Hunt for Wild Foods in Prospect Park
Hunt for Wild Chickweed in Prospect Park
with naturalist/author "Wildman" Steve Brill
At 11:45 AM Saturday, November 17, America's go-to guy for foraging, "Wildman" Steve Brill will lead one of his world-famous foraging tours of Prospect Park, beginning at the Grand Army Plaza entrance. A great abundance of edible and medicinal wild plants and mushrooms makes this park a great place for foragers in late fall.
Various roots thrive in the park late in the season: burdock root, (http://wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Burdock.html) an expensive detoxifying herb sold in health food stores, abounds in cultivated areas throughout the park. It's great in soups, stews, and Asian dishes. Try using it to make the Japanese classic dish, Kinpira Gobo. (http://wildmanstevebrill.com/Web%20Recipes/KinpiraGobo.html)
Another edible root vegetable, sassafras, (http://wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Sassafras.html) the original source of root beer, and a superb tea, grows in the woods and thickets. You can use the outer layer of the root as a seasoning, similar to cinnamon. And the dried, powdered leaves, known as gumbo filé, thicken soups and stews.
There are even sweet wild parsnips, outstanding in soups and stews, growing alongside the skating rink, if we can get access to it. Wild carrots and common evening primrose roots also hide in overgrown areas.
Participants will also find plenty of leafy green vegetables, such as , chickweed (http://wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Chickweed.html) (which tastes like corn), dandelions, (http://wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Dandelion.html) which do great in cold weather, goutweed, garlic mustard, (http://wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Garlic%20Mustard.html) and field garlic. We'll even find a native species of Sechuan pepper growing across the drive from the zoo.
While most nut trees are already out of season, Prospect Park's ginkgo (http://wildmanstevebrill.com/Clippings.folder/WeedEaters.html#Anchor-GINKGO-49575) trees will be at their peak. Inside a malodorous orange fruit you'll find a white, almond-shaped kernel with a soft green nut inside. Roasted, this Chinese delicacy tastes like a combination of green peas and Limburger cheese! Sold in health food stores and advertised on TV, Ginkgo biloba (http://wildmanstevebrill.com/Clippings.folder/WeedEaters.html#Anchor-GINKGO-49575) improves circulation and immune function.
Gingko (http://wildmanstevebrill.com/Clippings.folder/WeedEaters.html#Anchor-GINKGO-49575) Nut and Leaf
This living fossil was planted throughout the world after a few trees that had eluded extinction were found in Chinese monasteries.
One of the world's best fruits will be at its peak: the American persimmon, (http://wildmanstevebrill.com/Plants.Folder/Persimmon.html) a sweet, pulpy fruit that's way tastier than its insipid Asian relative. We'll shake the branches and everyone will get a generous share of fruit.
With lots of rain and a little luck, the group may even find gourmet oyster mushrooms (http://wildmanstevebrill.com/Mushrooms.Folder/Oyster.html) and enoki mushrooms (http://wildmanstevebrill.com/Mushrooms.Folder/Enoki.html) emerging from trees and stumps.
The 4-hour walking tour begins at 11:45 AM, Saturday, November 17, at Prospect Park's Grand Army Plaza entrance (http://wildmanstevebrill.com/Public%20Tour%20Stuff/Travel.html#Anchor-PROSPECT-49425). 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 http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com (http://www.wildmanstevebrill.com/)