Posted on 6 Comments

Candied wild ginger- a Recipe “from fresh”

Candied Wild Ginger 2013-Apothecary's Garden
Wild Ginger - Asarum Canadense,Ontario
Wild Ginger – Asarum Canadense,Ontario

Since I posted my recipe for candied wild Ginger made from dry wild Ginger, I have been itching to make the “from fresh” version.

I had to be patient, waiting till it had finished flowering and seeding itself, it seemed the polite, considerate thing to do. No one likes to be disturbed while procreating. So Friday I went out and spent three hours on my hands and knees harvesting fresh wild Ginger for our recipe. Did I mention I turned 59 last Saturday?!! I know it’s just a number, but allow me a little moaning and groaning. I have earned at least that for being in this body for so long. Harvesting, visiting my old friends was a lovely and of course fragrant experience, but after a winter in front of the computer, blogging, I am paying the price the past couple of days. My body aches, my butt hurts, my legs & lower back feel tender. A sudden, and extended sprint of, down on your knees bent over and reaching using both hands to cut and collect roots with the occasional elbow for support, has left me a little tender and sore days later. Thank God for St. John’s Wort Oil.

 

I harvested about 5 kg per hour or 15 kg of fresh wild Ginger which after drying would be about 4 Kg. Enough for a couple of good shareable batches of confection and syrup, while building up some stock for the extraction of essential oil. I need about 15 Kg. of dry wild ginger to properly charge my essential oil still and do an efficient extraction of this truly amazing and versatile essential oil. I sometimes feel I couldn’t make perfume or mens products without it.

 

I must admit the resulting candied recipe from fresh Wild Ginger is a little different. A little more succulent and tender than the same product from dry. They both have the same level of yumminess, taste and fragrance, but the winter version from dried is a tad, well, drier. Chewier. (I may try changing the recipe a bit and see if I can get it to reconstitute a bit more when cooking.)

 

Candied Wild Ginger 2013-Apothecary's Garden
Candied Wild Ginger 2013-Apothecary’s Garden

If you have already identified Asarum Canadense, know where to find some, or have a proven patch of Wild Ginger and have made its acquaintance, then you are almost ready to harvest. If you are new to this and have not yet identified Wild Ginger, then be aware there are some challenges, mostly along the lines of look-alikes . Luckily, in our area, none are harmful, and the worst experience you might have is mounting frustration from being misdirected by Colt’s foot, Wild Violets, or young Garlic Mustard. Don’t be surprised if you do not find it the first year of seeking. It took me a few years till I finally was granted an audience.

 

So, if you have

 

  • a decent photo,
  • a basic knowledge of where Wild Ginger does and does not grow,
  • and a functioning olfactory member,( nose), then it is only a matter of time before you find Wild Ginger.

Wild Ginger ONLY grows in the woods and forests, often on slopes, NEVER in the open, or on roadsides, stream banks, fields or deserted waste places. Coltsfoot will grow in all these places and will even penetrate somewhat into the woods. Coltsfoot will be your first imposter and will mislead you as long as you let it. They both grow in shaded areas, though Coltsfoot will tolerate sun, they both grow to about 8 inches in height and have 6-12 inch wide heart-shaped leaves. The similarities end there.

 

Coltsfoot has a scalloped edge to its leaf, a fine fur or fuzz on stalk and underside, has a stalk bearing multiple yellow compound flowers in very early spring before the leaf comes out, ( why it is also called son before father), and has an odd smell. Not a bad smell, but not fragrant or reminiscent of Ginger in the slightest way.

Wild Ginger
Wild Ginger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wild Ginger has a smooth-edged leaf, smooth on top and bottom, has almost a reflective sheen to it, as if it was embedded with tiny glass beads that shimmered a bit but only at the right angle. It unfurls its leaves in the spring before it flowers a dark purple, often downward facing flower which is completely hidden unless one lifts a leaf and exposes it. And of course, Wild Ginger is intensely and unmistakably fragrant!

 

Wild Ginger-Asarum Canadense, close up - Ontario
Wild Ginger-Asarum Canadense, close up – Ontario

HARVESTING

 

When you meet a plant for the first time, it is always courteous to greet it, introduce yourself, leave an offering or gift of some sort. Perhaps to state your intent. Many cultures ask permission to harvest. It is at the very least a relationship. What kind, or how rewarding a relationship it becomes often is up to us. I usually find one patch that is separate from the rest and I place an offering. I introduce myself if it’s a new patch that I never been to, or I simply say hello to an old friend and I usually leave something. It doesn’t matter what you give as long as you give something that has meaning to you. It could be some food it could be some tobacco or a symbolic offering. It could be Money or coins, or even something personal like spit or urine that is applied in a reverent and respectful manner. It’s symbolic of giving and taking, balance and harmony, of your intent. As in life in general, we get what we give. Once the introductions and gift exchange is done, I excluded that spot from harvesting.

 

One of the most important things about harvesting in the wild, or “Wildcrafting“, is keeping the well-being of the plants in mind, harvesting in a way that will be beneficial to the plants as well as to yourself. We don’t want to leave the patch struggling for years to recuperate from the effects of our harvesting or over harvesting.

 

For this reason I harvest patches that aren’t too noticeable, will grow in quickly over the course of two or three years and I also try to collect the older roots, the “Nexus” where there is a heavier concentration of older roots and old-growth. This way I collect from a richer area, spend less time harvesting, and facilitate the vigorous growth of younger shoots that will fill in the area quickly. I should point out here, since there have been questions about which part of the plant is used, that I remove all the leaves when I am harvesting, pinching them off with my thumbnail or harvesting tool. The rootlets are not the fragrant or useable part, but since there is so much soil clinging to them, I leave them on till I can wash out all the soil with water. It is the rhizome that is of interest to us.

 

As I mentioned in my earlier post on wild Ginger I enjoy harvesting with bone tools. I find that using metal for harvesting plants just doesn’t feel right. With my background of sculptor and craftsman, specializing in natural materials, I make my own simple bone harvesting tools. If anyone is interested I can probably provide bone “blanks” to carve or shape your own tools, or a ready to use bone or antler harvesting tool. I should have them displayed in my web-shop by July.

 

There is an abundance of information available on traditions and methods of harvesting plants in the wild from cultures all over the world. I could and should write a page on the subject because it is simply too much to add here and so very very important, it deserves its own page. Identifying and finding the plants we are looking for is only a small part of the path. In reality it only leads us to the door. What will you do once you enter Natures door? How will you behave? Will you behave as the best a human can be? And what does that mean? Treat others as you would be treated? What kind of relationship will you have with her? What quality of relationship will you have and what quality of products will you be able to make with Natures bounty? Is there a connection between the two? We are shifting away from quantity based agriculture and mass production. There is only one other and opposing path, and that is the path of the individual, not the masses. The path of depth, not breadth, intuition and not one size fits all generalized solutions . We are at the brink of, and being forced over the cliff into a new way of thinking and behaving in the world. Rethinking. Individual responsibility. Yes, well, perhaps a few pages will be needed to address methods and approach to Wildcrafting and our relationship with nature!

 

There are mixed opinions as far as what planet rules Wild Ginger. Her heart-shaped leaves and delightful fragrance indicate that she is ruled by Venus, her spiciness seems an indication of Mars being her ruler. I lean towards Venus, especially after working with the essential oil of Wild Ginger in perfumery. It adds a beautiful, depth and richness to a perfume. nothing like the sharpness or heat a Martian scent would share. Thus, the hours and days of Venus are when I harvest this fragrant herb.

 

astrological glyphs, planetary rulerships.
Astrological Glyphs- Planets and Asteroids Chaldean. Though Planets and their dynamics with each other and our world are one element at the core of Astrodynamics and Plant Alchemy. Each Plant is associated with an astrological sign, planet or both. They are said to resonate on similar frequencies, to share characteristics. Plants are at their peak energetically when their ruler is well aspected or exalted in the current natal chart

So pay attention to the stars. Some things you have to experience for your self, study yourself, and only you can say if it does or does not make a difference to the end product. Some wisdom cannot be given us, taught to us. Perhaps knowledge can be passed down, but wisdom we must earn from life and personal experience.

 

On a more mundane level.

 

There really is no way to clean Wild Ginger rhizomes of soil while you’re harvesting. A large quantity of water is necessary anyway you look at it, so I take my harvest home, and I put it in a very large container filled with water.

 

Never try to clean Wild Ginger in the sink in the house. It will eventually if not immediately clog your trap with silt and mud and add a lot of extra labor to your endeavor. Just because you managed to do this once with no apparent consequences, don’t be fooled, ( as I was).

 

It usually takes me two or three good washes in deep water scrubbing and stirring the roots and dumping out the dirty water or removing the clean rhizomes from the dirty water before washing them again.

 

Wild Ginger-Asarum Canadense, scrubbing clean keep changing the water till nothing more can be removed.
Wild Ginger-Asarum Canadense, scrubbing clean and keep changing the water till nothing more can be removed.

A Recipe for making Candied Wild Ginger using fresh rhizomes

-250 Grams, or 1 heaping cup of washed and cleaned Wild Ginger roots cut to 1/2 to 2 inch lengths
-500 Ml. or 2 cups water
-500 Grams or 2 cups white sugar
-extra sugar for coating
-This recipe can be doubled or tripled easily. It yields in its basic form, about 2 cups or 500 grams of candied treats.
—————————————————————-
-Bring water and sugar to a boil
-add cleaned and cut Wild Ginger rhizomes
-bring to a boil
-reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour
-When cooled to room temperature pour syrup mix and Wild Ginger into a glass jar.
-let sit closed for 3 days.
-Pour off syrup and boil till it reaches 125 degrees Celcius.
-Add Wild Ginger and boil for 15 minutes.
-When room temperature, remove Wild Ginger to a rack and allow to drip dry.
-When no more syrup is dripping from the rhizomes roll the pieces in sugar, making sure they are thoroughly coated.
-Let Ginger pieces sit in sugar overnight or for 8 hours.
-Shake off excess sugar and put your candied Wild Ginger in a sealed jar.
– It will keep for years if it does not get consumed first.

Recipe for Wild Ginger Pancake Syrup

Add the sugar from coating the Ginger to the syrup and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. Bottle it in sterile jars or decorative bottles where it should keep for a couple of months in a cool dark place. If not using sterile vessels it will keep in the fridge for an equal length of time.

 

I am almost at the final stage of changing over from wordpress.com to wordpress.org on a self hosted site, incorporating a storefront in the native layout. I will not go into too many details, but the past few weeks have been quite challenging and presented a few steep learning curves with all the expected frustrations and roadblocks. Now for the juggling act, to try to seamlessly transfer everyone over to my new site without anyone,( or googlebots), noticing. Or at least I hope it is not too jarring a transfer. So, sometime over the next few days I hope to do this, be prepared and bear with me while I switch moving vehicles on the highway! I will see you on the other side.

 

Dan

 

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Posted on 4 Comments

Candied Wild Ginger, a Recipe “from Fresh”

Wild Ginger - Asarum Canadense,Ontario

Since I posted my recipe for candied wild Ginger made from dry wild Ginger, I have been itching to make the “from fresh” version.

I had to be patient, waiting till it had finished flowering and seeding itself, it seemed the polite, considerate thing to do. No one likes to be disturbed while procreating. So Friday I went out and spent three hours on my hands and knees harvesting fresh wild Ginger for our recipe. Did I mention I turned 59 last Saturday?!! I know it’s just a number, but allow me a little moaning and groaning. I have earned at least that for being in this body for so long. Harvesting, visiting my old friends was a lovely and of course fragrant experience, but after a winter in front of the computer, blogging, I am paying the price the past couple of days. My body aches, my butt hurts, my legs & lower back feel tender. A sudden, and extended sprint of, down on your knees bent over and reaching using both hands to cut and collect roots with the occasional elbow for support, has left me a little tender and sore days later. Thank God for St. John’s Wort Oil.

I harvested about 5 kg per hour or 15 kg of fresh wild Ginger which after drying would be about 4 Kg. Enough for a couple of good shareable batches of confection and syrup, while building up some stock for the extraction of essential oil. I need about 15 Kg. of dry wild ginger to properly charge my essential oil still and do an efficient extraction of this truly amazing and versatile essential oil. I sometimes feel I couldn’t make perfume or mens products without it.

I must admit the resulting candied recipe from fresh Wild Ginger is a little different. A little more succulent and tender than the same product from dry. They both have the same level of yumminess, taste and fragrance, but the winter version from dried is a tad, well, drier. Chewier. (I may try modifying the recipe a bit and see if I can get it to reconstitute a bit more when cooking.)

Candied Wild Ginger, from dried rhizomes-2013
Candied Wild Ginger, from dried rhizomes-2013

If you have already identified Asarum Canadense, know where to find some, or have a proven patch of Wild Ginger and have made its acquaintance, then you are almost ready to harvest. If you are new to this and have not yet identified Wild Ginger, then be aware there are some challenges, mostly along the lines of look-alikes . Luckily, in our area, none are harmful, and the worst experience you might have is mounting frustration from being misdirected by Colt’s foot, Wild Violets, or young Garlic Mustard. Don’t be surprised if you do not find it the first year of seeking. It took me a few years till I finally was granted an audience.

So, if you have

  • a decent photo,
  • a basic knowledge of where Wild Ginger does and does not grow,
  • and a functioning olfactory member,( nose), then it is only a matter of time before you find Wild Ginger.

Wild Ginger ONLY grows in the woods and forests, often on slopes, NEVER in the open, or on roadsides, stream banks, fields or deserted waste places. Coltsfoot will grow in all these places and will even penetrate somewhat into the woods. Coltsfoot will be your first imposter and will mislead you as long as you let it. They both grow in shaded areas, though Coltsfoot will tolerate sun, they both grow to about 8 inches in height and have 6-12 inch wide heart-shaped leaves. The similarities end there.

Coltsfoot has a scalloped edge to its leaf, a fine fur or fuzz on stalk and underside, has a stalk bearing multiple yellow compound flowers in very early spring before the leaf comes out, ( why it is also called son before father), and has an odd smell. Not a bad smell, but not fragrant or reminiscent of Ginger in the slightest way.

Wild Ginger has a smooth-edged leaf, smooth on top and bottom, has almost a reflective sheen to it, as if it was embedded with tiny glass beads that shimmered a bit but only at the right angle. It unfurls its leaves in the spring before it flowers a dark purple, often downward facing flower which is completely hidden unless one lifts a leaf and exposes it. And of course, Wild Ginger is intensely and unmistakably fragrant!

Wild Ginger-Asarum Canadense, close up - Ontario
Wild Ginger-Asarum Canadense, close up – Ontario

HARVESTING

When you meet a plant for the first time, it is always courteous to greet it, introduce yourself, leave an offering or gift of some sort. Perhaps to state your intent. Many cultures ask permission to harvest. It is at the very least a relationship. What kind, or how rewarding a relationship it becomes often is up to us. I usually find one patch that is separate from the rest and I place an offering. I introduce myself if it’s a new patch that I never been to, or I simply say hello to an old friend and I usually leave something. It doesn’t matter what you give as long as you give something that has meaning to you. It could be some food it could be some tobacco or a symbolic offering. It could be Money or coins, or even something personal like spit or urine that is applied in a reverent and respectful manner. It’s symbolic of giving and taking, balance and harmony, of your intent. As in life in general, we get what we give. Once the introductions and gift exchange is done, I excluded that spot from harvesting.

One of the most important things about harvesting in the wild, or “Wildcrafting“, is keeping the well-being of the plants in mind, harvesting in a way that will be beneficial to the plants as well as to yourself. We don’t want to leave the patch struggling for years to recuperate from the effects of our harvesting or over harvesting.

For this reason I harvest patches that aren’t too noticeable, will grow in quickly over the course of two or three years and I also try to collect the older roots, the “Nexus” where there is a heavier concentration of older roots and old-growth. This way I collect from a richer area, spend less time harvesting, and facilitate the vigorous growth of younger shoots that will fill in the area quickly. I should point out here, since there have been questions about which part of the plant is used, that I remove all the leaves when I am harvesting, pinching them off with my thumbnail or harvesting tool. The rootlets are not the fragrant or useable part, but since there is so much soil clinging to them, I leave them on till I can wash out all the soil with water. It is the rhizome that is of interest to us.

As I mentioned in my earlier post on wild Ginger I enjoy harvesting with bone tools. I find that using metal for harvesting plants just doesn’t feel right. With my background of sculptor and craftsman, specializing in natural materials, I make my own simple bone harvesting tools. If anyone is interested I can probably provide bone “blanks” to carve or shape your own tools, or a ready to use bone or antler harvesting tool. I should have them displayed in my web-shop by July.

There is an abundance of information available on traditions and methods of harvesting plants in the wild from cultures all over the world. I could and should write a page on the subject because it is simply too much to add here and so very very important, it deserves its own page. Identifying and finding the plants we are looking for is only a small part of the path. In reality it only leads us to the door. What will you do once you enter Natures door? How will you behave? Will you behave as the best a human can be? And what does that mean? Treat others as you would be treated? What kind of relationship will you have with her? What quality of relationship will you have and what quality of products will you be able to make with Natures bounty? Is there a connection between the two? We are shifting away from quantity based agriculture and mass production. There is only one other and opposing path, and that is the path of the individual, not the masses. The path of depth, not breadth, intuition and not one size fits all generalized solutions . We are at the brink of, and being forced over the cliff into a new way of thinking and behaving in the world. Rethinking. Individual responsibility. Yes, well, perhaps a few pages will be needed to address methods and approach to Wildcrafting and our relationship with nature!

There are mixed opinions as far as what planet rules Wild Ginger. Her heart-shaped leaves and delightful fragrance indicate that she is ruled by Venus, her spiciness seems an indication of Mars being her ruler. I lean towards Venus, especially after working with the essential oil of Wild Ginger in perfumery. It adds a beautiful, depth and richness to a perfume. nothing like the sharpness or heat a Martian scent would share. Thus, the hours and days of Venus are when I harvest this fragrant herb.

astrological glyphs, planetary rulerships.
Astrological Glyphs- Planets and Asteroids Chaldean. Though Planets and their dynamics with each other and our world are one element at the core of Astrodynamics and Plant Alchemy. Each Plant is associated with an astrological sign, planet or both. They are said to resonate on similar frequencies, to share characteristics. Plants are at their peak energetically when their ruler is well aspected or exalted in the current natal chart

So pay attention to the stars. Some things you have to experience for your self, study yourself, and only you can say if it does or does not make a difference to the end product. Some wisdom cannot be given us, taught to us. Perhaps knowledge can be passed down, but wisdom we must earn from life and personal experience.

On a more mundane level.

There really is no way to clean Wild Ginger rhizomes of soil while you’re harvesting. A large quantity of water is necessary anyway you look at it, so I take my harvest home, and I put it in a very large container filled with water.

Never try to clean Wild Ginger in the sink in the house. It will eventually if not immediately clog your trap with silt and mud and add a lot of extra labor to your endeavor. Just because you managed to do this once with no apparent consequences, don’t be fooled, ( as I was).

It usually takes me two or three good washes in deep water scrubbing and stirring the roots and dumping out the dirty water or removing the clean rhizomes from the dirty water before washing them again.

Wild Ginger-Asarum Canadense, scrubbing clean keep changing the water till nothing more can be removed.
Wild Ginger-Asarum Canadense, scrubbing clean and keep changing the water till nothing more can be removed.

A Recipe for making Candied Wild Ginger using fresh rhizomes

-250 Grams, or 1 heaping cup of washed and cleaned Wild Ginger roots cut to 1/2 to 2 inch lengths
-500 Ml. or 2 cups water
-500 Grams or 2 cups white sugar
-extra sugar for coating
-This recipe can be doubled or tripled easily. It yields in its basic form, about 2 cups or 500 grams of candied treats.
—————————————————————-
-Bring water and sugar to a boil
-add cleaned and cut Wild Ginger rhizomes
-bring to a boil
-reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour
-When cooled to room temperature pour syrup mix and Wild Ginger into a glass jar.
-let sit closed for 3 days.
-Pour off syrup and boil till it reaches 125 degrees Celcius.
-Add Wild Ginger and boil for 15 minutes.
-When room temperature, remove Wild Ginger to a rack and allow to drip dry.
-When no more syrup is dripping from the rhizomes roll the pieces in sugar, making sure they are thoroughly coated.
-Let Ginger pieces sit in sugar overnight or for 8 hours.
-Shake off excess sugar and put your candied Wild Ginger in a sealed jar.
– It will keep for years if it does not get consumed first.

Recipe for Wild Ginger Pancake Syrup

Add the sugar from coating the Ginger to the syrup and bring to a boil for 10 minutes. Bottle it in sterile jars or decorative bottles where it should keep for a couple of months in a cool dark place. If not using sterile vessels it will keep in the fridge for an equal length of time.

I am almost at the final stage of changing over from wordpress.com to wordpress.org on a self hosted site, incorporating a storefront in the native layout. I will not go into too many details, but the past few weeks have been quite challenging and presented a few steep learning curves with all the expected frustrations and roadblocks. Now for the juggling act, to try to seamlessly transfer everyone over to my new site without anyone,( or googlebots), noticing. Or at least I hope it is not too jarring a transfer. So, sometime over the next few days I hope to do this, be prepared and bear with me while I switch moving vehicles on the highway! I will see you on the other side.

Dan

Posted on 14 Comments

An update on Candied Wild Ginger

After writing the post on Candied Wild Ginger, I couldn’t help but make some for myself. Partly because I am a perfectionist, and had to make sure the recipe worked properly, but also because the thought of making another mouth-watering batch was too hard to resist.

50 Grams of Wild Ginger Whole pieces.
50 Grams of Wild Ginger Whole pieces.

I also wanted to see exactly how much I would end up with if I used a 50 gram package like  the standard size I sell in my shop. It wouldn’t hurt sales to show folks the result. What these dry but fragrant sticks can transform into with a bit of kitchen Alchemy. It does yield more than one would assume.

Basically 50 grams dried Wild Ginger gave me 250 grams  of reconstituted material, and once candied, the quantity increased further.      I also made a batch from 100 grams dried Wild ginger. Unfortunately I didn’t hide it well enough, it slowly diminished, a bit, daily, almost hourly, so I couldn’t get an accurate photo of how much Candied Wild Ginger 100 grams  gave me.

Wild Ginger sitting and becoming one with its sugar.
Wild Ginger sitting and becoming one with its sugar. not being well hidden, it shrank in quantity daily.

I don’t begrudge anyone in the house,(Currently 5 roommates), it really is a challenge to walk by and not take just one little piece that no one will notice.

Candied Wild Ginger draining after boiling in sugar syrup
Candied Wild Ginger after boiling in sugar syrup, draining well before covering in sugar

If you figure everyone does it a couple of times a day,,, well you can guess the result. I am happy it is such a success  and that I at least got an exact photo record of how much one gets from 50 grams. Needless to say the recipes were perfect. It takes about one full cup of white sugar to coat each 50 grams, and after packing all the Candied Wild Ginger in a nice jar, you add the leftover sugar to your syrup and give it a 10 minute boil before bottling it up. There is an elegance there that appeals to me.

Candied Wild Ginger and Pancake Syrup from 50 grams dried Wild Ginger
Candied Wild Ginger and Pancake Syrup from 50 grams dried Wild Ginger. Yumm.

P.S. For all of you in the physical ,(Hamilton Ontario Canada) neighborhood, tomorrow (Saturday), morning from 9:00 AM till Noon I will be at the Apothecary’s Garden at the Teaching Gardens in Churchill Park, along with anyone who can make it for our first Saturday Workparty of the season. We will be opening the gardens for the season, preparing for the plant giveaway, and making plans for how to best take care of the “Plant Lovers Garden” till we can organize an official renovation with the city. Hope to see you all there.

Dan

Posted on 6 Comments

Candied Wild Ginger recipe

A treat for the senses, Wild Ginger, Asarum Canadenses offers infinite delights in the kitchen and Perfume studio.

Candied Wild Ginger.

As promised, I am adding the first recipe for Wild Ginger. I will copy it to my Recipe section for easy future reference.

Candied Wild Ginger is probably one of my favourite Wild Ginger recipes. This recipe yields two separate products, candied Wild Ginger and a delicious syrup used for pancakes and ice cream, added to shakes and smoothies, drizzled on Yoghurt and fruit salads and added to  dressings and sauces. In my mind I can almost visualize its spicy sticky sweetness part of some kind of Cinnamon bun recipe. I am sure those of you that are much more accomplished than I at the culinary and confectionery arts could work wonders with it. I have used powdered Wild Ginger with great results in ginger snaps chocolate chip  and peanut butter cookies, but haven’t explored baking to as great a degree as others I know.

I would Love to hear any tips, ideas or Wild Ginger recipes you might have. Or questions, so please, don’t hesitate to leave a note in the comments section.

A treat for the senses, Wild Ginger, Asarum Canadenses offers infinite delights in the kitchen and Perfume studio.
A treat for the senses, dried Wild Ginger, Asarum Canadenses offers infinite delights in the kitchen and Perfume studio.

 Candied Wild Ginger

INGREDIENTS

  • 1.5 cup granulated sugar
  • 2.5 cups water
  • 50 grams dried Wild Ginger broken into 1/2″ to 2″ pieces. 
  • Extra sugar for coating when done.
  • Bring the water to a boil,
  • Give your dry Wild Ginger a quick but thorough scrub in cold water.
  • Add Wild Ginger pieces to boiling water, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Stir in sugar till dissolved and simmer for another 15 minutes.
  • Set aside to cool down to room temperature
  •  Once cooled, put it in a jar and let it sit for 2 days in a covered non metallic jar.
  • Drain all the liquid and let the Wild Ginger pieces stand in a colander till they stop dripping.
  • Take 1 cup of sugar for each 50 grams of original dried Wild Ginger, mix the sugar and Ginger in a bowl till the ginger no longer picks up sugar granules.
  • ( I often let the moist Wild Ginger sit for a few hours in the sugar.)
  • When you are ready, put your candied Wild Ginger loosely into a well sealed glass or ceramic jar to keep for future use .
  1. WILD GINGER SYRUP

  2. Add the sugar-water back to a pot with any sugar left over from coating the candied pieces, heat and stir.

    -When the new sugar dissolves, strain your syrup through a fine sieve, return to the pot and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.

  3. -When cool, bottle in clean or sterile bottles.
  4. This is your Wild Ginger Pancake Syrup. You can either keep it in the fridge for a few weeks,(6?), or “Preserve” it in sterile bottles and keep it longer.
  5.   If you would like it thicker, either add more sugar or boil it down till it thickens further, (or both)! I am sure there are some other culinary tricks for thickening a sugar syrup, but these are the ones I know of. Candied Wild Ginger will last a very long time if not gobbled up as is usually the case. A few years ago I made the mistake of hiding my treasured jar of candied Wild Ginger so well, that I forgot all about it for a couple of years!!. It is now almost 4 years old and is still preserved perfectly and just as mouth-watering as the day it was made!! (see photos).
 Candied Wild Ginger 2009. Still tastes amazing!!!
Candied Wild Ginger 2009.
Candied Wild Ginger 2009. Wild Ginger Syrup.
Candied Wild Ginger, Asarum Canadense 2009. Still tastes amazing!!!
Wild Ginger ready to be candied. Asarum Canadense. 2012 Harvest
Wild Ginger ready to be candied. Asarum Canadense. 2012 Harvest

A closing note to everyone. Though currently, in our area,(Southern Ontario), Wild Ginger is not a protected plant, nor is it on any kind of endangered list. If you already have made its acquaintance, and know where to find it, please treat it with respect and care, it is a privilege.

Give a little something back, either before or after you harvest!

Harvest in a way that is in harmony with the plant and its growth patterns. A way that will encourage its natural propagation and growth, and  not be harmful to the plot you are harvesting from.

One way of doing this is to harvest the more mature “Nodes” as I call them. These are the central points or “Hubs” from which it sent out shoots in past years, which in turn rooted and sent out their own shoots and runners the next year etc. This removal of the center pieces not only gives the harvester prime herb, a higher yield of roots, but it is no longer needed by the offshoots and I believe will actually stimulate them to grow well and establish themselves as new “Parents” or central nodes for more runners or shoots. It is more in harmony with its natural growth patterns, ( and ours,) as it reminds one of the child leaving home, becoming independent and getting well rooted on its own, then becoming a parent, (Hub) itself as it sends out more of its own shoots to root and grow.

However you approach and engage plants, it is always a relationship. The only choice we have is what kind of relationship it is going to be. Though Nature seems passive and yielding to our choices, whether to her benefit or detriment, there is, I believe, a lot more going on in forest and woods than meets the eye. She is not as defenseless as we may think.

So, if you get whipped in the face or tripped unexpectedly by a branch for instance, consider them polite hints, by a gracious host, and at the very least,  stop, and be still for a moment, contemplate, your actions and choices,  and just Listen. 

Dan

Dan Riegler