Berlin has no shortage of greenery, but it’s not just nice to look at – a lot of it is edible, too. No matter the season, there are plenty of ingredients up for grabs in and around the city…if you know where to look. Here’s our ultimate guide to Berlin’s top forageable foods, including when and where to get them. But remember, if you’re not sure whether a plant is edible, make like a tree and leaf it be!
For more information on foraging in Berlin, check out the online foraging platform Mundraub.
Bärlauch (Allium ursinum)
Also known as wild garlic, this plant is of the same family as onion and garlic, making it a tasty addition to soups, salads and other savoury dishes. Throughout March and June, we have it on good authority that it can be found in the moist woodland of the Plänterwald and Hasenheide park.
But Berliners beware! Before you start tossing things in your basket, it’s important to be able to distinguish between Bärlauch and its poisonous doppelgangers: lilies of the valley (Convallaria majalis), autumn crocuses (Colchicum autumnale) and adder’s root (Arum maculatum). Luckily, Bärlauch has one thing that these poisonous plants don’t have: a distinctive garlicky smell.
Waldmeister (Galium odoratum)
In English, this plant is called sweet woodruff or sweet-scented bedstraw – and for good reason: its sweet aroma has earned it the title of ‘vanilla of the forest’, which is why you often find soft drinks and teas artificially recreating its flavour. While it was banned in industrial production in the 70s for being poisonous to rodents, even large doses have never been found to harm humans. So fret not, foragers: from March through June, we’ve heard you can find Waldmeister in some moist, wooded spots near Hakescher Markt and Ulap park.
Dandelion (T. officinale and T. erythrospermum)
Whether you want to make a wish or garnish a dish, dandelions are a widely available, versatile and tasty addition to your harvest. While there are many different subspecies, the two most common are T. officinale and T. erythrospermum, both of which are entirely edible, from their leaves to their flowers. As such, dandelions can be found in a wide range of Eurasian cuisines. Their yellow flowers can also be ground up and used as a dye. For Berliners on the hunt for dandelions this spring, Treptower park is a good place to start!
Asparagus (Asparagus officinalis)
While you’d probably have trouble foraging for asparagus in the city, we couldn’t risk the backlash of omitting it in a list of edible spring plants. Besides, it’s not like there aren’t a million other ways to get your hands on some fresh asparagus around here; there are plenty of farms and markets in and near Berlin to help you sate your seasonal cravings.
- Jakobs-Höfe Beelitz Kähnsdorfer Weg 1a, Beelitz, details.
- Spargelhof Klaistow Buschmann & Winkelmann Glindower Str. 28, 14547 Beelitz, details.
- Domstiftsgut Mötzow Gutshof 1, 14778 Beetzseeheide, details.
Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries
Okay, so this doesn’t quite count as foraging either, but if you’re looking to pick your own strawberries, blueberries or raspberries this Summer, Berliner Beerengӓrten have plenty to spare. With multiple locations around Berlin that are ripe for the picking starting in May, these gardens are the perfect destination for sunshine and sweets. Not all berries are ready to be harvested at the same time, though, so be sure to check their calendar and plan your trip in advance!
- Berliner Beerengӓrten multiple locations, details.
Cherries (Prunus avium)
Composing a particularly tasty branch of the rose family tree, cherries come in a variety of subspecies, such as the sweet Prunus avium. Cherry trees can grow up to 30 metres and bloom in April and May, but peak picking-season doesn’t start until June. Preferring temperate climates, they can be found across Europe and Asia, including plenty of spots around Berlin. Chase some cherries in Mauerpark, Volkspark Friedrichshain or the Rixdorfer Höhe – just watch out for the pits.
Blackberries (Rubus allegheniensis)
Despite their name, blackberries aren’t technically berries, but that doesn’t make them any less deliciously sweet. This member of the rose family comes with some thorns, though. No, really, the branches of the blackberry bush are covered in thorns, so you might want to put on some gardening gloves before you start picking.
Though blackberries on a single bush are rarely ripe all at the same time, they’re generally ready to be harvested from July through September, making them a delicious late-Summer snack. Berliners looking to bag some blackberries have plenty of options all across the city, but we’ve heard they’re especially prevalent along the edges of forests in Potsdam, around Tempelhofer Feld and between Treptower park and the Plänterwald.
While fungi are abundant in Brandenburg and Grunewald, it takes a sophisticated eye to know which kinds are delicious and which kinds are dangerous. For the former category, you want to look for big, snakeskin-stemmed parasols (Macrolepiota procera), spongy bay boletes (Imleria badia), and prized porcini (Boletus edulis). As for how to distinguish them from their poisonous doppelgangers, we made an in-depth guide to help you forage safely.
Apples (Malus domestica)
Whether they’re used in a Strudel or just eaten plain, apples are as delicious as they are versatile – and there are plenty of apple trees to choose from all across Berlin. From August through October, you can find ripe apples growing in Mauerpark, Gӧrlitzer Park, along the Maybachufer, in Volkspark Friedrichshain, and plenty of other locations scattered throughout the city.
Hazelnuts (Corylus avellana and Corylus colurna)
Through September and October, lightly-wooded areas across Berlin should be littered with fallen hazelnuts. But don’t worry, that’s a good thing: when hazelnuts fall from their branches, it means they’re ready to be harvested.
Be on the lookout for six-metre hazel shrubs (and the occasional ten-metre tree) in parks and along streets, such as in Ernst-Thälmann Park, South-West of Einstein Park, Rixdorfer Höhe, and between Waldemarbrücke and Mariannenplatz. Just be sure to leave some for the squirrels!
Rosehip (Rosa canina)
As you may have already guessed, foraging gets more difficult in the winter months. In the case of rosehips, that’s partially because they grow in dense, thorny thickets that can get up to three metres tall. But if you can forage with a little finesse, you can reward yourself afterwards with some homemade rosehip tea.
Tempelhofer Feld, Hasenheide, along the Spree in Treptower Park, and on the riverbanks South of Stade Napoleon are some examples of where to find wild rosehip bushes in Berlin, but there are plenty of them scattered throughout the city.
Sea-buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides)
This stubborn shrub can survive just about anything from frost to drought, which means its yellow-slash-orange berries are ripe for a winter harvest. Its uses vary, as the plant is a common ingredient in food, traditional medicine and even cosmetics. But whatever you use it for, sea-buckthorn can be found in plenty of spots throughout Berlin, such as in Jelena-Šantić-Friedenspark and even the area surrounding S-Bahnhof Südkreuz. If you don’t mind a bit of a hike, you can also find some in Mӓrkische Schweiz.
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)
While blackthorn blooms in the spring, its dark purple berry-like fruit, called a sloe, isn’t ready for harvest until after the first frosts of autumn and winter. Its astringent flavour makes it an acquired taste on its own, but it’s perfect for preserves. You’ll find blackthorn shrubs growing in lots of places throughout the city, but they’re prevalent in sunny spots in and around Volkspark Rehberge.
Looking for something that’s not on our list? The online foraging platform Mundraub has an interactive map where you can see where fellow foragers have found a wide range of different edible plants!