Foraging with "Wildman" Steve Brill: Hunts Woods HG40-Adult
Learn about edible and medicinal plants at Hunt Woods! Dozens of common, renewable herbs, greens, shoots, roots and mushrooms grow overlooked in natural areas throughout our region. Learn to recognize them, harvest them ecologically, and use them to make delicious recipes and traditional home remedies.
Ramp Shoots at Hunts Woods
Hunts Woods is a little-known natural area that stretches for about a mile hidden between suburban homes.
The largest section consists of forested areas along a stream that runs through a ravine. There are also thickets and a meadow, plus a cultivated area with a ball field surrounded by vegetation. Each habitat has its own unique flora, and many of these plants are renewable resources, species that defend themselves by vigorous regeneration, i.e., weeds. The very plants that people destroy in their backyards and gardens are the ones humans have been using for food and home remedies since before the days of agriculture.
Jewelweed, for instance, contains a clear, watery sap that cures mosquito bites if you apply it soon after being bitten. It also prevents someone who has touched poison ivy from getting a rash, and it's so effective that chemists synthesize its "active" ingredient as the basis of Preparation H!
Japanese knotweed is an invasive Asian species with stems that taste like rhubarb -- great with sweet fruits in desserts, added to soups, or served as a vegetable side dish. It provides vitamin C as well as resveratrol (also present in red wine), which lowers cholesterol levels and helps prevent heart disease.
Grape vines line sunny thickets, and in the spring you can use them to make stuffed grape leaves. Greenbrier also grows in thickets. This thorny vine has abundant, piquant-flavored leaves at their peak in May.
Wild leeks or ramps, well-known in the South (and to gourmet chefs), will send any onion lover into rapture. Wood nettles, with their hypodermic stingers, on the other hand, will send you into paroxysms of pain if you walk through them wearing shorts. Pick them wearing work gloves and cook them correctly, and you have another delicious, nutritious vegetable.
Pokeweed is another a favorite in the South, where they sell it canned in supermarkets. But it's dangerous to use if you don't know what you're doing. Incorrectly harvested or prepared, it's poisonous. But under "Wildman's" careful supervision, all participants will live to tell of eating another one of the best-tasting vegetables in the world.
With lots of rain beforehand and a little luck, we could also find some delicious mushrooms. Resinous polypores, dryad's saddle, and chicken mushrooms are all possible finds on this tour.
Meeting place details will be emailed a week before the class. Please check your email and spam folder.
Bring plastic bags for vegetables and herbs, paper bags for mushrooms, plastic containers for berries, drinking water. No smoking at any time. No sandals (there may be poison ivy, bugs, and thorns).
Recommended knife, digger, work gloves, notepad, insect repellent, sun hat or warm hat.
Listen to the weather forecast and dress appropriately. Bring one more layer of clothing than you think you'll need in cold weather.
|Dates: ||5/5/2019 to 5/5/2019|
|Meeting Time: |
|| 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Hunts Woods Mount Vernon; meeting place emailed a week before class
|Instructor: ||Steve Brill|
Please Note: For classes that meet at the Bronxville School, room assignments are subject to change. Please check the schedule at the Elementary Entrance on the first night of class. Parking & Entrance Information is located on the bottom of the Order Confirmation.