imo, though, it's a bit of a misnomer. If it isn't dipped in sugar, it really shouldn't be called 'candied.'

      1. re: scott123

        I looked all over for that info, as I thought that might be that subtle difference, just couldn't find anything definitive.
        Actually it's not a misnomer, as candied and crystallized ginger are both rolled in sugar. The process of cooking the ginger in sugar syrup is why it's called candied, rather than the sugar roll.

        1. re: bushwickgirl

          That's one interpretation ;) Ask a thousand people on the street what candied ginger is and every single one of them will described crystallized, sugar rolled ginger, not ginger just cooked in syrup. I guess, technically, anything cooked in syrup could be labeled 'candied,' but... the sugar roll defines candied ginger.

          Imo :-)

          1. re: scott123

            "every single one of them will describe crystallized, sugar rolled ginger, not ginger just cooked in syrup." As would I.
            But obviously, there is candied ginger without the sugar, as your link noted, and I believe this form is still classified as "candied" ginger, and, for clarity, you could add, "without the sugar."
            Is the sugar coating inherent to the pedigree of the product? My point is that I don't believe that the sugar coating defines candied or crystallized ginger, rather it's more the actual candying process, as I stated. If you took a slice of raw ginger and dipped it in sugar, would it be candied ginger? I think not.
            So we agree to disagree.
            And now the OP has probably made his/her cookies, found them to be great, ate them all and went to bed.

        2. re: scott123

          I buy both at Trader Joes and they're very different. The crystallized is hard and the candied is soft and chewy. I don't find them to be readily interchangable, not that I haven't used either in a pinch.

          1. re: coll

            My ex-local supermarket in Brooklyn, which is actually right down the street from Trader Joe's now, has (as labelled) crystallized ginger, which is always soft and chewy. It's sugared as well.
            I wil have to get to TJ and see what's up; the mystery deepens...

            1. re: bushwickgirl

              I'm sure they're all different, it's just the easiest place for me to find stuff like that. TJs is fun, although I don't think I could make a complete meal from there, I go a few times a year and stock up on fun things. Hard to describe, really.

              1. re: coll

                I was thinking that maybe TJ's re-labels it's candied ginger as crystallized, when it dries out a bit, but, no, that's wrong, they have a better rep than that, I hope. Just a random thought.
                Gotta go soon and get some chocolate for a cake, heard TJ's has a good deal on that. I'll check out the ginger, too. Mm-mm, choccolate-covered ginger!

                1. re: bushwickgirl

                  All the various Belgium chocolates packed under their brand are as good as anything else out there. And they already make chocolate covered ginger bites, it's sold in the clear tubs in the freezer aisle along with everything else covered in chocolate you can think of (the roasted pistachio toffee covered in chocolate is dangerously addictive).

                  1. re: coll

                    Thanks, coll, that sounds great.
                    Just to confuse the ginger issue further I saw an older episode of Chopped last night (the infamous "I dont like onions" episode) and Ted Allen defined crystallized ginger as "candied ginger rolled in sugar."
                    So, who the hell knows...It's nice that we have all these choices, however,

                    1. re: coll

                      "All the various Belgium chocolates packed under their brand are as good as anything else out there."

                      They are, in fact, Callebaut.

                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                        TJs pound plus is really re-branded Callebaut? Seriously?

                        If that's the case, it's a shame that they don't do a white pound plus bar. Callebaut white is the only white I'll buy, but, because most places that sell wrap Callebaut in foodservice film, I tend to avoid it, due to the fact that the film allows the chocolate to absorb odors (including the garbage they coat film with to make it non stick).

                        1. re: scott123

                          For years, it was rumored that TJ's Pound Plus and other own label Belgian chocolate was Callebaut. Around three years ago, a batch some of the smaller Belgian chocolate bars (clearly same chocolate as PP) went out with the Callebaut name stamped in the chocolate, presumably in error. It was a "Gotcha! So, it's true" moment (I found this out because I bought some; others have also posted about it on Chowhound).

                          I think at one time they did have a white PP bar (pretty sure I remember seeing it, but I don't buy white chocolate), but you know how TJ's is: if something doesn't sell well/consistently, they discontinue it, and perhaps that happened.

                    2. re: bushwickgirl

                      I was just in TJ's - they had both. They were both tender, like a softer dried apricot. The candied had sugar on it.

                      1. re: meatn3

                        Maybe one of mine was older than the other? But the one I liked was just like an apricot in texture, I ended up just eating it plain.

          2. and, for baking purposes the soft & chewy, moist variety is going to give you a much nicer bite and mouth feel than a gritty, harder ginger piece will. :)

            1. As an aside to the entire controversy, I have found that chewing a piece of TJ's product, the chewy kind, helps with nausea and stomach aches. p.j.

              1. Hi,
                I believe that CANDIED, means to cook in a sugar syrup, like candied orange peel or grapefruit peel. The crystallized, I think refers to rolling it in more sugar. I have had crystallized that is's generally because it is dried out.
                My question: If you have ginger that has been candied and rolled in sugar, and then say 6 months later, you notice that it looks wet, and the sugar crystals are gone, is it okay to eat? I've been told to just reroll it in sugar, and I've also been told to throw it out. Any Ideas? Thanks

                1 Reply
                1. re: nafakama

                  Sure, you can eat it, either re-roll it in sugar, which isn't really necessary unless you want the sugar on it, or just eat or bake with it as is. Sugar, being hygroscopic, has absorbed the moisture from the ginger, or perhaps from storage in a humid location, and has dissolved.

                  As far as the definition of the two, it has been pretty much been ascertained that both styles of ginger are candied, as in cooked in a sugar syrup, and that crystallized has been rolled in sugar as well, although I still continue to see ginger prepared in this manner, rolled in sugar and labelled "candied" ginger...

                2. REally surprised a bunch of foodies are stumped by this Q. Candied is cooked in sugar syrup til soft. Crystallized is cooked in sugar syrup til soft, and then a little longer til the syrup re-crystalizes around the fruit, or ginger as the case may be. Rolling it in sugar is a short cut, probably to save the cost of a longer cooking time.