Any walk through the forest for me is like a walk through the grocery store. For other people, they see plants, I see food. My name is Shawn Adler. I’m a chef, I’ve been cooking professionally for more than half my life, about 23 years. I’ve owned, think six restaurants, and I’ve been foraging for wild edibles my entire life. I’ve learned through family and friends. And as a chef I really enjoy cooking with ingredients that aren’t in the mainstream. So as we drive here, it’s kind of like, I’m driving by,
So as we drive here, it’s kind of like, I’m driving by, just a garden, really. Like, I see, like sumac, I see wild grapes growing, cedar, pine… All these things that,
I don’t know that other people necessarily see the same way as I do People these days eat
far less diversity in our diet. You know, we wake up,
we eat the same thing for breakfast everyday. Traditionally people would have been eating a very diverse diet based on what is provided throughout the seasons,
which changes every season. Whereas, now, you go to the grocery store,
everything’s in season, all the time. We’re headed out to look for wild ginger. We’re headed to a hardwood bush today. Thats the environment that wild ginger
likes to grow. They’re fairly big heart shaped leaves, and they have like a rhizome, a root, which is like ginger, but much smaller
with the same smell. Here are three guidelines for
harvesting wild edibles. Number one: make sure you bring a knowledgeable guide who
knows what they’re doing Number two: Make sure you have permission to use the land and harvest from it. And number three: Never over harvest. Ethically harvesting is really important. When we’re picking any wild edibles,
Ethically harvesting is really important. When we’re picking any wild edibles, people from my culture, the Anishinaabe people, lay tobacco down to say thank you to the creator. It’s basically just saying thank you
as an offering for providing for us. Ah, so this is a nice crop, all around us here, of wild ginger You can tell that it’s wild ginger because there are these stereotypical
heart shaped leaves. At the stem there’s like fine hairs on it. When harvesting, never harvest too much. But what you’re looking for is the roots actually. And you can tell by the smell, immediately,
that it’s wild ginger. They have these roots that go along and connect to all the plants, and you can just use
your fingers to pry them up. And you can see all these roots are interconnected, but we’re choosing to harvest from the centre of the group. And it’s that ginger smell that you get from the wild ginger. Yeah, this would have been
made into teas traditionally. We’re going to be infusing the
flavour into a syrup. It’s absolutely integral, to indigenous people especially, that, you know, our food
is still available you know? So things like wild ginger, then in spring, wild leeks, and fiddleheads, and morels… Basically all of these foods are
very healthy and nutritious and basically medicine really. Like, it’s food, but it’s also medicine.
and basically medicine really. Like, it’s food, but it’s also medicine. Here’s how to make wild ginger syrup. Start by washing your ginger
under cold running water. Chop all the ginger roughly,
stems and leaves included, this helps release all the
flavour into the syrup. Add two cups of white sugar to a large saucepan, along with six cups of cold water. Boil it until it becomes clear. Add the chopped ginger. Stir and steep ginger over low heat
for approximately forty minutes. Strain it. Wild ginger is great on pancakes, mixed over ice with soda
for a sparkling beverage, or poured over ice-cream for dessert. To get out in the bush and harvest wild edibles is a real great opportunity for us
to take a moment and really realize that
everything is here on the land that indigenous people
have sustained ourselves with. So it takes that extra effort of going out and harvesting your own food to realize that it’s all here, it’s very
delicious and nutritious, and it give you an opportunity
to try different foods that otherwise you wouldn’t
pick up on a grocery store shelf. Indigenous cultures, we’re the first local,
the first organic. You know? It was cool before it was cool.