Forage: How to source wild ginger and use it to make a magnificent syrup
Anishinaabe chef Shawn Adler shows us how to harvest and utilize this powerful ingredient
Anishinaabe chef Shawn Adler has been harvesting wild edibles since his mother first showed him how as a child. In each episode of Forage, he teaches us how to source in-season ingredients from our own backyards and sustainably forage them, before turning them into a delicious dish we can make and devour in our own kitchens.
You may not have noticed it underneath your feet, but if you’ve spent time trekking through Canada’s lush forests, you’ve probably encountered some wild ginger in your path. The root — which carries the same distinct smell as the ginger you’d find at the grocery store, but is much smaller in size — is commonly found in North American hardwood forests and has been harvested by indigenous people for thousands of years. In the first episode of our new series Forage, chef Shawn Adler shows us how to find it, forage it and finesse it into the perfect syrup for a big stack of pancakes. Check out the video below to learn the essentials of ethical foraging and see how it’s done, then scroll down for the full Wild Ginger Syrup recipe.
Wild Ginger Syrup
- 1 bunch wild ginger
- 2 cups white sugar
- 6 cups cold water
Rinse the wild ginger under cold running water to remove dirt and debris. Roughly chop the ginger, stems and leaves included. This helps release all the flavour into the syrup. Set aside.
Pour sugar and water into a medium saucepan and heat on medium until the sugar has fully dissolved and begins to boil. Reduce heat to low and add the chopped wild ginger. Let steep for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally until mixture is golden.
Strain the syrup through a sieve removing and discarding any remaining pieces of wild ginger. Reserve the syrup in an airtight container and refrigerate.
Note: Wild ginger can be mildly harmful if prepared or consumed incorrectly. Always use water to steep the ginger as oils or alcohol can leech unwanted chemicals.