Monday, June 16, 2008

Stalking the wild ginger

When I was a kid, I gave this patch of wild ginger a wide berth. I feared snakes and spiders and ever other creepy-crawly waiting beneath those heart-shaped leaves. I didn't care to expose my bare ankles to such unknown depths. No way.

I never once walked through it.

Which is probably a good thing. Today wild ginger is listed as threatened by the state of Maine. This patch was much smaller 25 years ago and has slowly swelled to its present size. Unlike dandelions or plantain, wild ginger doesn't just fling its seeds around everywhere. So when it's wiped out by construction or human activity, it won't show up elsewhere in the neighborhood.

My mother washed a plant and a bit of root after I picked it for dinner Saturday night. Adam and I were up at Sunshine Farm for a Father's Day weekend visit, before traveling to Adam's parent's home the following day for more celebrations. Our Saturday dinner included a wild salad, and my mother took us on a tour around the property looking for edibles.

I couldn't resist grabbing a few of these late-season dandelions growing in a shady spot (see the moss?), where they never bloomed. I picked the still tender, less jagged leaves.


This bright green clump of lamb's quarters self-seeded itself (as in does every year) in one of my mother's gardens. A common plant often found in disturbed soil, it is a sweet, delicate and delicious addition to salads and stir fries. My mother harvested some of these baby lamb's quarters the night before, so we only took a pinch.

We added in a few chives and red clover blossoms and had quite the garnish for our salad. I took the mixed greens, the micro greens and the dill I bought at that morning's farmers' market and topped it with these wild treats and a few sunflower seeds.

When I made my red wine vinaigrette, I added a few pieces of finely chopped wild ginger root, which gave it an added zing.

6 comments:

shellyfish said...

I didn't realize there was wild ginger like that in North America! How sad to learn about it, and learn it is in danger, too. Your plate looks divine...

Marisa L. B. said...

Wow, I would love to visit this farm of your parents! It looks wonderful!

Bianca said...

What a pretty salad! It could double as a centerpiece...though a tasty one.

I love that your mom lives in a commune. We have a great "intentional community" 3 hours from here (The Farm in Summertown, TN) and I visited a while back. They're all vegans, and it's the coolest place on Earth. I'd like to retire there. I bet Sunshine Farm is lot like that...

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Wow, what a beautiful plate.

I'm with you on the fear of snakes!

wholefoodsfamily.wordpress.com said...

Neat post... I've never seen wild ginger before. Now I want to find some around here =)

The Voracious Vegan said...

I am blown away by this beautiful post, the pictures are so amazing they took my breath away. You are such an inventive, creative and resourceful chef! Thank you for sharing!