August 1, 2020
This is one of the best places for foragers in late summer. The city's hilliest park, with a large, mature forest, meadows, thickets, and cultivated areas, it's loaded with wild plants. This is a great time for berries.
We'll be harvesting wineberries, blackberries, cornelian cherries, and elderberries, all different and all delicious.
These blackberries are so good, they'll give your iPhone a run for its money!
Most roots are out of season, but burdock, an expensive detoxifying herb sold in health food stores, is an exception, and it abounds in human-disturbed areas throughout the park. Instead of brewing it as a tea, it's so abundant, you cook can it like potatoes or even marinate and slow-bake it, to make the "Wildman's" Vegan Beef Jerky!
Sassafras root, the original source of root beer, stays in season all year. You use it the roots of this renewable tree to make tea and root beer, or as a cinnamon-like seasoning, and the young leaves are the classic flavoring and thickener of gumbo.
Another tree we'll find is the black birch. Its twigs taste like wintergreen when you chew them, and they provide the raw material for birch beer. You can steep the twigs in hot water to make a fabulous tea, with anti-inflammatory properties similar to aspirin. Thicken the tea with agar, season and sweeten it, and make Black Birch Jello, or cook the twigs in coconut milk with raisins, a sweetener, sweet herbs, and tapioca, then remove the twigs, to make "Wildman's" Stick Pudding!
There are plenty of summer herbs and greens in season. We'll find mugwort and motherwort, both tonics for the female reproductive system. Since I've learned these herbs, I've never suffered a monthly cramp! We'll also be finding Asiatic dayflower, lady's thumb, lamb's quarters, and goutweed, all great for salads, sandwiches, soups, and stews.
Wild seeds are in season too. We'll hunt for the spicy seeds of garlic mustard, walnut-flavored seeds of jewelweed the juice in the stem is also a panacea for skin irritations—it cures mosquito bites, prevents poison ivy rash, and more), and the fiery seeds of field garlic.
Garlic Mustard Seeds in their Seed Pods
These tasty, chewy seeds grow in needle-shaped seed pods, indicating that this plant must have evolved in The South Bronx!
With lots of rain beforehand and a bit of luck, gourmet oyster mushrooms, chicken mushrooms, chanterelles, boletes, and russulas may be emerging.
This summer mushroom is as tasty as it's easy to recognize!
Don't miss a fantastic tour of this vastly under-appreciated park.
The 4-hour foraging tour of Inwood Hill Park begins at 11:45 AM, Saturday, August 1, in the Anne Loftus Playground in Ft. Tryon Park, 4746 Broadway, corner Dykeman St., Manhattan, NY, not inside Inwood Hill Park itself.
- Participants should be dressed for the weather, and be aware of very bad subway service. Trains are often canceled due to track work.
- No sandals (there are mosquitoes, thorns and poison ivy). Everyone should have plastic bags for veggies and herbs, paper bags for mushrooms, which spoil in
- Plastic, containers for berries from late spring through fall, water and lunch, and extra layers when it's cold. Digging implements and pocket knives are optional.
- Please bring plastic bags for vegetables and herbs, paper bags for mushrooms, drinking water, and a pen (to sign in).
- Dogs are permitted. Children are encouraged to attend.
- There's no smoking whatsoever at any time.
Ticket Price is for Kids only. Accompanying Adult tickets are Sold separately.
The class identified is made available through CourseHorse, a 3rd party marketplace for Other Kids Camp classes and more. Groupon is not affiliated with or sponsored by the merchant, "Wildman" Steve Brill, in connection with this offer. Please contact Groupon customer service for all inquiries related to this offer. Inquiries placed to CourseHorse will be directed back to Groupon.