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Foraging guides


ScottyBoy
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After working at many restaurants that have local foragers come in to sell product and now reading through the Noma cookbook I'm very interested.

I do so much gardening for the heirloom faire but always see wild greens and flowers here in the Bay Area California.

Of course the standard google search came up with a list of books to buy but I was looking for recommendations from fellow forum members!

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You can take classes - such as this one.

There are several in the Bay area.

Berkeley

I have friends who live in Carmel and forage the coast. Check here for fees and what you will need. (fishing license).

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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When I was a kid, my family spent several years in Western NYS, and I recall my mum referring a lot to a couple of books by Euell Gibbons, called Stalking the Wild Asparagus and Stalking the Healthful Herb. From what I recall (I remember using them too, and bringing home my finds), they seem worth at least a look, even though hundreds of books on this subject must have been published since then.

Michaela, aka "Mjx"
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Hank Shaw has a useful post on foraging books here. For that matter, his website has a lot of great information, albeit not in book form. The content there may have been condensed down somewhat into his recent book, Hunt Gather Cook. I haven't laid my hands on a copy, but I gather it's not meant to be a thorough foraging manual as much as to provide inspiration and some gentle encouragement to get out and explore the natural bounty.

 

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I spend time talking to local aboriginal people, especially the older women, and just people in general who've lived here and who's family has lived here for a very long time about foraging and traditional cooking. I also talk to some of the local hunting and fishing guides who have knowledge of wild edibles in the area. The pickings are disappointingly slim even from the best information sources I can find. I've been considering trying to wheedle my way into being invited to one of the hunter's feasts or similar so I can hang around the cooksites and bother people for information but I haven't done it yet. I'm not sure about the etiquette of asking to join in on a traditional aboriginal celebration.

It's kinda like wrestling a gorilla... you don't stop when you're tired, you stop when the gorilla is tired.

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  • 4 months later...

I am also looking for good books on that topic. I am looking into several references and was wondering if there were some that were especially recommended. Ideally, I would like an identification guide for edible plants in California with lots of pictures/drawings (I am only moderately interested in mushrooms, more interested in wild greens or berries) and a few preparation ideas (not necessarily detailed recipes, but best practices on usage).

Here are the ones on my list currently, but I would like to narrow it down to 2 or 3:

  • Stalking The Wild Asparagus by Euell Gibbons (already mentioned)
  • Nature's Garden by Samuel Thayer (recommended in Hank Shaw's post on foraging books)
  • Edible and Useful Plants of California by Charlotte Bringle Clarke (also recommended by Hank Shaw)
  • Pacific Feast by Jennifer Hahn - I am intrigued by this one since I live on the coast and it covers sea vegetables
  • The Wild Table by Connie Green (seems interesting but about half of the book is about mushrooms based on the TOC)
  • Hunt, Gather, Cook by Hank Shaw

ScottyBoy - if you are reading this, what did you end up buying?

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  • 8 years later...
10 hours ago, Zimma said:

I would read with great interest a book about wild plants that can be used in food. Maybe someone can advise me such a book?

 

The guide should be locally reference based. General  is not the best route. Many areas have foraging groups that can assist. Also classes where you go into the "wild" give a better feel than pictures in a book.

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On 4/26/2020 at 12:21 AM, Zimma said:

I would read with great interest a book about wild plants that can be used in food. Maybe someone can advise me such a book?

 

Check out the works of Pascal Baudar including: 

The New Wildcrafted Cuisine: Exploring the Exotic Gastronomy of Local Terroir 

 

If you find yourself in southern california he also teaches classes through - www.urbanoutdoorskills.com/

 

I took a private class through a restaurant I was working at. He is a great teacher.

 

 

 

 

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Thanks @donk79. My book is much more of a cookbook than a foraging guide, and I don't focus too much on plant identification - just as necessary for my recipes. I second Pascal's series of books. All are amazing. I also love my Moerman books on indigenous ethnobotany - he has one on medicinal uses and one for food, but both are a great source of ancient wisdom that you can use for your area through the lens of the tribes that used to live off of the land surrounding you.

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That's true, @gfron1.  I was thinking less on the idenfication end, and more about what to do with them once I have them.  I grew up working outside, so ID is something I can take for granted.  If you have not grown up with foraging and harvesting, you should not be so casual.  And always double check your gathering regardless!

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On ‎4‎/‎26‎/‎2020 at 12:10 PM, heidih said:

 

The guide should be locally reference based. General  is not the best route. Many areas have foraging groups that can assist. Also classes where you go into the "wild" give a better feel than pictures in a book.

 

This.   x 1000.   I own most of the books suggested in the 2012 FrogPrincesse post.  They are of limited in terms of how much they can teach you.  I find it very challenging to translate a photograph, worse yet a black and white photo or a drawing, into an actual plant I come across.  There are also fairly extensive restrictions about what you are allowed to forage and from where, at least around DC.    Now would be a terrible time to make yourself sick or get in trouble.

 

You will learn a lot more having an experienced forager take you out, than you will from a book.   

 

Just my 2 cents

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