ginger up

5 06 2008

HURRY!!! After discovering the flavour of wild ginger during my scrumptious foraged dinner, I have JUST learned that we are at the tail end of its season for the whole year! Wild ginger is usually found in April and May – at least in Zone 5. More northerly zones might have it a little later in the season. But I still say HURRY!

Yesterday I went for a walk in the woods, and I was able to find some of this lovely root. It’s easy to identify with its soft heart-shaped leaves, and once you dig the root out, you will notice a pungent ginger aroma.

To use the ginger, you’ll need to break off the darkened root and peel off the outside. Be sure to clean out any dirt that clings to the crevices. You can see the piece I’ve peeled and cleaned off in the middle of the photo.

When using the wild ginger in a recipe, you won’t need very much. Its flavour is VERY strong. So don’t overpick it when you’re out in the forest – I picked three roots for the following recipe.

Wild Ginger Syrup

1 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 cups sugar

2-3 inches worth of wild ginger root

Combine the water and sugar in a pot and bring to a simmer. Peel 2-3 inches worth of wild ginger root and add. Simmer uncovered for 35 – 45 minutes. When the syrup has reduced to about half its original volume, remove from heat. Strain and discard the ginger.

Store the syrup in a clean glass jar in the refrigerator. It should keep for up to 6 months. Drizzle it over ice cream, or your favourite apple crisp, or… well the list is endless, really!

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