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at "Wildman" Steve Brill - Manhattan
Discover the hidden treasures of Inwood Hill Park as you learn to forage for wild roots, herbs, and vegetables in this immersive outdoor experience. Uncover the secrets of natural remedies and culinary delights in the city's hilliest park, guided by expert "Wildman" Steve Brill.
Sun, Mar 17, 11:45am - 3:45pm Eastern Time
32 seats left Need more seats? See group options for 8+
Anne Loftus Playground
At Dykeman St and Broadway
New York, New York 10040 (Map)
|Important||Ticket Price is for Kids only. Accompanying Adult tickets are Sold separately.|
|Class Level||All levels|
|Age Requirements||1 - 12 years old|
|Average Class Size||35|
Inwood Hill Park is one of the best places for foraging in late fall. The city's hilliest park, with a large, mature forest, meadows, thickets, and cultivated areas, it's loaded with wild plants, even in late fall.
This is the time to search for roots. Here are some we'll be finding: Burdock, an invasive, Eurasian, expensive, detoxifying herb sold in health food stores, abounds in human-disturbed areas throughout the park. Scrub the root, slice razor-thin diagonally, and cook in moist heat 15 to 20 minutes or until tender. It's fantastic.The root is great in soups, stews, rice dishes, or for making the Japanese delicacy, kinpira gobo. You can also marinate and bake it, to make the "Wildman's" Vegan Beef Jerky.
Sassafras root, the original source of root beer, is a sure find. You can use it to make beverages such as tea or root beer, or as an exotic-tasting, cinnamon-like seasoning.
The black birch tree, on the other hand, contains oil of wintergreen, and provides the raw material for birch beer. You can freshen your breath by chewing on the twigs, or use them to make tea or birch beer. A strong tea provides non-steroidal anti-inflammatory aspirin-like compounds, good for pain and inflammation (it's used in commercial massage liniments). It’s also fantastic for seasoning puddings.
Violet Brill Enjoying Black Birch
Black birch contains oil of wintergreen or methyl salicylate, a natural forerunner of aspirin, that's also very tasty, making it the best home remedy for teething.
Another root the group will look for is the tuber of the hog peanut, a legume with a flavor akin to raw peanuts.
There are still more roots to seek. Near the park's summit, an overgrown area conceals wild carrots, a tastier version of the familiar garden vegetable, with a light beige taproot.
Peppery-sweet common evening primrose roots sometimes grow nearby. You can purchase a prostaglandin-rich oil pressed from the seeds in health food stores for PMS and other ailments, but you can't beat the root in soups, stews, and grain or bean dishes.
Pepper sedum is an unusual herb, often used as an ornamental, that grows on bare rock at the edge of a precipice. A tropical plant without the ability to die back in the winter, it's in season all year, and grows where it does because it needs the heat the sun-baked rock provides in the summer to reproduce. The plant tastes somewhat like black pepper, and makes an excellent seasoning in any savory dish.
Everyone will also find plenty of leafy green vegetables and herbs on this tour, since plants that tolerate the cold abound in this park. We'll be finding chickweed, which tastes like corn, parsley-flavored goutweed, resinous epazote, bitter-savory dandelion greens, pungent garlic mustard (which also has a delicious horseradish-flavored taproot), spicy field garlic, with delicious leaves and bulbs, lemony-flavored curly dock, and wild lettuce, only good in the cold weather.
Even though it's too late for most mushrooms, there are some species that don't mind the cold, and they grow here. With lots of rain beforehand, and some luck, we could find oyster mushrooms, tree ears, and enoki mushrooms.
In the Anne Loftus Playground in Ft. Tryon Park, 4746 Broadway, corner Dykeman St. and Broadway, Manhattan, NY, not inside Inwood Hill Park itself.
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Foraging expert Steve Brill has shared his foraging wisdom at schools, museums, parks departments, environmental organizations, and with scout troops since 1982. He’s written three books and an app, stars in a DVD and maintains a website.
His History with Foraging
As part of his exercise regime, he...
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