The Wildman’s iPhone App
Now, I’ll start with my full disclosure – the Wildman gave me a promo code to download a free copy of the app, so that’s what I did. But in all honesty, I would’ve happily paid for it anyway. I’ve been hoping he’d create a wild foraging app ever since I bought my iPhone two summers ago, after all! My fantasy involved some sort of 20 questions style tool, but the well-organized database he put together instead serves just as well as what I’d envisioned.
I love his hikes through NYC parks, where he teaches us how to identify edible and medicinal plants around the city. I love his beautiful artwork, which is all through his cookbooks and now the app. And I love his recipes (even when I adapt them to suit my ovo-lacto palate).
The Wildman’s new Wild Edibles app is an incredibly thorough directory of the edible and medicinal plants you’re likely to find in North America. It’s easy to browse and search through, and full of photos and drawings to help you identify what you’re looking at. I particularly appreciate the big pink warning (and yellow alert sign on all images) when a plant has poisonous lookalikes, and the tasty looking recipes included with many of the entries.
A friend and I had a lot of fun playing with the app when trying to find cattails out on Long Island, and seeing how her recollections of eating cattails matched up with the Wildman’s advice. I’m going on a big road trip this summer, and I can’t wait to put it to good use then!
I’m also very proud of my [tiny] involvement – the Wildman emailed me to say that he put a note in the app about prickly ash and Sichuan peppercorns, which he hadn’t known about until I got excited and mentioned the connection when we found prickly ash trees in Prospect Park last summer!
(And speaking of using the iPhone with urban foraging – when we found those trees last summer, I immediately dropped a little pin into my maps app on my phone to mark the spot. So now, I can just search for ‘prickly ash’ on my phone and follow the gps directions straight to the right spot in the middle of the park. This sort of nifty use of technology is probably my favorite thing about living in the future!)
So, have fun! I’m getting more and more into urban farming, with my bees and my Dad’s sour cherry tree and the myoga (a Japanese ginger relative, with delicious flowers) I planted last fall. But nothing really beats being able to wander around and identify what you’re looking at as you go. At least in the context of urban foraging, this is the future I wanted.