Saturday, March 24, 2007

Almost Foraging Time Again!

The chickweed never did die off around here, but so many other greens are starting to pop up. It's time to mention the cookbook "Wild Foods for Every Table". Blogger seems to be having issues with photos at the moment (ggrrrrr...), but we'll load the cover later.
This cookbook amazed me as it came together! Not just typical recipes that foragers have known for years, but terrific innovative and interesting recipes that use the wild veggies in a way we aren't all used to - as a regular part of the the diet.
The recipes are incredible - for delightful soups, salads, main courses, side dishes, and desserts - as well as scrumptious dips, appetizers, and beverages. They came from experts in the field, and from people like me - who have been passionately learning about wild edibles for years.

My first recipes came from Billy Joe Tatum's Wild Foods Fieldguide and Cookbook. I adore that book, and still reach for it first for many plants. It is in sorry shape. This book isn't a fieldguide, but there are some pictures and some essays to help the novice get started. Wouldn't it be great if someday, somebody felt the same way about this cookbook as I do about Billy Joe's book?

Some other great wild foods books:
Edible Wild Plants - Peterson Field Guides - Lee Allen Peterson
Medicinal Plants Field Guide - Peterson Field Guides Steven Foster/James Duke
Using Wild and Wayside Plants - Nelson Coon
Weeds of the Northern U.S. and Canada - Royer and Dickinson
Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants - Badford Angier
Edible Wild Plants, A North American Field Guide - Elias & Dykeman
The Forager's Harvest - Samuel Thayer
Books by Steve Brill
Books by Peter Gail

I could go on and on - but beginning with a good field guide is important. Most larger bookstores have section devoted to Field Guides and/or Nature. Look for titles that involve the words Edible Wild Plants, Wild Food, Weeds, and Foraging.
If, every year, you could add one wild green to your diet and feel comfortable with it - how to find it, prepare it, and store it - think how much more diverse your diet would be, and how much more self-reliant! Most people only eat a few vegetables to begin with (tsk, tsk) so learning 6 or 8 wild veggies and a similar number of wild fruits and nuts can take you a giant step towards being able to find your own food.
Some people know a lot about wild grains and mushrooms too. Add a rabbit or pheasant from time to time, and a couple chickens and goats. Suddenly, the grocery store is taking a lot less money out of your pocket each week.

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