Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer Foraging Walks

Quickweed - delicious in dumplings and green weed pesto

Prospect Park
22 June 2014, 12pm - 2pm

Come and explore the Eastern woodland edges of Prospect Park, and learn how to identify edible weeds and indigenous plants. En route we'll discuss their flavors, and how to use them in the kitchen.


In open meadow areas we'll find greens like quickweed, plantain, clovers, dandelions and mugwort. 

Mugwort and roast potatoes

There will also be burdock and pokeweed, with elderberry and purple-flowered raspberry on the wooded edges. If we are lucky, there may be mushrooms. 

Burdock stems and soy syrup

We meet at the Flatbush Avenue entrance opposite the Brooklyn Botanic Garden at 12pm. The closest subway is the B/Q at Prospect Park, a couple of minutes' walk away. From there we will move north, ending at the Grand Army Plaza end of the park, at 2pm.


Wild black cherries

Dead Horse Bay
16 August 2014, 12pm - 4pm

Dead Horse Bay re-match. After our spring botanical walk visit the dandelion pathways will have become wilder and woollier. Wild cherries should be ripening, and we may find sour sumac. 

On our way to the old bottle-littered beach we'll find lamb's quarters and other weedy surprises, and above the high tide mark there will be pungent sea rocket and hedges of bayberry. Collect ingredients for home made bitters and learn about infusing hooch with shoreline herbs...

We'll spend some time beach-combing slowly around the bay before heading back inland to catch the bus back home. Pack water, a snack, and sunscreen. There is a bathroom at Floyd Bennett Field, near the bus stop.

Brooklyn Bitters

We meet 12pm at street level on the triangle between Flatbush and Nostrand. The subway stop is Flatbush/Brooklyn College - the end of the line for the 2 train. Then it's a 10 - 15 minute bus ride to the wilds of Jamaica Bay. Please check subway schedules ahead of time in case of service changes. More details on sign up.



Central Park's North Woods
23 August 2014, 11am-1pm

In the hot and heavy days of late summer edible weeds flourish in the shaded parts of Central Park. Jumpseed, pokeweed and Japanese knotweed carpet the woodland floor, while plantain and burnweed pop up in sunny spots. Cornelian cherries, blackberries and hawthorn are hidden in plain site. As we walk, learn to spot these and many other wild edibles, and how to use them.

American burnweed

We meet at 11am on the SW corner of Central Park North and Lenox Avenue. Closest subways are the 2/3 at 110th Street, and the B/C at 110th.




  1. Quickweed? Looks very like a thing I'm cursing...will try for local ID and plan accordingly...

  2. Yes, the wretched indehiscent stuff is Galinsoga. One ID says "toxicity: none known" and apparently some sources say it can be eaten raw or cooked.Of course, I shall add some surretpiciously to a salad, maybe masking it with gay nasturtium flowers and basil...

    1. Send a picture. Too furry for salad, really. Cooked, it is a very, very good green - much nicer than spinach really, with that green pea like flavour. You need lots, though.

    2. OK, when the rain eases I'll take a camera out.It's ideal weather for it to proliferate, especially as I've weeded several patches, ready for "real" plants.

  3. Is quick weed the same as chick weed ? which I used to feed to my baby chickens when I was little.
    They love it. But you need plenty - for people not chickens

    1. No, chickweed is still chickweed (Stellaria media - much smaller leaves and sprawling, but also with tiny white star like flowers), and much prized as a foraged green. I tend only to see it where dogs have been, so don't pick it. I remember you showed me where it grew at The Ramblers, under an evergreen hedge next to the tennis courts. For Henny Penny.

  4. Yum! I'll be trying out Mugwort and roast potatoes. Just wonderin' though.. How does Brooklyn Bitters taste? Great post!

    1. ...bitter, herbal, a tiny pit almondy. It had black cherries, a few cherry leaves, Cornelian cherries and pits (cracked), bayberry and black pepper. Slightly almondy, too.

  5. I nibbled a leaf of the quickweed and it's rather like older borage leaves in its fuzziness.Tastes OK, but will try steaming it.When I have enough I'll try mashing it with potatoes...


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