Monday, January 13, 2014

What lies ahead

 Dead nettle

I'm fast forwarding three months. Early to mid-April. I was marking up my early spring calendar to see when and where I could lead some walks, and found these pictures I'd taken last spring on a reconnaissance mission.

I know I say something like this every year, but anticipating this early green riot is almost the best part.


 Field garlic

These plants excite me.

 Garlic mustard

There will be a lot of experimenting and recipe-writing. Late April and May will be busy in the kitchen.

 Japanese knotweed

We are closer now, in Harlem,  to two excellent foraging grounds - Inwood and Pelham Bay.

But I'm also scouting for private land whose owners don't mind the presence of a grazing plantswoman. I want more clean space, and the freedom to gather unfurtively; I really dislike the feeling that a park employee might jump out and say, Hold it right there! - while I'm collecting the juicy shoots of the most invasive and expensive weed on the planet: Japanese knotweed. As far as I know there is no collation of data on Japanese knotweed removal in the US, but the budget figures I have seen for its annual removal in the UK range from £70 million to £166 million.

The UK takes Japanese knotweed very, very seriously.

 Lesser celandine

 May apples



Also on the spring menu, the early cresses, cattails (I really need a clean source for those), and upstate ramps.

Got land? Have knife, can cook. 


  1. We do have land and you would be SOOO welcome here.... but we are in Massachusetts. That said, anytime you are in the 'hood let us know.

    1. Thank you! I might make a field trip...Cattails? I am really looking for larder of sorts to gather ingredients for recipe development...

  2. Looking forward to spring!

    Maangchi has a couple of videos of foraging for mugwort and wild onions in Inwood park, and then cooking some seasonal Korean dishes:


  3. P.S. Your photographs!!! So nice on a cold, snowy day.


  4. Much dead nettle in my yard and the celandine, too. What is it i should use them for? Not much chance of Picky Eater trying them, but I'm game.

  5. We do take Japanese knotweed very very seriously here in UK, because it very very quickly takes over everything native! I don't think we could eat it fast enough for this to be a solution, though it would be a much cheaper one..


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