Forest Edible: Wild Ginger

For the first feature of the series of wild edibles in this blog Wild Ginger is a worthy first. Wild Ginger is prevalent and easily identifiable. Wild Ginger has the spice and sweetness of cultivated ginger, making use of the rootstock, this wild edible can be boiled until tender and then candied for a sweet pick me up or can be dried and powdered for an additional spice in the cabinet. Wild Ginger appears often in forests and is generally easily accessible from the trail.

The iconic heart shaped leaves and the long rootstock underground make this wild edible easily identifiable. The aroma of the rootstock is similar to cultivated ginger and can confirm the find. The flower is solitary, bell shaped, red-brown with 3 spreading lobes and a wooly leafstalk.

They grow in woodlands and usually near or around rocks. The flower blooms in spring from April-May and foraging should generally occur in late summer or fall in order to ensure the plant completes its lifecycle and procreates by clone or reproduction. They spread throughout the undergrowth and can grow into impressive colonies.

Preparation is simple, after harvesting the rootstock, cut into pieces and boil. Pieces can be cleaned, dried and crushed into powder. Wild Ginger is generally considered a good remedy for stomach discomfort and is known as Colic Root.

I know I am looking forward to finding this spring's Wild Ginger. Do you have any experiences preparing Wild Ginger? Any special stories to be told or photographs to share?

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