4-hour foraging tour: (Outdoors) Don't miss a fantastic tour of this vastly under appreciated park. In late spring... The city's hilliest park, with a large, mature forest, meadows, thickets, and cultivated areas, it's loaded with edible and medicinal wild plants. Red, white, and pink mulberries will be at their peak now. Too perishable for commercial use in the US, we'll get a spectacular harvest simply by shaking the branches over a drop cloth. Related to figs, these sweet berries are especially tasty and nutritious. Daylily flowers will also be at their peak. Used in traditional Chinese hot-and-sour soup, these "golden needles," from an invasive Asian plant, have taken over sections of the woodland's understory. Add them to salads or East Asian dishes, or stuff them. Most roots are out of season now, 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 the root like a potato, or marinate and bake slices to make "Wildman's" Vegan Beef Jerky.￼ There are plenty of late spring 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 single monthly cramp! We'll also be finding Asiatic dayflower, greenbriar, lady's thumb, lamb's-quarters, and goutweed, all great for salads, sandwiches, and soups. Common milkweed needs to be boiled to remove the bitter sap, but it has a flavor all its own, and we'll find it all over the fields near the park's summit. Sassafras root, the original source of root beer, stays in season all year. You use it for tea, for making root beer, and as a cinnamon-like seasoning. Another tree we'll look for is the black birch. It grows in the woods, has twigs that taste like wintergreen, and provides 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 those of aspirin. Or thicken the tea with agar, season and sweeten it, and make black birch Jello! We'll hunt for the flowers and tops of garlic mustard, which taste like garlic, and jewelweed, a panacea for skin irritations that cures mosquito bites and prevents poison ivy rash. With lots of rain beforehand and a bit of luck, gourmet spring mushrooms such as oyster mushrooms, chicken mushrooms, fairy ring mushrooms, and wine-cap stropharias may be emerging. ----- In late summer. The city's hilliest park, with a large, mature forest, meadows, thickets, and cultivated areas, it's loaded with wild plants. We'll be harvesting wineberries, blackberries, cornelian cherries, and elderberries, all different and all delicious. 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. Sassafras root, the original source of root beer, stays in season all year. 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. Y There are plenty of summer herbs and greens in season. We'll find mugwort and motherwort, both tonics for the female reproductive system. 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 irritation—it cures mosquito bites, prevents poison ivy rash, and more), and the fiery seeds of field garlic. 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.