A Forager's Tasting

Today I led a foraging event for Slow Food NYC. We started out identifying wild edible plants in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. It was a lovely day for it, and aside from the part where I came out the wrong exit from the Ravine and thereby doubled the length of the walk back (oops), it was a lot of fun.

Among the edibles we ID’d: burdock a.k.a. gobo (Arctium lappa), wood sorrel (Oxalis acetosella), Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica syn. Polygonum cuspidatum), white and red clovers (Trifolium spp.), cronewort a.k.a. mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), sassafras (Sassafras albidum), daylily (Hemerocallis fulva), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), violet (Viola spp.), garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata ), goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria), poke (Phytolacca americana), elderberry (Sambucus canadensis), and wild rose (Rosa spp.).

The only plant I actually collected for myself today was sassafras leaves. The filee powder used to thicken and flavor Creole gumbo is nothing more than dried, ground sassafras leaves (and yes, Dad, I picked enough to send you some!)

After the foraging walk we went to Beer Table, a delightful Park Slope food and drink room that generously donated their space to Slow Food for the event. I had stopped by earlier in the afternoon to drop off the food I cooked yesterday for a tasting: chilled knotweed-sorrel soup with homemade yogurt

and buttermilk bread with acorn flour and red clover blossoms, served with some of Ronnybrook‘s fab butter.

Several people went for seconds on the soup, and the three loaves of bread pretty much disappeared, which made this cook happy.

I used up every single jar of home-canned stock I had in the house to make the soup. I thought about cheating and buying some boxed organic (but not local) from the store–after all the soup wasn’t technically for me. But it just felt wrong. Now I guess I’m either buying a chicken for the sole purpose of making stock, or I’m doing without until I can stockpile enough bones in the freezer for another batch. It was worth it.


Not sure what this is about? Read Getting Ready for the 250-Mile Diet and The Rules

3 responses to “A Forager's Tasting”

  1. acmeplant says:

    I’ve been thinking about you all day, wondering how it went. Sounds like it was a huge success, congratulations! And your haircut looks terrific. Tell me, did you use the basic knotweed soup recipe and add the sorrel on top or did you incorporate sorrel into the soup recipe?

  2. ledameredith says:

    Glad you like the cut!
    I took the basic knotweed soup recipe and added the sorrel on top to kick up the lemony tartness.

  3. mattf says:

    I’m so glad it went well, Leda. I’m so sorry I missed it.

    Sounds like yummy food, too.

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