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August 10, 2019

Is Kahili Ginger Edible?

dehydrated kahili ginger flowers hedychium gardnerianum

Dehydrated kāhili ginger flowers.

Although the Ginger (Zingiberaceae) Family is generally safe, info is sparse on kāhili  (Hedychium gardnerianum) as an edible. Although not expressed directly in any literature, I determined through inference and experimental practice, that yes kāhili ginger flowers, flower buds, rhizomes, and new shoots are edible in small amounts. 

We know that H. gardnerianum is considered to be a folk medicine of the people of Sikkim state in the Indian Himalayas [1]. There is evidence that H. gardnerianum was used as a ginger substitute in New Zealand during World War II food rationing [2]. We also know that H. gardnerianum does not seem to have any strong toxicities in humans, dogs, cats, or horses [3] and that it is highly palatable to livestock [2] and used in ruminant feeding in some areas [4]. All of the evidence seems to indicate that uses of H. gardnerianum for both aroma and as a flavor/spice for ingestion are safe. It is always wise to start with a small amount when trying a food for the first time.

white and yellow butterfly ginger flowers

Yellow butterfly ginger (Hedychium flavescens) on the lower left, and white butterfly ginger (Hedychium coronarium) on top. We know that the chemistry of the three closely related species – H. coronariumH. flavescens, and H. gardnerianum – does not significantly vary and that they share most of the same dominant aromatic compounds.


White butterfly ginger (H. coronarium) is edible: its rhizomes are known to be eaten in India [5,6], and although it is described as a famine food, this assessment need not apply if new or creative edible uses of the plant can be found. Its flowers and flower buds are edible and can be used like a vegetable as well. 

processing kahlii butterfly ginger flowers in hawaii

Pulling kāhili ginger flowers off of the flower head is usually done while watching a movie and talking story with friends and family. 

butterfly ginger flower wild fermentations

Butterfly ginger flower wild yeast starters. Kāhili (H. gardnerianum), white (H. coronarium), and yellow (H. flavescens) are often described interchangeably in literature on the essential oils, so we can assume that many of the same medicinal qualities also are present in kāhili (H. gardnerianum).

 

savage kitchen butterfly ginger icon

Look for the orange butterfly ginger pin in the Savage Kitchen app & online foraging courses, coming in 2020. A "butterfly ginger" pin can be dropped anywhere you find kāhili (H. gardnerianum), white butterfly ginger (H. coronarium), or yellow butterfly ginger (H. flavescens).

savage kitchen app demo

sneak peek at the Savage Kitchen app map!

REFERENCES

[1] ENVIS (Environmental Information System Center: Sikkim).[nd]. Medicinal and Aromatic plants in Sikkim. Gangtok (India): Forest, Environment & Wildlife Management Department, Government of Sikkim. http://sikenvis.nic.in/WriteReadData/UserFiles/file/Medicinal%20&%20Aromatic%20plants%20of%20Sikkim%20from%20FRLHT.pdf

[2] NRC (Northland Regional Council). [nd]. Wild ginger, Pest Facts No. 4, Whangārei (New Zealand): Northland Regional Council. http://www.rnzih.org.nz/pages/pest%20facts%204%20-%20wild%20ginger.pdf

[3] ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). 2017. Toxic and Nontoxic Plants: Kahali Ginger. New York (NY): ASPCA. https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control/toxic-and-non-toxic-plants/kahali-ginger

[4] Carvalho MJ, Carvalho LM, Ferreira AM, Silva AMS. 2010. A new xanthone from Hedychium gardnerianum. Natural Product Research 17(6):445-449. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1478641031000118906?journalCode=gnpl20

[5] Lim TK. 2017. Edible Medicinal and Non-Medicinal Plants: Volume 12: Modified Stems, Roots, Bulbs. https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007/978-3-319-26065-5

[6] Kunkel G. 1984. Plants for Human Consumption: An Annotated Checklist of the Edible Phanerogams and Ferns. Oberreifenberg (Germany): Koeltz Scientific Books. https://books.google.com/books/about/Plants_for_Human_Consumption.html?id=7L0H0WBBMOkC

Hāwī is gonna get down! Am so jazzed to be a presenter at this years 10th Annual ʻĀina Fest on September 7th. My workshop will focus on the butterfly gingers, it's a theme right now, so come prepared to have their heavenly scent fill you up.  

GET YOUR TICKETS NOW  ----->>>    https://hipagriculture.org/aina-fest

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June 1, 2019

How Not to Kill Yourself Foraging

Release of FREE Guide on Plant Identification

how not to kill yourself foraging free guide

Aloha,

Today is the release of an offering I've been so excited to share. A great compliment to my book Wild Food Plants of Hawai'i, this project gave me the opportunity to provide more detailed information on plant identification and a resource list for digging deeper. Visit our homepage to :: 

 → •  Click here, or image above, to DOWNLOAD NOW  • ←


foraging paia maui hawaii

Plant identification hike in Paia on May 31st, 2019.

May 8, 2018

Kahili Ginger Cooking Classes

I’ll be doing 2 wild food cooking classes this week!

Join me in Wailuku, either on Thursday from 6-8pm or Saturday from 3-5 for a glimpse into preparing kahili ginger (Hedychium gardnerianum) gari pickle. If you love sushi ginger, you’re going to love this! Creative and delicious ways to use our invasive species. Please RSVP :: savagekitchenmaui@gmail.com

Kahili Ginger Pickle Cooking Class with Sunny Savage

March 22, 2018

Maui is Full of Locavores!

Thanks Luxury Retreats Magazine for the mention in this months issue

Click here to see the article, in which locavores rejoice in Maui’s food scene. Come foraging with me!

January 9, 2018

Cooking Demo at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center Mall

Haole koa (Leucaena leucocephala) pods. Photo by Forest & Kim Starr.

Join me at the Queen Kaahumanu Center Mall this Friday! I’ll be on the main stage from 6:30-7:30pm making 2 recipes with haole koa (Leucaena leucocephala) seeds. For more info about this event, which partners with the Blue Zones Project, check out this Maui News article ::

http://www.mauinews.com/news/community-news/2018/01/wild-foods-advocate-to-lead-demonstration/

January 6, 2018

Free Zipline Tour for Foraging

Some people just go zipping by, but we’ll be on the ground at Skyline EcoAdventures foraging for haole koa (Leucaena leucocephala). Because we will be traveling via 4×4 to a remote part of the property, we only have spots for 13 people! Please sign-up by emailing me at sunnysavage[@]gmail.com to confirm your spot. This is such an exciting project, as we will be clearing the haole koa with assistance from Joseph Imhoff, native plant extraordinaire, to release its stranglehold on native plants. Join us for this unique adventure, and Joe has even included a free zipline voucher (to be used at a later date) for all those participating!!!

JANUARY 28th

9:30 – 3:30    (you’ll receive meeting location once you RSVP)

Please bring your own water bottle, wear long pants and sturdy shoes, sunglasses, sunscreen and/or hat, and work gloves if you have them. Anyone under 18 should have a guardian with them, and we will all sign a liability release form.

Come enjoy the sun, good people, and learn about and participate in our dynamic ecosystems.

 

January 1, 2018

Hana Hou – Hawaiian Airlines Magazine write-up

So incredibly jazzed to have a spotlight shined in such a big way on our little food truck. I love sharing the deliciousness of the land with people, and when its tied in together with the feel good nature of also help with conservation efforts it’s like a double bonus. Mahalo nui loa for being interested and loving up my project Hawaiian Airlines Hana Hou team!!!

December 7, 2017

Menu for December 7 & 8

 

Luscious banana bread cake today at #SavageKitchenMaui Double decker with lots of wild fennel seeds and kahili ginger flower buttercream frosting topped with cranberry hibiscus and more powdered kahili ginger flowers.

 

These wild mallow (Malva parviflora) greens in the photo above will be added with spiny amaranth (Amaranthus spinosus) to haole koa (Leucaena leucocephala) miso. This is a vegan option and we’re all excited to have soup back on the menu with all this chilly Maui weather!

We will also be offering our haole koa seed tempeh, which is a specialty line of tempeh made with organic adzuki beans and our wildcrafted haole koa seeds by Maui Tempeh. These are done in a barbecue sauce made with strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum) and served with kahili ginger (Hedychium gardnerianum) rice and a slaw of red cabbage/fermented beets with wild fennel seeds (Foeniculum vulgare).

Our famous wild musubi’s are also on the menu this week. A 100% wild boar with strawberry guava glaze and kahili ginger rice, as well as a Maui venison musubi (contains Maui venison and some of our wild boar fat) made with Java plum (Syzygium cumini) glaze and kahili ginger rice.

Dessert is banana bread with wild fennel seeds and kahili ginger.

Drinks are wild root beer kombucha, which contains wildcrafted false awa (Piper auritum) and island snakeroot (Polygala paniculata), and a banana poka (Passiflora tarminiana) shrub with fizzy water.

December 4, 2017

Upcoming Wild Food Hikes on Maui

I’ll be doing 3 wild food hikes this month. Join me in an exploration of the wild things on Maui.

December 7 from 11-noon. Meet at the Savage Kitchen Maui food truck, in Paia Bay!

December 14 from 11-noon. Meet at the Savage Kitchen Maui food truck, in Paia Bay!

December 23 from noon-2pm. We’ll be hiking a trail up in PoliPoli, so will meet at the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm (outer parking lot before going through the gate) between 11:45 and noon and caravaning up from there.

December 4, 2017

Savage Izakaya PopUp

Over the top dinner coming up! Join us for multiple courses of amazing wild-inspired izakaya food. Held at a historic Japanese home in Upper Wailuku this will be like no izakaya you’ve had before. Hand-made ramen noodles with wild greens sound interesting? How about java plum kampachi?

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