The wild ginger is blooming



Isn’t that mauve flower pretty? I love how it hides under the leaves, only to be seen by chipmunks and those willing to crouch on the ground to find it. And such a unique shape, like a globe that’s been peeled back in three sections at the top. It makes me think of origami.

I’ve grown wild ginger (Asarum canadense) for a long time but never had a patch large enough that I felt comfortable digging any up for their cooking, which can be used like tropical ginger (Latin Zingiber) although the roots are much smaller. Here in the temperate climes of the Eastern and Midwestern United States, it was a popular candy flavoring before importing tropical ginger became economical.

But the patch is well-established now, and I’ve even started a few new patches from it. So perhaps this will be the year to cook with it.

This article from Mother Earth News says that fresh wild ginger has an unpleasant “camphorous odor,” but I’ve never noticed it. I’ve chewed on tiny broken bits of the root that are a byproduct of garden digging and noticed no unpleasantness—just a nice ginger taste that is milder than that of the tropical root. Perhaps this varies depending on climate, soil, or regional variations in the genetic makeup of the plant.

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