Sunday, August 3, 2014

Foraging Class in Central Park

For years we've been striving to be more conscientious of our consumerism and trying to reduce the impact we make on our planet.  I was excited when I found a Central Park foraging tour on Groupon; two of my coworkers joined us as Wildman Steve taught us about a number of Central Park plants.  We tried a few leaves/berries of all of them and brought a number of them home to throw on our salads and in our juices.

Erin, Julie, Rachael (my coworkers)

Epazote: comes from Mexico, very common in our area.  Use this is small quantities as a seasoning, in large quantities is toxic.  It's a spice.  Put it in guacamole, tomato sauce, bean dishes.  If in bean dishes it will take away the gas part of eating beans.

Black Cherry: common native fruit, pollinated by flies

Lamb's Quarters: European relative of spinach and beets, great source of of beta-carotene, calcium, potassium, and iron in the world; also a great source of trace minerals, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, and fiber

Quick Weed: leaves taste a little bit like artichokes, better cooked or steamed then blended into cream soups

Common Spicebush: native plants, make tea by pouring boiling water over leaves, tea used by Native Americans to reduce fever, yellow flowers in very early spring, great for gardens

Sweet pepperbush: if you rub flowers with water in your hands turns into bubbly soap

American Mayapple: fruit tastes a bit like lemon

Mountain Mint: 

Asiatic Dayflower: leaves taste a little like string-beans and are enjoyed in soups

Purple Flower Raspberries right next to Belvedere Castle, no fruit yet:

Sassafras: use leaves crushed to make tea, can use sapling roots to make even better tree, right under the outer bark smells strongly of root beer

Lemon Sorrel: I grew up calling these 'sour pickle plants' because the grow into a pickle shape before opening into a 3 leaf clover, you can eat the leaves, add a citrus/sour flavor, can use in salads or added to smoothies, loaded with vitamin c

We also found some wild blackberries (no photo)

Poor Man's Pepper: in the mustard family, use the seeds, can also sprinkle over soups and salads

We found an apple tree in the middle of Central Park from the 1800's, so random!

Common Plaintain: can use the leaves baked to eat like kale chips

Burdock: you eat the root like a potato though it's related to artichokes

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