If you're a foraging newbie, learning about how to gather and prepare wild food can seem daunting. And if you're a seasoned forager, you can always use new inspiration for what to do with the bounty. Here are four new resources for both crowds, including two cookbooks, a memoir, and an audio tour.
The Forager's Kitchen: Over 100 Easy Recipes, from Savory to Sweet
• Who wrote it: Fiona Bird
• Who published it: Cico Books
• Number of recipes: Over 100
• Recipes for right now: Elderflower Scotch Pancakes, Honeysuckle and Sorrel Sorbet, Wild Cherry Blossom Panna Cotta, Blackberry and Wild Thyme Leathers, Sweet Cicely and Rhubarb Smoothie
• Other highlights: In this nicely photographed book, Scottish author Fiona Bird shares her wild plant knowledge, including where to find, how to forage and gather, how to use, and related folklore. Edibles are primarily those found in the UK countryside, with some tips for urban foragers. Even if you don't have the specific ingredients where you live, there are lots of inspiring ideas that can be adapted by foragers around the world.
Wild Food: Nature's Harvest: How to Gather, Cook & Preserve
• Who wrote it: Biddy White Lennon and Evan Doyle
• Who published it: The O'Brien Press
• Number of recipes: Over 60
• Recipes for right now: Wild Nettle Beer, Wild Dillisk and Lemon Cream, Wild Sorrel Tabbouleh, Pickled Wild Rock Samphire, Inis Turk Delights of Wild Hawthorn Flower and Poitín
• Other highlights: In this combination field guide and cookbook, Irish writer Biddy White Lennon and chef Evan Doyle focus on the wild foods commonly found in Ireland. From hedgerow to seashore, they share advice for when and how to forage, where to look, how to pick, how to prepare, and how to preserve. This is primarily a book for people living in or traveling to Ireland, but those who are interested in foraging culture around the world might also enjoy it.
Dandelion Hunter: Foraging the Urban Wilderness
• Who wrote it: Rebecca Lerner
• Who published it: Lyons Press
• Number of recipes: n/a (there are 10 recipes in an appendix, but this is not a cookbook per se)
• Recipes for right now: n/a
• Other highlights: Rebecca Lerner is an urban forager in Portland, Oregon, creator of the website First Ways, and now author of a non-fiction memoir about her adventures. Lerner's stories about the plants and people she meets are engaging, entertaining, and heartfelt. While this isn't a cookbook or field guide, I highly recommend it for seasoned foragers, curious newbies, and anyone interested in discovering the natural world around them.
Hen of the Woods & Other Wild Foods and Medicines: A Guided Tour Including Folklore
• Who wrote it: "Wildman" Steve Brill
• Who published it: AudioGO
• Number of recipes: n/a
• Recipes for right now: n/a
• Other highlights: In this new audiobook, "Wildman" Steve Brill leads listeners on a seasonal foraging tour of the Northeastern US, including rural New England and urban Central Park. Ideally, foraging is learned in person and/or with visuals, but the "Wildman" is entertaining and informative, and this 2 1/2-hour audio is a fun supplementary resource. The New York naturalist also discusses foraging as a family with kids.
Find these at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon:
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(Images: Emily Han)