I don’t know about you, but I love the idea of foraging. But of course, I only love the idea if I can safely identify the plants I am foraging for–and then I need to know what to do with them. Not everything can be tossed willy-nilly into a salad (or should be. Some things are far tastier prepared in other ways).
Well, of course my favorite publisher, St. Lynn’s Press, has come up with the perfect solution! I was delighted to discover The Scout’s Guide to Wild Edibles by Mike Krebill in my mail on Monday. I immediately sat down–before my coat was even off–and began paging through it. It’s that good.
First of all, it’s a perfect size. You can easily take it outside with you on a hike or a longer camping trip without feeling that you’re lugging a heavy field guide.
Next, although it is compact, it manages to pack a lot into its small size. There are photos of the plants, not drawings, which is important to avoid misidentification. And there are photos of several stages of plant growth, so that you know what to choose.
When a plant like poke weed, which can be toxic in some stages, is suggested, not only are numerous photos of the right stages of the plant shown, but other hints for avoiding the wrong stages are given, such as avoiding leaves with any purplish color in them, and changing the cooking water at least twice.
And, once you have found the plants, there are some wonderful sounding recipes listed, including one for a garden weed quiche he called GAZP, microwave purslane pickles, dandelion donuts–you get the idea. There are some very creative ideas here.
Both common and botanical names are given for the plants, there are numerous appendices of plant parts, for types of cooking and preserving, of phone apps and other foraging references–this is a complete book in a compact package!
Krebill’s background is equally impressive. He has been a science teacher, run a nature center, and of course been involved in scouting.
This really is a complete book. I am totally impressed.