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Partners/West Book Distribution Nature39;s Garden: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Wild Edible Plants
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- 512 color photos, demonstrating each edible part in the proper stage of harvest, plus showing important identifying features
- Acorns! - everything you ever wanted to know but were afraid to ask
- Step-by-step tutorial to positive plant identification
- Photos and text comparing potentially confusing plants
- Thorough discussion on how to gather and use the plants
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Nature's Garden: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Wild Edible Plants. Nature's Garden follows the same award-winning format of Samuel Thayer's first book, with in-depth chapters covering 41 new wild edibles. In this volume you will find the most authoritative accounts of several important food plants, such as hackberry and American lotus, available anywhere. You will find mouth-watering photography of cranberries, blueberries, huckleberries, strawberries, wild plums, and more. You'll hear of new methods for using dandelions. You'll finally be able to make sense of the tricky wild lettuce/sow thistle group. You'll discover that wild carrot and poison hemlock can be reliably told apart, thanks to a detailed chart accompanied by 19 photographs. You'll read about vegetables with a rich tradition of use around the world that are largely ignored in the wild food literature, such as cow parsnip, patience dock, and honewort. You can read more exciting myth-busting about poisonous plant fables and the maligned black nightshade, plus anecdotes about purple children and the hazards of eating cacti. Yet perhaps the best part of all is the book within a book about acorns: 51 pages of the details that turn these nuts into food. Sturdy Smythe Sewn Binding.Detailed information on harvest, preparation, and storage techniques.A foraging calendar showing harvest times for wild foods.A glossary of botanical terms illustrated with line drawings.Bibliography and recommended reading list.Fully Indexed for convenience.Author - Samuel Thayer.Binding - Paper - 6"x9".Pages - 512.Publisher - The Forager's Harvest Press.Year - 2010.ISBN - 9780976626619.About the Author - Samuel Thayer - is a natty dresser, he first led nature walks at 19 and besides wild food foraging, Sam is an all-around naturalist with particular interest in reptiles, amphibians, bird watching, botany, and mammals. His passion for wild food extends to studying the origin of cultivated plants and the soci...
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It includes photos of various parts (roots, leaves, stems, flowers, fruits/nuts/seeds) of each plant in various stages of the plant's life. It describes in words and photos how to distinguish each species from similar looking ones, with precise details so they are not confused with toxic look-alikes. It's very clear about what parts of each plant is edible and the season when that part should be harvested. It even describes the taste and gives advice on how to prepare it for storage or eating, including whether it can be eaten raw or if it needs to be prepared in a certain way to make it more palatable.
Most important of all is the fact that the author writes from personal experience.
This book and author exceeded my expectations and met all of my hopes for this kind of information. I have a half dozen books on wild edibles, and this book, along with Thayer's previous book "The Forager's Harvest", are now my first choices to go to when I need to know anything about edible plants. These 2 books cover different sets of plants. Samuel Thayer covers over 42 plant categories in detail in "Nature's Garden".
Aside: The physical quality of this book is impressive. The paper is thick so the book is a bit heavy, but better quality paper means that the pages don't tear easily and the photos are very sharp. Even the inks are high quality and do not smear from handling the pages.
For example, acorns are probably the most important staple caloric foot that grows virtually everywhere on the continent, and they not only get a write-up, but a very through description with detailed processing and usage information. This is the kind to information people need if they are to do more than nibble curiosities on the trail.
Being in the desert (technically steppe), the options I knew of from my time in the Mid-Atlantic and South aren't all available here. Sure, there's wild berries and dandelions but a lot more is different than the same. I wanted something I could learn from now to look like a hero next month. This book is it!
Just from what I had skimmed through since receiving the book a few days ago, I spent agood deal of time today on my hike identifying edibles. This is a very good book and well worth the price.
When I reviewed Thayer's first book, The Foragers Harvest, I wrote that it is as good or better than anything available on the topic. It has since become the go-to book for students at the Jack Mountain Bushcraft School. His new book, Nature's Garden, builds upon the high standard set by The Foragers Harvest and establishes him as the leading authority and author on edible wild plants that has ever published. It isn't slightly better than other books on the topic; it's in a whole different league.
The meat of the book is made up of plant accounts. These are in-depth profiles of edible plants, full of photos of how to identify, harvest and use them. The author bases all of his work on personal experience, so there aren't the usual falsehoods handed down by authors of lesser works. Instead, you get what works, along with anecdotal stories of how the author got to know the individual plants and how he's used them in the past. His writing style is conversational, and while there is a description for each plant that includes botanical terminology, the author writes it so as to make it accessible to the non-botanist. The numerous photos contribute greatly to aid the neophyte in identifying the individual species. The Harvest And Preparation section for each plant is where the author's experience really shines. Whereas the Peterson's Field Guide To Edible Wild Plants will list "starchy root" or similar descriptive term after a plant, Thayer has several pages of highly descriptive how-to information. To use a specific example, most books on edible plants have a sentence or two on acorns. Nature's Garden has 50 pages.
Anyone who has read The Foragers Harvest would expect the Plant Accounts to be encyclopedic and accessible, full of great photos and useful information. On this point, they deliver. If the book contained just Plant Accounts it would still be a fantastic resource. But there's more to outdoor living and foraging than how-to, and in the first section of the book the author gives a snapshot into the mind of living with wild foods. With sections on getting started, the ethics of harvesting wild plants, conservation, personal experiences on a wild food diet and a harvest calendar, he provides those new to foraging a great jumping off point. In a section titled Some Thoughts On Wild Food, he offers useful advice such as don't make a wild plant fit the description in the book (which is a common pitfall), then expounds upon the myth of the instant expert. The last chapter of the section is titled "Poison Plant Fables", where he discusses the story of Christopher McCandless and how his demise in Alaska, chronicled in the book and movie Into The Wild, didn't occur as the famous author of his biography would have us believe. He didn't poison himself by eating the wrong plant. Rather, he starved to death. By pointing out the facts, though, he doesn't poke fun at McCandless like so many armchair survivalists like to do. Instead, he treats him with respect, saving his derision for the authors and movie producers for not telling the truth. The money quote from this section comes in a section titled "What Lessons About Wilderness Survival And Wild Food Can Be Drawn From The Story Of Chris McCandless?"
'In a short term survival situation, food is of minor importance. However, in long term survival or "living off the land", it is of paramount importance.'
Bushcraft continues to evolve for me away from skills and toward personal relationships with the land and people. While I've never met Samual Thayer, after reading this first section I feel that we're kindred spirits.
There isn't a better book on edible wild plants. Taken together with The Foragers Harvest, it is the last word on the topic in print. I don't think more can be learned from any book; to go beyond what Thayer has written, you have to be out there actively foraging.