I met Youko and one of her friends, in the park today and she asked me about herbs which will be available at the end of October.
Here is one which will be around because it’s an evergreen herb. Ground Ivy (Glechoma hederacae) is not closely related to tree and wall climbing common Ivy (Hedera helix) but it does like to grow in semi shaded areas. I found this beautiful patch close to the Hugo de Vrieslaan bridge exit of the park (inside). It tastes minty, makes a good digestive tea and I sometimes like it with chocolate or potatoes.
Burdock (Arctium lappa) may still be looking good then but will be way past it’s best. Today it’s looking OK, if a little nibbled by something.
Another herb which will still be very useful for the forager’s plate, come the end of October, is Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). It’s in the middle of Ground ivy in this photo. If the leaves are looking less than appetising, chase down and dig up the taproot. Give it a good scrub at home and use it’s medicinal energy reserves to fuel yourself. Dandelion is often used as a cleansing, strengthening liver tonic and is a well loved vegetable in several European countries. It can be used as a coffee substitute, as a roasted (bitter) vegetable in it’s own right or can be usefully grated into other food to as a bitter dimension. Dandelion is thought of as a weed by most so is unlikely to be missed. But if you begin whipping out the roots from clean locations for your pot, please ensure that you spread every dandelion clock you see around town, next summer! An interesting way of cooking the flowers (they may still spring up through the autumn) is mentioned here.
I also found plenty of Mugwort (Atermisia vulgaris) today, it’s still in good shape for picking and drying leaves to use through winter.