Wild Food Books (ID, harvesting, processing, cooking)


Edible Garden Weeds of Canada and Edible Wild Fruits and Nuts of Canada by Nancy Turner and Adam Szczawinski are becoming classics.  These are among the first quality wild food books to include ethnobotanical information, plant accounts, and author tested recipes.  Sold to the Canadian audience but very relevant to the Pacific Northwest (Turner lives in Victoria BC).  Turner is an internationally renowned scholar of Ethnobotany.

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Hailing from Oregon and frequently teaching in Washington, John Kallas’s book Edible Wild Plants, wild food from dirt to plate has excellent coverage of the Pacific Northwest.  This volume focus on wild greens and vegetables, and future volumes will cover fruits and more.  It includes detailed and well researched plant accounts, tasty recipes, and a lot of great pictures.


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 Renewing Salmon Nation’s Food Traditions edited by Gary Paul Nabhan provides brief accounts for 180 plants, animals, and fungi that were used by Native Americans, explorers, and early settlers in the Pacific Northwest.

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 Renewing America’s Food Traditions celebrates the history of endangered food traditions from across North America including both Indigenous and heirloom foods.  The book is divided up into “nations,” with the Salmon Nation covering our area.  Accounts have wonderful pictures and colorful histories.

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Sam Thayer’s books Forager’s Harvest and Nature’s Garden have set a new standard for thorough plant accounts based on personally verified and meticulously referenced information.  He includes excellent photographs (about 6 per account!) and brilliant essays on topics related to foraging.  Species coverage is continental with the majority of accounts having relevance to the Pacific Northwest.
 
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Stalking the Blue-Eyed Scallop, Stalking the Wild Asparagus, and Stalking the Healing Herbs by Euell Gibbons are the classic books on wild edible foods.  With limited illustrations, their strength is in the detail and skillfully written accounts.  They cover a broad range of plants and animal across North America, but still have a great deal of relevance to the Pacific Northwest.  Quite possible still the best sold books on the subject and easily found at your local used book store.




Wild Berries of the West by Betty Derig and Margaret Fuller has excellent coverage of almost all the fruit producing plants west of the Rockies, from delicious to poisonous.  Accounts include photographs historical uses, and tips on growing them in your garden.


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Discovering Wild Plants: Alaska, Western Canada, the Northwest by Janice Schofield provides photographs, plant descriptions, and well cited notes on the culinary and medicinal value of several species with personal reflections and recipes from the author.

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Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide by Thomas Elias and Peter Dykeman comes complete with full plant descriptions, photographs, and even range maps (rare in a wild food book).  The plant accounts are detailed and discuss how to prepare each edible part of the plant.  This is a guide for all of North America and worth a spot in a NW forager’s library.

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Spirit of the Harvest: North American Indian Cooking by Beverly Cox and Martin Jacobs.  This award winning cookbook has recipes from around the country but it has a large section on Northwest native foods.  Skokomish elder Bruce Miller provided several of the recipes.

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Čamus: West Coast Cooking Nuu-chah-nulth style  by Uu-a-thluk is a collection of traditional Nuu-chah-nulth recipes.  They also provide a feasting toolkit that includes pamphlets about pit cooking, smoking salmon, herring spawn, and more.

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Where People Feast by Dolly and Annie Watts is an Indigenous People’s Cookebook with traditionally inspired recipes for the Pacific Northwest.

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Traditional Food Guide by the Alaska Native Health Consortium is cookbook that includes recipes, nutritional information and cultural teachings.

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Pacific Feasts by Jennifer Hahn focuses squarely on the Pacific Northwest.  She covers foods from all walks, crawls, and swims of life, with deep roots in a variety of soils, in a way that leaves you with a berry big smile.  Contains recipes, plant accounts, and essays.

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Fat of the Land by Langdon Cook is a book and blog combo that explores Puget Sound’s bountiful wild foods.  Following food throughout the seasons, each chapter focuses on a single food type and concludes with an author tested recipe.

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Hunter Angler Gardener Cook is Hank Shaw’s wildly popular wild food cooking website.  Also look for his book called Hunt, Gather, Cook, Finding the Forgotten Feast.  Although he is based out of California, most recipes are appropriate for the Pacific Northwest.

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The Neighborhood Forager by Robert Henderson is a guide and cookbook for local wild foods.

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Wild Fruits by Henry David Thoreau may have limited relevance to our area (it is about the NE US) but is filled with poetic accounts of many closely related species.  Thoreau’s manuscript for this charming book was rediscovered and published more than a hundred years after his death.

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The North American Guide to Common Poisonous Plants and Mushrooms by Nancy Turner and Patrick Von Aderkas is an indispensable guide to plants we need to know (and avoid!) in order to safely forage.

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2 comments:

  1. Hi Dear, Thank you so much for all this information about Wild Food, it is very help full for me. You are great blogger, I want to talk you about Culinary schools. Easy dessert recipes are excellent foods that bring excellent wellness. Sometimes, these foods are better compared to those you buy as a take-out. Here is a step by step guide on creating a few recipes that are really quick to do and are guaranteed excellent and healthy and balanced. It will help you for your Culinary schools

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  2. Food is the basic need for the people. It makes much more advantages for the people. The taste of food in vegetable form helps us. This quality and freshness meet the desire eleven of interest. The wild fruits also attract us as these are the blessing of God and meet the desire level of satisfaction.

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