Adventures: Picking weeds in the park and eating themBy Michelle | June 24th, 2011 | Category: Cool Stuff, Stuff to do | No Comments »
I’m back from my first day at a course on “Urban Edibles”, being run by the P.I.N.E. Project near Toronto’s High Park. (If you’ve never checked them out, you should – really interesting, innovative work they’re doing). I’ve been lurking on the P.I.N.E. Project website for some months now, trying to figure out how to fit some of their programs into our schedule. Still, when a course on foraging wild plants in an urban area came up, I was intrigued with enough reservation not to entertain spending almost three days and $200 doing actually doing it.
Then two things came together. First, my friend, Malgosia, signed up for the course so I wouldn’t be alone. Second, my first outing to the garden centre to get native plants that might also be edible resulted in my bringing home three species – which I promptly discovered are all mildly to moderately poisonous. That was motivation enough.
The first evening hasn’t disappointed (despite my being an hour late). We spent about two hours getting introduced and getting to understand the very basics of the field guide. Then, we headed out to look around the park nearby – finding and learning about how to identify plants by their flower.
I also picked up some interesting facts about really common ‘weeds’ like white clover (can be dried and used as a vanilla substitute in baked goods), yarrow (used as a poultice on cuts it can slow bleeding) and milkweed (the flowers smell awesome). And, yes, I even shared in some bread made from acorn flour harvested right in High Park (surprisingly good) and ate some clover (considerably less good than the bread).
Have you ever foraged for food? Would you try it?