Garden News Blog

Learn the Tricks of Foraging

Garlic mustard
Garlic mustard. Photo by Lynnette Henderson.

Possibly the most authentic way to eat local is to forage for wild edibles. Given the correct knowledge of what, where, and when to pick, foraging can even help you protect native plants, as many undesirable and outright destructive plants could be tasty offerings at your table. Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata), an exotic potherb introduced in colonial times, is one such example. This invasive biennial, which is displacing native woodland wildflower populations, will add a depth of flavor to your soups and salads.

Learning to identify and incorporate edibles like garlic mustard in your diet is a wonderful way to get in touch with the natural world. Right now at BBG you can see examples of edible greens, nuts, and even some wild fruit. Although you can't harvest plants at this living museum, you can learn what to look for in the wild.

On Saturday, October 23, local foraging expert and author Leda Meredith will lead a deliciously ‘green’ tour of BBG’s wild edibles. Aside from teaching how to safely identify and harvest food, Leda will provide attendees with recipe ideas (ask about her famous acorn bread) and a lesson on the history of foraging in the eastern U.S. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to experience another dimension of BBG’s collections.

Register online or call 718-623-7220.

For more on urban foraging check out these resources:

The Locavore’s Handbook: The Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Local on a Budget, Leda Meredith (Lyons Press, 2010). A practical guide on incorporating locally grown food into your meals, this is an especially great resource for New Yorkers.

Buried Treasures: Tasty Tubers of the World, Beth Hanson, editor (Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 2007). This book profiles over 30 tubers that are easy to grow, great to look at, and delicious to eat and includes a guide to foraging wild tubers.

Foraging with the “Wildman,” Steve Brill. America’s best-known forager provides online field guides for wild edibles and a calendar of foraging events.

Michael Ratliff is the Publications intern at BBG.
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