Foraging, Part II

Last month Mieke and I went foraging in Central Park with Wildman Steve Brill. This weekend we did it again in the Botanischer Volkspark Blankenfelde with Kraut Witch Elizabeth Westphal. Here she is talking about what you can eat from a fruit tree before it fruits:

Surprisingly we didn’t encounter any of the same plants here that we did in NYC, but there was still an incredible amount of things to eat. Here are just some of the edible plants we found:

the young leaves of a Linde tree can be used as a salad base:

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Johanniskraut (St. John’s Wort) gives good vibes in the winter:

Bärenklau is so named either because its three leaves look like a bear claw or because it’s the first thing that bears eat when they come out of hibernation:

The bright shinning blonde heads of these two girls prevented them from getting lost in this pretty field of tall grasses. Its finally beginning to feel like summer!

Scharbockskraut translates literally as “scurvy kraut” -high in vitamin C obviously! The tiny tubers on its roots taste like Jerusalem Artichokes, so yummy:

Into the woods we go. Remarkably there was a woman in a wheelchair in our group:

Gelbe Taubnessel, also with white and violet flowers:

Schwefelporling, “chicken mushroom.” I’m already looking forward for fall mushroom foraging:

Bärlauch or “bear leeks.” They fill the forest floor with an intoxicating garlic fragrance. Mieke and I harvested a bunch of the spikey tops where the flowers had fallen off to reveal a halo of crispy green beads that pop a mild garlic juice in your mouth when you bite into them. They were a delicious and beautiful addition to a giant green salad that we ate later that night while watching the European Champions final:

This is my personal favorite -Waldmeister, or “master of the forest!” Waldmeister has a really unique, sweet fresh taste that everyone here knows from the local beverage “Berliner Weißer” -beer mixed with either a red or green syrup. The red syrup is raspberry and the green is Waldmeister, which I always thought was a name made up for an artificial flavor. It totally blew my mind to chew the leaves of this plant and realize that it’s 100% natural:

Spitzwegerich -believe it or not, these plants are in the same genus as bananas:

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Breitwegerich:

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Ehrenpreis is beautiful, but tastes “a little pissy” according to Elizabeth:

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Back home, I took a bunch of yellow Löwenzahn (Dandelion) flowers that Mieke and I had gathered, carefully removed the bitter green leaves and put them into a jar of Black Locust honey (with a pinch of cinnamon and two cloves). In three weeks time I should have dandelion honey! I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas Day:

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2 comments
  1. Breitwegerich looks like “white man’s footprint” or plant that grown on compressed earth. it kinda tastes like lettuce.

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