Uncommon where I now live; common where I used to live.
It’s mid-Spring but it feels like Summer! So what better time to begin my Split-&-Spread task.
Cekur/Sand Ginger is actually a beautiful plant which I now use as a seasonal groundcover ~ it just hibernates and hides in late Fall and Winter. Its a tropical plant so its growth is somewhat erratic in the northern hemisphere, but its aromatic rhizomes and leaves which I use as a seasoning and/or marinade is worth the challenge.
Cekur as groundcover
When the leaves show up, I take it as a call to propagate, to make up for my kitchen use in the coming months. This is a very tender rhizome so I use only an old metal teaspoon and my bare hands to retrieve them.
Rinsed to check for active roots
For now, those with active, fat, white roots will go into a “crib” to be covered thinly with rich soil. This will help to develop roots and a couple of green leaves and for 2017 I plan to spread them out to different spots around the garden.
Root development “crib”
My motto: what you like and can’t find in stores, you grow … at least try to grow.
“Seek and you will find…” this aim/mission has been half accomplished.
Walking through the markets’ vegetable stalls in Penang, I see so many familiar items which simply reminds me that there is so much more I can add to my backyard in the US.
Sand Ginger and the Finger Root
On the right is the Sand Ginger/Cekur which I found, via a gardening club in Florida, grown by hobbyists as beautiful groundcover. I’m now growing this to be used for cooking!
On the left is a root called Temu Kunci or Finger Root, yes it does look like human fingers 😀 and is commonly used in Southeast Asia when mixing a curry or sambal paste.
So now I have a new item to seek … in case any reader in the US is growing this root or knows a fellow gardener who is, please send me a note. Unfortunately it has to be freshly harvested to be re-growable.
Cekur or Kencur in Malay, 沙姜 in Chinese, can be found in markets in Singapore and Malaysia but in all the Asian stores I’ve been to in the US, it is a “never to be found” item ~ a mysterious underground substance.
So, via a kind gift from a GardenWeb Ginger Forum member, I got a piece to carefully grow in my backyard, to become my small personal supply.
Edible leaves of the Sand Ginger
Delicate Blooms of Cekur
They grow well in the Florida summer but not as fast as in the tropics. With that little bit, yes that’s considered a little bit, I will make a sauce (pesto like), some for dipping, at the dining table (sesame oil & calamansi lime juice need to be added to dipping sauce), and some to be used as part of a marinade for chicken, shrimps or firm toufu. Continue reading