Hey guys! Here is my photo album of some of the wonderful wild plant foods you can find locally in the NY/NJ area. These were taken during a foraging tour with Wildman Steve Brill in Central Park in early April. I highly recommend going foraging with someone who knows there stuff just to be sure you don’t pick something poisonous.
The availability changes seasonally so foraging every week can produce new and different edibles. Just make sure you select an area away from traffic and that is not treated with pesticides. Ever since I took the class, I can’t walk outside without spotting something edible – cool!
Black Birch Tree
Chew on the black birch twigs. It has the anti-inflammatory oil of wintergreen. If you steep the twigs in tea, it is equivalent to half an aspirin.
Best in early spring – has a strong mustardy taste. Yum!
Young stems are edible in April & May with a flavor similar to rhubarb. Peel and chew on the stem or dice it up and steam. Good source of the antioxidant resveratrol.
Mica Cap Mushroom
Edible when young but not the best-tasting. Turns into black ink. Um…I’ll pass.
Doesn’t taste good raw, but can be dehydrated into chips. Mashed up leaves are good for cuts and mosquito bites.
The three red-tinged leaves in the center. Do not touch or eat!
Supposedly delicious when cooked, but requires several boilings.
Red Bud Tree
The red buds right now in Spring are yummy! Beautiful little flowers with a hint of sweetness.
From the cruciferae family, this herb is good for stopping haemorrhages of all kinds. Leaves look a bit like dandelion, but it has tiny white flowers. I wasn’t crazy about the taste.
The trout lily leaves have a refreshing taste reminiscent of cucumber. I like these!
Three heart-shaped leaves that resembles clover attached to the tip of a long stem. This has a nice lemony flavor. It’s high in oxalic acid, so don’t eat huge quantities.
Smells and tastes oniony – love it! You can eat the whole thing – stem and root bulb. There’s an imposter that looks almost the same and is poisonous! You can distinguish the real field garlic because the stem is cylindrical and smells strong of onion, while the stem of the imposter is flat and has no smell.
Pick in April & May and eat the leaves and flowers of the blue violet. Not much taste imho, but would make a pretty garnish in salads or ice cubes.
Leaves and shoots of mallow are edible raw or cooked. When cooked in liquid, it will thicken the liquid similar to okra.
Chickweed can be steamed or cooked in soups, eaten raw salads or dry the leaves to make tea. The stems, buds, 5-petal flowers and leaves are all edible. It’s often recommended for weight-loss aid and skin irritations.
Common Evening Primrose
Leaves and root of of common evening primrose are edible. The root contains essential gamma-linoleinc acid (GLA), a valuable fatty acid not often found in plants.