New York

Yellow Wood Sorrel: Foods You Can Forage For in NYC

To most New Yorkers, foraging for food means digging out leftovers from the depths of the fridge. But “Wildman” Steve Brill, an expert ecologist, insists you can forage for food in NYC’s parks (and not just come out with a stale jumbo pretzel). There are tons of edible plants and mushrooms ripe for noshing if you know how to find them. Yellow wood sorrel kicks off Steve’s list of top 10 things to forage for in NYC.

Yellow wood sorrel


How to find it Yellow wood sorrel grows in lawns, along the sides of trails and roads and in partially sunny spots in the woods. It has small, three-parted leaves and heart-shaped leaflets, and in the spring it blooms with small yellow flowers. People confuse it with clover, which actually has oval leaflets. The delicate sorrel leaves fold shut to protect themselves from direct sunlight, heavy dew and rainfall (in fact, if you see them closed, you may expect a shower).

How to eat it You can use the lemony-tasting leaves, flowers and fruit capsules raw in salads, or cook them in soups or stews. They also make a fine tea: Pour boiling water over them and let sit, covered, for 20 minutes. Strain out the plants, sweeten as desired and enjoy, or chill it and serve as ice tea. Sorrel is loaded with vitamin C.

Hungry for more? Check back as we continue to count down Steve’s top 10 wild edibles. And be sure to check out Steve’s SideTour experience as well as his definitive smartphone app for foraging: Wild Edibles (for iOS and Android). 

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