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Here’s the chance to literally eat your way through Queens.

“Wildman” Steven Brill will lead a two-hour walking-and-tasting tour of the proposed QueensWay swath in the Forest Park area on Sunday, Sept. 3, starting at 10 a.m.

The route will wind along an abandoned LIRR trackway (a spot that QueensWay plans to turn into a public space similar to Manhattan’s High Line) and wooded trails in a mature forest. Brill will examine thickets and cultivated areas, all loaded with wild plants.

Currently, Butternut Squash is in season, so participants will look for these flavorful morsels. They’ll find them and crack them open with rocks before devouring them, too.

There are other herbs and greens in season now, Brill says, and if it rains Chicken Mushrooms should pop up everywhere. Here are some other goodies he anticipates finding — and consuming — on the tour.

  • Burdock, a detoxifying herb often used in tea that’s good with potatoes and vegan beef jerky. Although most roots are out of season in the summer, burdock abounds right now.
  • Sweet Cicely, a plant with a taste similar to black licorice. It’s great in tea, desserts and oatmeal.
  • Black Birch, a tree with twigs that taste like wintergreen and contain anti-inflammatory properties. Steep the twigs in hot water for tea or birch beer or add to raisins, coconut milk, stevia, lemon rind, and vanilla bean for pudding.
  • Mugwort, an aromatic plant that the Germans use to season goose, the Japanese add to rice cakes and the Koreans add to soups and salads.
  • Lamb’s Quarter, a relative of spinach that is a tonic for the female reproductive system.
  • Asiatic Dayflower, which is great in salads, sandwiches and cooked vegetable dishes.
  • Wood Sorrel, an ornamental plant that can treat sore throats, cramps, fever, and nausea.
  • Jewelweed, a panacea for skin irritation.

Brill — a professional urban forester, naturalist, and author — has been leading wild food strolls through NYC parks since 1982. He gained notoriety in 1986, when he was arrested on criminal mischief charges by two undercover park rangers for eating a dandelion in Manhattan’s Central Park. (He was released before trial.)

Considered to be the foremost foraging expert in the Northeastern United States, Brill has published such books as “Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and Not So Wild) Places” and “The Wild Vegetarian Cookbook: A Forager’s Culinary Guide.” In 2011, he released the iPhone app “Wild Edibles Forage.” In addition to leading tours, he works with schools, camps, libraries, Boy Scout troops, nature centers, and even farmer’s markets.

The tour is free but the suggested donation is $20. Participants should meet at the northeast corner of Woodhaven Boulevard and Forest Park Drive in front of Victory Field in Woodhaven.

Images: “Wildman” Steve Brill


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