Living in a city doesn’t mean there aren’t tasty things to eat, you just have to know where to look. Steve Brill tells us what’s edible in the big city.
Urban foraging means finding wild foods. Things like berries, herbs, seeds, mushrooms, and roots. These are things humans have been eating for thousands of years. They are delicious and filled with anti-oxidants. And they’re free for the foraging. Steve has been teaching urban foraging in New York City and the larger New York area for thirty years.
Surprisingly, urban parks have more foragables than less dense areas. In the city they only have to worry about lawn mowers which don’t reach everywhere. In other areas, they have to contend with deer.
Blackberries are in decline. They've been overtaken by the I-phone.Tweet This
Mushrooms are the thing people are most leery of eating. Some mushrooms can be eaten safely but you have to be able to identify the safe ones. Mushrooms that grow on wood and look like shelves are generally safe to eat but some are not very tasty. Always consult a guide before eating anything you forage.
Some of the things available right now in the North East are blackberries, carnelian cherries, lamb’s quarter, sorrel, and chicken mushrooms. I’ve seen the berries and cherries in the park this week and I wasn’t even really looking. I ate some too!
If you wanted to get started on your own, begin with easily identifiable things like mulberries, dandelions, and cat tails. You can eat cat tails! You can’t buy mulberries because they are so perishable so the only way to get them is to find your own.
There is a park full of free food just waiting for you to harvest it. Free and healthy, food doesn’t get much better than that.
Wildman Steve Brill: Steve’s site devoted to urban foraging, includes his tour schedule.
Wild Edibles App: Steve’s app to help you identify things in the field.
ReAnimator Coffee: A locally roasted Philly coffee.