Last week's post about foraging for pink pepper led one reader to ask, "Where do you draw your knowledge of foraging from?" From websites to books to organizations, here are some of the resources we use to identify and safely eat wild foods. Do you forage for mushrooms, berries, edible flowers, or other foods? Share you own suggestions in the comments.
We never eat anything foraged in the wild (or in our urban neighborhoods) without doing lots of research to confirm the identity and safety of the food. This may involve talking to locals with deep knowledge and history, contacting scientists, and studying field guides. Here of some of our go-to resources:
Our favorite foraging books include The Forager's Harvest and Nature's Garden by Samuel Thayer and Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in Wild (and Not So Wild) Places by "Wildman" Steve Brill. (In the New York City area, you can go foraging with the Wildman himself.) Check your local bookstore and library for guides specific to your region, too.
Bookmarked sites in our Foraging folder include Foraging.com, Foraging Pictures, Eat the Weeds, and USDA PLANTS Database. Hank Shaw's column at The Atlantic is also a great read.
Many cities and regions have a native plant society, which may hold foraging walks and can direct you to local experts, books, and other resources. In addition, mycological societies often hold lectures and walks where you can learn about mushrooms in your area. We've also brought samples or sent photographs to mycologists and the local natural history museum to help confirm our finds.
How do you learn about foraging and identifying edible plants? Leave a comment!
Related: A Roundup Of Wild And Foraged Foods
(Image: Kathryn Hill)