Wild plants that are edible are free!
And of course, foraging for wild plants is a wonderfully green and ecofriendly way to eat and protect the planet!
How To Be Safe When Foraging
Of course, safety is important. To avoid danger, you need to know which are the wild plants that are edible. And today, that’s easier than ever.
Your main options are:
- Buy a reference book and learn from it
- Go on a course / guided walk to see how it’s done
- DIY option: Use a ‘foraging map’ and follow its route to find wild plants that are edible
- A combination of all or some of the above
Which method is best? It depends on your preferred learning style. If you prefer to be with a group, do a public course or walk and enjoy the company as much as the course. If you prefer to learn by yourself, buy a book or a forage map and find wild plants that are edible without other distractions.
Here are my recommendations.
Courses & Walks to Find Wild Plants that are Edible
In the UK visit Abundance London, it’s a super site with lots of foraging activities and pick-it-yourself forays. See foraging courses throughout the UK to help you find wild plants that are edible. Or try Food Safari in Suffolk for training courses.
My Top Picks – Foraging Book Recommendations
Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods From Dirt To Plate
This book is great for beginners because it focusses on a limited number of plants. Instead of being overwhelmed by choice, you can easily identify what you forage from the exceptionally clear photographs. The colour photos are the biggest advantage of this book, because they make identification so easy. Based on North American wild plants that are edible, the book also includes helpful hints like the best season to pick each plant. Plus there are wild plant recipes.
A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America (Peterson Field Guides)
What I like about this book is that it details poisonous look-alikes of plants you may forage, so it’s great for safety. Although it’s paperback, the covers are stiffened and that’s useful when it gets stuffed into a rucksack or opened with wet fingers! The photographs and drawings are good, but not as clear as “Edible Wild Plants”, and it covers more species of plants. It’s not as easy for a beginner to identify a particular plant from this book as it is with my first recommended book. Therefore I think the Peterson Guide is better suited to more experienced foragers who need more information on a broader range of plants in Central and Eastern North America.
The Forager’s Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants
This book limits itself to a relatively small number of plants. I like this book particularly for the author’s humour and wit. He is also quite scathing about other authors who make careless mistakes or perpetuate common myths. Everything in this book seems to have been ‘tried and tested’ by the author personally. He lists plant species which he enjoys eating (to be honest, some plants are perfectly edible but don’t taste great), so you know the recipes he suggests will work. Beginners will appreciate his hints on getting started with foraging, while more advanced foragers will probably feel this book is not enough for them. It’s the first-hand knowledge that makes this book shine through. Also appreciated are the pictures of the plants at different times of year, which makes identification much easier.
Choosing any one of these books, or any of the courses or walks above, will significantly improve your ability to safely find wild plants that are edible – and free!
Next: Top 10 Tips for Foraging
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