Hunt for Black Walnuts in Central Park
with naturalist/author "Wildman" Steve Brill
At 11:45 AM on Saturday, October 26, America's go-to guy for foraging, "Wildman" Steve Brill will lead one of his world-famous foraging tours of Central Park. Thanks to its varied habitats and combination of native and introduced species, this world-famous park overflows with wild food, and late October is a great time to look for them.
We’ll encounter the deep taproots of burdock growing in distubed habitats in the Northern Woods. This European nuisance plant, with its prickly burrs, is really highly nutritious and tasty. Health food stores sell it in tiny quantities at high prices as a detoxifier, and to help improve liver function and skin problems, but you can cook the roots and use them in soups, stews, or Japanese dishes.
Another detoxifier that grows throughout the park is sassafras, for tea, root beer, gumbo, or to season sweet dishes. Other beverages include the common spicebush, with berries you use like alspice and leaves you brew for tea, and ground ivy, which is also an excellent diuretic.
This is also the best time to gather wild nuts. You'll learn how to harvest and prepare rich-tasting black walnuts and savory gingko nuts.
Fruits and berries such as red juneberries, hawthorn berries, and wild raisins are also in season in the park right now.
There will also be plenty of leafy herbs and greens. We’ll be looking for winter cress, sheep sorrel, chickweed, lamb’s-quarters, wood sorrel, epazote, and poor-man’s-pepper.
If rainy weather prevails beforehand, there may also be lots of late-season gourmet mushrooms in the woods. We’ll hunt for tasty brick tops, abundant pear-shaped puffballs, gigantic chicken mushrooms and hen-of-the-woods, and savory honey mushrooms.
Hen of the Woods Mushroom
One of the best tasting mushrooms in the world, hen of the woods, a.k.a maitake, is also good for the immune system.
The 4-hour walking tour begins at 11:45 AM on Saturday, October 26, at 106th St. and 5th Ave. The suggested donation is $20/adult, $10/child under 12. Please call (914)[masked] at least 24 hours in advance to reserve a place. For "Wildman's" 2013 tour calendar and additional info, visit [masked].