Urban Foraging in Copenhagen
This summer, I've fallen widely in love with foraging. And there is no better place than Scandinavia to do so. Let me preface this by saying I have two main passions in my life: food and photography. Food is what nourishes me. It's what I'm most inspired in this world by. It's what has healed me. I love little more than beautiful vegetables and fruits of all colors, the healing power of wild herbs, the way food brings people together and the depth of color and texture of organic foods grown in a sustainable and loving way. A few years ago, while living in the Pacific Northwest, I took a mushroom foraging workshop in the beautiful Gorge located outside of Portland, Oregon with Wildcraft Studio School, taught by one of my favorite ladies Yellow Eleanor. Since then, I have been so inspired by wild foods and the act of foraging. During my recent trip to Sweden, I spent many of my days walking in the forest, collecting currants, chanterelle mushrooms, bitter greens and blueberries. It was the most meditative and calming experience for me. It grounded me and brought me to a place that felt like a deep, instinctual experience. After leaving Sweden, I craved the grounding and calming properties that foraging provided me with. So I decided to start urban foraging in Copenhagen. And to by surprise, this city has an abundance of wild foods, you just need to open your eyes. August is the perfect month to start urban foraging because there has been plenty of sunlight for lots of the late summer fruits and even early fall fruits to begin ripening. On a simple walk through my neighborhood I've found everything from plums, apples and blackberries to bitter dandelion and plantain leaf greens to herbs and edible flowers like oregano, chamomile and rose hip flowers. While berries and fruits are always so fun to forage for, I truly love the bitter greens for my morning smoothies (and no one minds you picking these "weeds." I thought I'd share some of the best spots to start urban foraging in Copenhagen.
Where To Forage
Østebro is one of the best places to begin foraging for all that I've mentioned above. It is easily accessible and close to the center of Copenhagen. It is a bit more spacious than other neighborhoods in the city and that means more space for patches of green. Wander around the train tracks beyond Østerport or around the sea by Svanemøllen. There are a variety of densely green patches between houses in the residential area around there rich with bitter greens, apples and plums.
Amager Fælled is filled with tons of wild food to be foraged. Apples, blackberries, bright orange buckthorn, sea herbs and loads of bitter greens. It's also such a nice opportunity to get a bit out of the city and spend some time by the sea.
Frederiksberg Garden is mostly filled with a "salad bar" of bitter greens. You can collect enough bitter greens for a weeks long of green smoothies. But beware, there are many bushes that appear to have red currants but are not an edible variety of berries.
Frederiksberg is another neighborhood that is filled with a variety of amazing wild foods like apples, blackberries, wild herbs and edible flowers. I love snagging some "rail road worker's roses" to put on top of salads. But take care here to only take a few things as these are often part of someone's property.
Those four places should get you on your way to some light foraging. One thing I should mention is to take care when foraging. Always be able to identify 2-3 things really, really well before you go out foraging. For example, when I go mushroom foraging, I generally go after three varieties that I know are completely safe, are easy to identify and hard to mistake. Anything beyond what I find is fun to try and identify back home but I never eat something unless I know that is one hundred percent safe. Also, always leave some behind for other foragers. It's not cool or nice etiquette to take every single last berry from a bush. Take only what you need. Also, don't pick things that aren't ripe just for the sake of increasing the volume for foraged goods. I know this can be tempting as it's kind of like a treasure hunt to pick as much as possible. But picking berries before their prime to have a big volume isn't that great when you actually get home and realize they didn't reach their potential. Also, to keep up to date with things that are in season in Denmark, I love to follow Noma forager Michael Fitzner. As any wise forager does, he keeps his locations to himself, but shares nice grams of his bounty for the Noma kitchen. If you have any other suggestions of where to forage in Copenhagen, I'd love to hear your favorite spots!