While many people go to the supermarket for their food, some people – like Steve ‘Wildman’ Brill, forage in the wild.
Recently, the Medicine Hunter, Chris Kilham, went to Central Park in New York City with Brill, who likes to forage for food there.
The pair discovered ‘poor man’s pepper,’ or Lapidium virginicum, a tasty member of the mustard family, which may prevent cancer, according to Brill.
Poor man’s pepper blocks carcinogens from getting into your cells – and preventing cancer.
“I think prevention is the best medicine,” Brill said. “I’ve been using a lot of wild foods for a long time. I’m in my 60s and seem to be perfectly healthy, which is not the case with just about everyone in my parents’ and grandparents’ generation. So the same genes, but different food.”
Brill said he uses poor man’s pepper in salads, and cooks with it – adding it to sauces or using as a seasoning.
“It makes a nice seasoning; tastes a little like arugula, a little bit like other mustard greens,” he added.
Kilham said he thought poor man’s pepper had a “nice, spicy flavor.”
Brill said poor man’s pepper can be found anywhere – it might even grow in your backyard – but the problem lies in recognizing it and making sure you have the right plant.
“Back in Columbus' day pepper was expensive,” he said. “People had food that was going rotten, there were food shortages. They needed to cover up the rotten food with spices that cost a lot of money because they came from Asia. That's why Columbus went exploring.”
Check out Brill’s website at wildmanstevebrill.com to learn about his downloadable app, which can help you identify plants.