Beyond Dandelions: Learn How to Forage for Wild Edibles in NYC

reprinted from: www.newyorklocavore.info

A weed is simply a plant that hasn’t been cultivated yet.

NYC is full of edible edible roots, leaves, stems, and fruits and you can learn to harvest them safely and (sometimes) legally with our upcoming foraging walks with Leda Meredith in Prospect Park and Central Park this August.

In NYC parks, green spaces, and backyards, you can find apple, pear, fig, cherry, and mulberry trees, raspberry and blackberry brambles, strawberry and juneberry bushes, burdock root, garlic mustard, sugar bush, linden flowers, sarsparilla trees (root beer!), magnolia trees, and so much more! Yes, you can eat magnolia flowers (the buds).

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During this walk, you’ll learn about both native and invasive species along with how to mindfully and safely harvest them.

Leda Meredith is the author of Botany, Ballet and Dinner from Scratch: A Memoir with Recipes, The Locavore’s Handbook: The Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Local on a Budget, Northeast Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Beach Plums to Wineberries, and Preserving Everything: Can, Culture, Pickle, Freeze, Ferment, Dehydrate, Salt, Smoke, and Store Fruits, Vegetables, Meat, Milk, and More (Countryman Know How), coming this September. She is the guide to food preservation at About.com, teaches food preservation and foraging at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, The New York Botanical Garden, and throughout the Northeast.

But in case you were wondering about dandelions, keep reading!

Dandelions, one of the most popular of the wild edibles, has many uses and is know primarily know for supporting the liver.

The root is used as a coffee alternative, where the roots are dried, ground up, and roasted. Dandelion root can help balance blood sugar levels.

DANDY BLEND INSTANT HERBAL BEVERAGE with Dandelion

Teeccino Herbal Coffee Alternative Tee-Bag, Gluten-Free Dandelion Caramel Nut

The leaves can be eaten raw when young and cooked when mature, and contain high amounts of beta carotene, B vitamins, and minerals, such as iron, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous. They support healthy liver function and act as a natural diuretic, but without the negative side effects. When dried and brewed as a tea, the leaves can become homeopathic, alleviating allergies over time.

10 Ways to Use Dandelion Greens

The flowers are used to make wine, jelly, cookies, pancakes, and fritters.

Fried Dandelion Flowers Recipe

5 Recipes for Dandelion Wine

Dandelion Flower Cookies

Do you cook with dandelion and other wild edibles? How do you use them? Share your favorite uses and recipes in the comments below.