May 23, 2014
Survival Skills: Learn to Forage for Urban Edibles - 0
by Tim MacWelch
Urban foraging has grown over the past few years, from a few folks offering plant walks in city parks, to a career path for urban outdoors people. There’s good reason for it too. There is an amazing array of wild edibles within the limits of every city I’ve ever visited. Tough weeds spring up through the cracks in the sidewalk and in green spaces throughout the modern metropolis. If you're cautious about pollution, you might surprise yourself with a fancy meal of city weeds.
DANDELION (Taraxacum officinale) This bitter herb is the King of the urban jungle. It can be found growing happily anywhere in the city. It has many redeeming qualities, including its use as a tonic and a roasted root coffee.
GARLIC MUSTARD (Alliaria petiolata) With the look of a mustard and the spicy scent of garlic, this nutritious non-native plant can create thick patches of flavorful greens in city parks and open spaces. It can grow in sun and shade alike, so look for it almost anywhere.
WILD GARLIC (Allium spp.) This can be the best condiment for your foraging feast. Look for this one in sunny parks, people’s yards, and any other open ground. The leaves and bulbs are good raw or cooked.
LAMBS QUARTERS (Chenopodium album) This native American weed seems to enjoy disturbed soil and busy areas. It can grow tall (2 meters) in good soil, and it provides the best spinach substitute available throughout its growing season. The small black seeds can be shaken into a bowl, and ground into flour.
ACORN/OAK (Quercus spp.) The nuts from oak trees are a calorie bonanza. They are also easy to collect, easy to process by leaching in water, and 0.5 kilos of acorns has more than 2,000 calories. And when you’re sweeping up the acorns from your neighbor’s walkway, tell him it’s because you’re just being nice. He probably won’t believe you if you tell that you plan on eating stray nuts off the ground.