New York

Peppergrass: Foods You Can Forage in NYC

A picnic in the park takes on a whole new meaning when you forage for your vittles. Given the warm weather, we’ve been showcasing Wild Man Steve Brill’s favorite food finds that are just ripe for the picking at a city park near you. Up this week to enrich your taste buds: Poor Man’s Pepper, a variety of peppergrass.


How to find it You’ll spot this common weed in sunny, disturbed habitats along roadsides or thriving in sandy soil from spring to fall. The mature plant boasts several branches with alternating single leaves and seed stalks, along with intermittent flat, circular seedpods.

How to eat it Use the spicy leaves, flowers and seedpods for zesty salads, soups, sauces and casseroles. You can also grind up the green seedpods to make superb wild mustard by pulverizing them in a blender with vinegar, miso, garlic, turmeric and salt.

What to “serve” with it For a full meal of foraged foods, be sure to also hunt for yellow wood sorrelchicken mushroomslamb’s quartersburdockjuneberries and mulberries—the first six edibles on Steve’s list. Can’t find what you’re looking for? Join Steve on his SideTour or download his app, Wild Edibles (for iOS and Android).

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