I have another question/concern regarding the beat way to clean the seng. I used a soft toothbrush to clean mine. Is this not the best way? (I'd read and heard so much about \"clean\" ginseng...)
Like I said, this was my first year digging, I love being in the woods, usually riding my horse, and the first time I went- I fell in love with it. And being that my husband used to go with his Granddad, he was thrilled that I liked it...he also went with me some.
So he showed me how his GrandDad cleaned his with a soft brush... (that was many years ago though).
Any advise/pointers on this.. I would greatly appreciate.
If you will just put it in a bowl or something like a 5 gal bucket, and cover with water (when you get back from hunting) and let it soak a little while 15-30 minutes for example.
The dirt that is still stuck to the roots will soften up nicely.
Then you can usually just slosh it around in the bucket a little while and the majority of the dirt will come off.
Past that you can pour the water out and use a hose sprayer to spray it good and that usually takes the rest of the dirt off that needs to leave.
You can also reach in with both hands and grab a big wad of seng roots and gently rub them together. That way seng roots are brushing against other seng roots and that helps to break loose some of that stubborn dirt.
I do find occasionally roots growing in soil that is very dark and stickey and even after doing all of the above some may still look dirty. In cases like that I also have a extra soft tooth brush that I will use to get the stubborn dirt off.
Now some folks go too far at cleaning them up and that can damage the root. You definately don't want to break the root skin, or root hairs off while cleaning so don't get to agressive with the scrubbing if you do use a toothbrush.
The toothbrush is sort of a last resort for me and only on those that have some very stubbone stuck on dirt.
Most of the time the other steps mentioned get them clean enough.
Keep in mind they don't have to be perfectly clean (scrubbed white) - some color left on the roots is desirable, especially when it makes the growth/stress rings on the root show off more.
Times change and what the buyers in Asia used to want is not what they want anymore. They used to want a little darker dried root with more dirt on them. Now they do not want dirt on them but do not want them scrubbed white either. If you use a soft brush or soft bristled tooth brush it is good to lightly go up and down from top to bottom if they need scrubbed at all. Never go side to side because that will take the dirt out of the rings. The better the rings show the better chance of a better price.
I soaked some this year and did not hit them with a soft brush and they dried too dark which is no problem as I dug them to use for myself. But they wouldn't have been as valuable if I were to have tried to sell them as they would have been if I had lightly brushed them. Just touching them lightly up and down and not across will get them to where they need to be.
Chieftian has a nice pic of his box on the forum topic called \"Dry...Finally\" from about 1 month ago. Those are the color they should look like when dry. Like a light tan/brown. If they are darker brown like chocolate they are too dark and have too much dirt on them.
Do what TNHunter said, drop them in a pan of water for five minutes or so and just shake the roots as you pull them from the water. That is all the cleaning that should be necessary. If there are obvious clumps of dirt, just wipe them gently with your finger in the water and it will come right off.
Remember, the ideal root is big, corky, and dark in skin color with NO damage. So be very careful how you handle them.
OK my bad, don't use a brush. I soaked mine for 2 hours and sprayed them and they were still too dark. Everyone has there own opinion but mine would have been way too dark. One large grower said they handle and touch every root. Soaking does it most of the time but sometimes they need lightly touched. But what ever floats your boat.