Simply amazing how much edible stuff grows in a city like Amsterdam
In the last weeks I tried my luck as a modern hunter&gatherer living in the tourist ridden sin city that is Amsterdam. Underneath you will see a lot of pictures of local edible goodies growing in the little side streets of my hometown. But how would anyone ever try to try collecting edible plants and herbs in buzzing metropolitan city?
I don’t know when it happened exactly, but I think about 2 years ago I read a blog post about foraging for food in the crowded city of Amsterdam. The post mentioned a guide book, but unfortunately I forgot the title and even though I tried to find it, I could not.
Somehow the idea of foraging for wild herbs and plants in the city still stuck with me. A few weeks back I finally looked up courses on how to actually do this. The idea to just buy a book and walk around picking stuff and shoving it in my face seems kinda unsafe and dangerous. Ultimately I book two different courses both scheduled back to back. This meant that I had a whole weekend dedicated to learning all about the local herbs, plants, nuts, fruits and berries growing in Amsterdam. Hopefully I never need to go grocery-shopping again!
Most of the names of the flowers, herbs and berries are noted in Dutch – mainly because I don’t know the English names yet.
Saturday, September 2nd – What the heck did I get myself into?
For my first try ever foraging for edible stuff I signed up for a workshop with Roos and Marika from wildplukwandelingen.nl. We were quite a big group of participants and were split up in groups. I walked with Roos in a patch of nature called De Bretten. The region is surprisingly closed to my apartment but feels really secluded and isolated even though the occasional biker rushed by. This made it even more surprising to see so how much free food is growing around all of us (if you know what to look for!). In the middle of the walk we reunited with the other group for a small little picnic trying some foods and tea prepared with local herbs and fruits. Really nice to see how you can incorporate those local ingredients quite easily into regular recipes.
After the walk we went back to the place where we started – a small restaurant hip restaurant called Bret near train station Amsterdam Sloterdijk. The cooks prepared some dishes for us with the herbs Roos and Marika gathered the day before for all of us. Really cool end of this nice afternoon!
Sunday, September 3rd – Ooh, I recognize stuff!
The day after I went for a bit of a shorter walk with Ellen Mookhoek from www.debredemoestuin.nl. We walked in Amsterdam Oost – Watergraafsmeer and ended up in Park Frankendael. Ellen also wrote a book on foraging in the city which I bought and got signed during the walk.
As you can see above I took pictures of most of the edible stuff and will use that as a guide for foraging in the near future. Then on top, I have the book from Ellen and I put Roos on speed-dial on my phone to send her a text and a pick of plants where I’m not 100% sure. If you are interested in trying to pick free food as well, just try to google for workshops in your city. I was surprised how easy it was to find workshops for this!
Have you picked wild edible flowers, herbs or fruit in your city before? Ever participated in a workshop like this? Share your experiences in the comments underneath! (And if one of the names and/or definitions under the pictures is wrong – please let me know as well!!)