A Forager's Library
It is said books are an uniquely portable magic. Books definitely add to the magic that is foraging. It is important as a forager to curate a library that is both invigorating and accessible, informational and inspiring. Fortunately for you, there are many great foraging books to be had! I started a list of great foraging books for you! Feel free to comment with any favorites I've missed.
My absolute favorite (and first) foraging book is Wild Edibles: A Practical Guide to Foraging by Sergei Boutenko. This author has a passion for helping you identify a long list of easily attainable wild edibles. With clear photos and straightforward data, this book is easy to take along or devour over a green smoothie (preferably with chickweed). Some interesting, mostly raw recipes in the back!
My next favorite is Wild Remedies: How to Forage Healing Foods and Craft Your Own Herbal Medicine by Rosalee de la Foret and Emily Han. This book covers over 25 plants throughout the seasons from spring to winter (yes, you can forage in winter!). Many herbalists will appreciate that it has both recipes and remedies. I definitely encourage any homesteader to add this to their library.
My next recommendation is Northwest Foraging by Doug Benoliel. This guide is simple and may feel bare bones to some but I think it has just the right dose of information. Short, sweet, and concise. It offers a beautiful black and white illustration of each plant on the one side and information on the right. It's small and lightweight to take along with you. For such a small book, it does include a lot of plants and information. For complete novices, I would suggest a full color book to go along with this one.
Botany in a Day is a great resource for learning botany and being able to identify plant families. I recommend the newest version because it is partially colored. The older versions are all black and white. I'm currently reading through this and really value the information its added to my foraging.
The Regional Foraging Series is a great resource for foragers. In Idaho, I use the Mountain States Foraging by Briana Wiles and her Mountain States Medicinal Plants. I love that the publisher expanded on the foraging series with the medicinal plants books. If you are in a different region, definitely check out their other books like Pacific Northwest Medicinal Plants or California Foraging. There will be some overlap so I suggest just purchasing for your region if interested in these books (although I was a bit disappointed to see comfrey not listed in the Mountain States version and listed in a different one).
If you've dipped your feet in to foraging before and now really want to get your hands dirty, I suggest Backyard Foraging by Ellen Zachos. I keep checking it out from the library so I should just buy my own. This book features full color photos and some edibles I didn't know! This book was eye opening but also contained numerous plants I don't come across in my region. Definitely worth the price of admission though!
If you are a homesteader looking for some practical advice on what to do with your backyard, I would suggest the Backyard Herbal Apothecary by Devon Young. Out of all the books, hers felt most like home (or the backyard). The recipes were practical applications anyone could make. Although, I would suggest this for someone with some plant knowledge (or you might need an identification guide to go with it).
Now I am just diving into The Forager's Feast and The Skillful Forager by Leda Meredith so I will have reviews or more information of these two at a later date. And the last book at that bottom of the pile down there is Weeds: Friend or Foe by Reader's Digest. It has pretty photos and is full of information.
Are you interested in a foraging class? Try the Foraging Course by the Herbal Academy. I'm currently taking their Botany and Wildcrafting Course.
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