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Backyard Foraging: 65 Familiar Plants You Didn't Know You Could Eat Paperback – March 12, 2013

4.8 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Sixty-five familiar plants you didn’t know you could eat are the stars of this impressively comprehensive guide by horticulturist Zachos, who stresses the “ease and elegance” of foraging familiar plants—greens, fruits, nuts, seeds, tubers, and fungi—in yards and nearby environs. Safety first is the mantra when harvesting in the hood, Zachos instructs. She also provides a section on such necessary “tools of the trade” as bypass pruners and canning jars. She fully describes the categorically arranged 65 plants, from bamboo to redbud and ginkgo, providing how-to discussions on harvesting and preparation. Eye-catching sidebars on legality, quick plant identification, food-preparation tips, and more accompany the main text, which is abundantly illustrated with full-color photos throughout. Back matter includes instructions on freezing and dehydration and recipes for syrups, jams, alcoholic beverages (“Dandelion wine is the color of sunshine”), baked goods, and savory dishes. --Whitney Scott

Review

“[An] impressively comprehensive guide by horticulturist Zachos, who stresses the “ease and elegance” of foraging familiar plants―greens, fruits, nuts, seeds, tubers, and fungi―in yards and nearby environs. … Eye-catching sidebars on legality, quick plant identification, food-preparation tips, and more accompany the main text, which is abundantly illustrated with full-color photos throughout.”

(John Kallas, director of Wild Food Adventures)

“Forget farm to table. Here’s weed to bowl. ... Extremely appealing.”

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC; First Edition edition (March 12, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1612120091
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612120096
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #38,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
A top quality foraging book only comes out once every few years--and this is one of them. In the spirit of full disclosure, I confess that I got to review the book before publication, and that I have had the pleasure of foraging with the author. But those facts have not colored my opinion of the book--had I seen this for the first time at my local bookstore, I would have bought it immediately and then called my friends to recommend it. Here's why: The information is accurate. Ellen believes in researching what she writes, testing it in the laboratory of her own experience, and carefully explaining things in a clear, realistic, and intellectually honest manner. I have read the entire book and find nothing suspect. That means a lot to me. She gives each plant a two-page spread with 1-4 photos and enough text to explain the vitals of identifying, harvesting, and preparation without dallying on side-notes and stories like . . . ahem, some people I know. So the book is pleasantly space efficient. The photos are superb, generally showing each plant in a stage that is convenient for identification, as well as clearly demonstrating the edible part at the time that it is just right for eating.

The selection of plants is another special attribute of this book: it focuses on those edibles (both wild and cultivated) that most readers are likely to have access to in their own yards and neighborhoods. The plants covered fall mostly into three categories: ornamentals with mostly-ignored parts that happen to be edible, street trees, and weeds. While it is ridiculously popular for readers to complain that a wild food book doesn't contain this or that favorite plant, this book has a very thoughtful and useful selection that should be revealing to anybody.
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By Motif on September 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have tons of foraging books, and this one by far is the most beautiful. The author really has an eye for photographs and design. She covers with some depth, and covers plants I have not seen in any of my other books, like the Hosta.
This is not a compilation book just copied from other sources. Her view is unique.
65 plants is not enough of course. I want more! But, I understand a book can only be so big. Please author, I hope you are working on volume 2! I will buy immediately...
This is also the book I would buy as a present for someone brand new to foraging...
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Format: Paperback
I received this as an ARC and read through it. I really was impressed and pleasantly surprised with this book. I was expecting the same old plants that are always covered and the same old preparation methods. Or even worse, a book that is limited to plants that grow only on the west coast. I've seen that a LOT. This book covered plants both familiar and obscure with plenty of pictures and tips to make identification easier. She also included plenty of recipes and neat new ideas on how to prepare these wild foods. Many of the things she said are edible are things I would never have thought to eat. I mean, I've harvested a lot of garlic mustard and nettles and lamb's quarters from my yard. Violets even, dandelions. The typical things. It never occurred to me that redbud buds or dahlia tubers are edible and apparently quite tasty. I'm really please to have been able to read this and even more pleased to recommend it. I don't let ARC's affect the way I review a book. I'm always honest in my reviews whether it makes the publisher happy or not. This was a slam dunk for Storey Publishing. Then again, I hardly ever dislike anything from them! :)
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Format: Paperback
Backyard Foraging: 65 Familiar Plants You Didn't Know You Could Eat by Ellen Zachos is a collection of weeds as well as commonly grown garden and landscaping plants that are edible and not generally grown for food.

It's written for people who have recently started foraging or who have been doing it only for a short time and would like to know more about what is edible and ways to prepare it. Full color photographs and lots of information written in an easy to follow conversational fashion make it a very accessible book for people who are just starting out. The plants cover a fairly wide range of regional zones.

It starts with learning how to identify plants to be safe and how to harvest in an ethical way, and then talks about how to harvest in a way that doesn't destroy the appearance of your garden and landscaping. It explains about young shoots, foraging flowers, nuts and fruits and digging for edible roots. It also has a great section on the tools you'll need to enjoy your harvest.

Getting into the plants, each plant is described completely and has both the common name and the Latin name listed. The text explains how to harvest, and which parts of the plants are edible, and how they are best eaten. It will also show dangerous lookalikes and how to tell the difference. It's sectioned by types of edibles.

The first section is leaves and stems that are edible. This includes things like chickweed and miner's lettuce that can be eaten raw in a salad as well as things like fern fiddleheads that are best cooked.

The next section covers edible fruits and flowers. This covers crabapples and highbush cranberries as well as things like juniper berries, roses and prickly pears.
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