Alley Salad

Collect delicious and nutritious food in your own back alley.

Denver’s alleys are full of character, but they’re also full of delicious and nutritious edible herbs and plants — enough, in fact, to make what herbalist Tonja Reichley calls an “alley salad.” The owner of Moondance Botanicals, 601 Corona Street, Reichley leads an Urban Foraging expedition today from Denver Botanic Gardens in search of lamb’s quarter, purslane (high in omega-3), dandelion leaves, harebell (“a delicious little purple flower that tastes like the color purple,” she says), fresh catnip (which can be used in place of basil in pesto), malo (with edible leaves, flowers and a nutty-tasting fruit called a cheesewheel) and more. “This time of year is really good. It’s not too hot yet, and lots of plants are fresh and young. July and August are tougher,” she says. The class, which will walk down alleys around Congress Park, includes information on how to recognize each plant and how to stay away from unhealthy ones that may have been damaged by animals or chemicals. Reichley forages quite a bit in her own Park Hill neighborhood and says she sometimes gets strange looks. But wild plants are worth it, because they “reconnect us to the earth, nutritionally and energetically.” The class, which concludes with a huge alley salad feast topped with Reichley’s homemade dressing, meets at 10 a.m. at the DBG information desk, 1005 York Street. The fee is $29 for members and $34 for non-members. For more information, call 720-865-3500 or log on to www.botanicgardens.org.
Sat., July 26, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 2008

 
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