Yes, you heard right – there’s a new blog on the urban plant-lined block here in Berlin. It’s written in English by some adventurous urban foragers who have already taught me about several edible plants here, my favorite so far being the Turkish hazelnuts that I found, above. Looking curiously squashed compared to common, round hazelnuts but tasting just as good, these funny little nuts are currently raining down from street trees all over Berlin!
I may not ever have noticed these nuts had I not start reading this new blog. Its name is somewhat unwieldy, reading history in the green spaces of berlin, but I just refer to it by its nickname, Berlin Plants, which makes things easier. More importantly, I check the blog daily for the latest stories about uncovering edible plants on the streets, in the parks, and in the no-man’s-land where the Berlin Wall once stood. So far, the authors have collected, enjoyed, and or admired urban plants from turkey tail mushrooms to bright orange sea buckthorn berries (Sanddorn for the German speakers among you).
For me, the most useful post so far was the September 1 report and recipe on Turkish hazel, or Corylus colurna, including helpful photos like this one:
As you can see in the picture, the growth surrounding Turkish hazel is bigger and bushier than that of the Common Hazel, calling to mind young Hermione Granger’s hair. Also, the nuts are significantly smaller, meaning more work with the nutcracker for the same payoff, but this did not stop Berlin Plants’ authors from preparing enough for a pesto recipe of their own invention!
Berlin Plants reported finding Turkish hazel growing as street trees in multiple areas of Prenzlauer Berg, a Park Slope-esque neighborhood in Berlin. So when I found myself there last week and noticed that the sidewalk was littered with small tan nuts and large woolly tangles, I knew I had found an edible plant. I brought home this small handful to try first, just to be sure, and indeed, I have some delicious Turkish hazelnuts here! Perhaps I can collect some more this week.
Anyway, a warm welcome to Berlin Plants! I hope you’ll all enjoy reading about their tasty discoveries, which are just what the doctor ordered to cure what they have dubbed “plant blindness,” or the tendency we all have to overlook the interesting green neighbors right at our doorsteps.
reading history in the green spaces of berlin
Shout out: thank you to the lovely Hollingsworths for the lovely vintage-fabric coaster shown below the hazelnuts, above!