What IS that?!
Does this look like it would make a delicious dessert?
These are rhizomes of Asarum canadense, the native American wild ginger. I grow a small clump in my garden as an ornamental, but today Leda and I went foraging with wild ginger as our prime objective. Leda's doing a 250 mile diet thing, so she actually needed the ginger, since what we normally cook with is from a tropical (i.e. more than 250 miles away) plant.
We were respectful as we dug, taking only snippets of rhizomes between plants. Ginger grows from rhizomes that spread under-
ground, linking one plant to the next. Each plant sends roots down from the rhizome at the same spot where the stems grow up. If you snip the rhizome in between plants, leaving a piece intact at the base of the stem, the plant won't suffer.
We soaked and scrubbed the fragrant roots when we got home, then finely chopped a tablespoon to go into pear cobbler. We decided not to add cinnamon (as the recipe suggested) because we wanted to really taste the wild ginger; I wanted to get a full taste of this native spice.
Heavenly. The taste is less sharp than tropical ginger (the plants aren't related) but there's a subtle heat. It's complex and lingers on the tongue, complementing the pears perfectly. Warm, woodsy, fresh.
I'm hooked. I'll chop and dry whatever I don't use this week, then store it dried for the winter, grinding it up as needed. I see a lot of pear cobbler in my future.