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This well-known greenway, with open, sunny habitats, wooded sections, thickets, and edges, is ideal for finding the best edible wild plants of early spring, and this event, led by Violet Brill and co-sponsored by Down to Earth Farmer's Market, will give you the best opportunity to learn about, collect, and enjoy some of our best common, tasty, renewable species.
From 10 AM to 10:30 AM, Violet will give a short demo at the market to familiarize you with some of the best in-season species. Then everyone will head off along the trail.
In open, sunny areas, we'll be finding common- and long-leaf plantain, related garden "weeds" that are loaded with dozens of biologically active compounds you can use for a variety skin irritations. Rub the crushed leaf repeatedly on a fresh mosquito bite for 15 minutes, or example, and you'll be cured. You can also roast the leaves with ground cooked chick peas, white miso, crushed pine nuts, olive oil, and savory herbs, to make chips far better than kale chips.
If you want to test common plantain's efficacy, handle stinging nettles without gloves. One of the best cooked greens on Earth, it will sting you if you handle it bare-handed.
Sunny areas should also provide super-nutritious chickweed, which tastes like corn, lemony-flavored curly dock, intensely-flavored bitter dock, and common dandelions, which taste like lettuce on steroids. In addiition, there should be lots of garlic-flavored field garlic, as well as lemony sheep sorrel and curly dock, plus garlicky garlic mustard, We should also find daylily shoots, which taste like spicy string beans.
Roots are also in season now. We'll be digging up burdock, which tastes like a combination of potatoes and artichokes. Common evening primrose and wild carrots could be around too.
If it's rained enough before hand, mushrooms could be in season too. We'll be looking for mica caps, which make an outstanding dip, seafood-flavored oyster mushrooms, and chewy tree ears.
August 2, 2020
This long trail used to be where water was brought to Manhattan from Westchester. Now it's a beautiful walking and biking path lined with all manner of edible (and deadly) species. Violet Brill, America's go-to gal for foraging, will show you how to identiify, harvest and use them for food, medicine, and murder! Here are some of the summer plants we can expect on this tour:
Berries will be doing great at this time of the year. We'll be collecting wineberries, invasive East Asian raspberries much tastier than the store-bought variety. Blackberries will be doing great here too, despite stiff competition from the iPhone. We might also harvest the first elderberries to ripen. Well-known in Europe, they're never sold in America, where we just don't respect our elders!
These wild raspberry are dangerous: If you eat too many, you could die of happiness!
Plenty of herbs and greens will be growing in sunny spots, and along the edges of the trail. Spicy poor man's pepper, spinach-flavored lamb's-quarters, and crunchy purslane will be everywhere. We'll also be finding goutweed, which you use like parsley; quickweed, which tastes like artichokes; and Asiatic dayflower, which tastes like string beans.
The most unusual find will be stinging nettles, one of the tastiest greens on Earth. Normally in season in early spring, before the plant flowers, and in autumn, when new growth appears, tender, young nettles come up here in the summer, where the inedible mature plants have been mowed down.
Pick nettles wearing gloves (or put your hands inside a bag) and cook them (the nettles, not the gloves) lightly. The stingers will be gone, and you'll have a highly-nutritious and uniquely tasty cooked green.
Cooking destroys this plant's painful stingers.
We'll also be learning about poisonous plants. We'll see enough poison ivy so that everyone will be able to recognize it from a distance for the rest of their lives. It's well-know to cause itchy rashes, but if you burn it and breath in the smoke, it can kill you. Only 1 person wouldn't be harmed: Bill Clinton — he doesn't inhale!
Poison hemlock, the plant that killed Socrates, grows here too. If you eat that one, it stops your brain from telling your heart to beat. Only 1 person is immune: Donald Trump — he has no brain, and he has no heart!
POISON HEMLOCK IN FLOWER
Beautiful and deadly, this plant reminds me of my ex-girlfriend!
Garlic mustard is a strong-flavored plant with leaves you can bake into chips or use for making pesto. The chewy, spicy, dark brown seeds are in season now too. Unlike store-bought mustard seeds, you don't need to grind them. Add them whole to any dish that needs some heat.
GARLIC MUSTARD SKELETON
The spicy, black seeds grow inside slender, long, needle-shaped seed pods. There are so many needles, botanists conjecture that the plant must have evolved in The South Bronx!
Burdock, with a hearty, potato/artichoke-flavored taproot, grows everywhere, and we're certain to find a location with soft soil where we'll be able to be able to dig up this invasive Eurasian plant easily.
Spectacular summer mushrooms may also be coming up now, especially if there there's been heavy rain beforehand. We could find savory boletes, gigantic chicken mushrooms (which really do taste like chicken), smoky-flavored black trumpets, gigantic black-staining polypores, and sweet green-quilted russulas anywhere along the trail.
The 2-hour foraging tour of The Croton Aqueduct, led by Violet Brill, begins at 2 PM, Sunday, August 2, at the trail entrance at the intersection of Main St. and Cedar St., in Dobbs Ferry.
Still have questions? Ask the community.
This class isn't on the schedule at the moment, but save it to your Wish List to find out when it comes back!
Foraging expert Steve Brill has shared his foraging wisdom at schools, museums, parks departments, environmental organizations, and with scout troops since 1982. He’s written three books and an app, stars in a DVD and maintains a website.
His History with Foraging
As part of his exercise regime,...
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