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Kitchen Queries

Welcome to Kitchen Queries, where the nigella.com team will answer your cooking or food related questions.  We’d love you to submit some of your recipe problems, dilemmas or queries for us to get our teeth into!

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Latest Queries

  • Preserved Ginger in Christmas Cakes

    In the recipe for a Boozy Christmas cake, one of the ingredients calls for preserved root ginger balls. What exactly is this? Here in the US we have candied ginger. Is this is acceptable as an alternative and if so what would the quantity be? Thanks, Deborah

    From the nigella team:

    The Boozy Christmas Cake on Nigella's website has been posted by a website user and is not Nigella's own recipe. Therefore we we have not tested the recipe ourselves. However preserved stem ginger is an ingredient that is popular in the UK and often appears in baking recipes. It is young root ginger that has been peeled and cooked then preserved in a sugar syrup. It comes in a jar and is submerged in the sugar syrup.

    For NIgella's books we tend to use candied (crystallized) ginger instead of preserved root ginger as it is the closest substitute that is readily available in the US. Although the texture is slightly different they both have a strong ginger flavour and are both sweet. One ball of preserved ginger is around 2 teaspoons (unchopped) and weighs around 2/3 oz (20g). We would guess that you will need about 3 tablespoons of chopped candied ginger to equate to the 3 balls of preserved ginger in the recipe. If you would like to try preserved stem ginger then you can sometimes buy it on-line and we have found a possible supplier in the US (see link below). Once opened the ginger does last for quite a while but should be stored in the refrigerator.

    You could also try making your own preserved ginger which involves peeling root ginger (as young as possible), cutting it into appropriate sized balls and simmering it in water until tender. Reserve the water and use this to make a sugar syrup with equal quanties of sugar to the reserved water then simmer the ginger gently in the syrup for about 1 hour, until the syrup has taken on the consistency of light corn syrup. Cool and chill the ginger in the syrup before using.


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