Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Made In The Pressure Cooker: Ginger-Vanilla Syrup

I saw this recipe mentioned in a pressure cooker newsletter a couple weeks ago and was immediately smitten with the idea.  I felt it was urgent to get some ginger immediately to I sent Husband Jeff a quick text message in case he went to the grocery store that day (he didn't).  It was right around Memorial Day weekend and I knew we were too busy to even deal with making this recipe, so I didn't push to go to the grocery store that night.  I ended up buying ginger a few days later and made it on Monday night. I was particularly inspired to make this recipe as soon as I could to show my friend Jessica since she bought her husband a SodaStream carbonated beverage machine but they've only used it a few times to make sparkling water but that's about it.  I'm guessing they don't know what to do with it other than using the pre-made flavorings that you can buy that go with the machine, so here's an idea.

This recipe originally called for 4 cups of water, but that version cooks for an hour to reduce down the liquid.  My version is made in the pressure cooker, where the water doesn't evaporate away much, so I started with the end amount of water. My pressure cooker needs only a minimum of 1/2 cup of water to reach pressure, so I had no problem reducing the water down to half the original recipe. 

The recipe didn't include vanilla, but this was the perfect reason to use up my remaining vanilla bean, it was a bit shriveled up and dried out.  I was saving it for making a special jelly, but I don't think I'm going to make any jelly this year, so I might as well use it here.

You can make this recipe without a pressure cooker, just cook it in an uncovered pot for 45 minutes to 1 hour, as described in the original recipe.  



  • 8oz ginger
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 vanilla bean, split (optional)


Wash and rinse the ginger. Slice the ginger into rounds and then chop some more into rough pieces. 

Add the ginger, water, sugar, salt, and optional vanilla bean to the pressure cooker.  Go ahead and turn the burner on now while you're stirring it all up.  Might as well save time if you can! 
Sugar, water, salt, and ginger all in the pot. 
Added a vanilla bean and stirred.

Lock the pressure cooker and set it to high pressure if you have that option.  Since it was such a small amount of water, it got hot pretty quickly for me.  Cook at high pressure for 22 minutes and adjust the temperature to keep it at high pressure.  In the first five minutes of cooking the awesome pungent smell of ginger filled our kitchen, but as it continued to cook it wasn't as fragrant. 
Pressure cooking. 
After 22 minutes, take the pressure cooker off the burner and do a natural pressure release, which is easy since you let it sit and don't do anything.  I let mine sit for a while to cool since I was off doing other things in the house. Remove the lid and take a look at the chopped bits of ginger.  Huh, not much different than when you put it in, just a little darker because you left the skin on. 
After cooking, this is what it looked like.
I poured the syrup through a strainer and funnel combo (strainer put in a funnel) to get it into Sonny D's little glass pitcher. 


I mixed up a La Croix sparkling lime water with two tablespoons of the syrup so I could try it out before I went to bed.  I love it!  It's definitely got some ginger bite.  The next day I had another version with coconut sparkling water and it was great, too.   The vanilla bean flecks sink to the bottom of the syrup so you might want to stir it before pouring, but that's no big deal. 
Sparkling water + ginger-vanilla syrup = tasty drink!
I don't drink alcoholic beverages much, but I'm trying to come up with a recipe that would use this.  I would love a riff on the Dark & Stormy (ginger beer and rum).  I need to check out what alcohols we've got in the pantry to see what I can whip up.  
I've got some chocolate mint growing in the garden and no plans on what to do with it yet, so I think I'll probably end up making a chocolate mint syrup. That version won't need as much cooking, the recipes I'm finding say only 3-5 minutes of cooking on the stovetop.  You can also make fruit versions, which I'll probably try out this summer too.

Wanna Chat?

I turned off the 'leave a comment' feature, so if you want to share what you're thinking about this or anything else, drop me an email at jhk1013 (at) gmail.com. It's so much more cozy than a comment, plus we can have a real conversation!