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Northeast Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Beach Plums to Wineberries (Regional Foraging Series) Paperback – April 8, 2014
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“Although I have over 200 books on foraging in my collection, I would rate this as one of the very best.” —Wildness Magazine
“Northeast Foraging is detailed, accessible, and useful to new and experienced foragers alike.” —NYBG’s Plant Talk
“Leda Meredith’s personable field guide is as close as you can come to having the author take you by the hand.” —Gary Lincoff, author of The Joy of Foraging and instructor at The New York Botanical Garden
“An invaluable guide for the feast in the East.” —Hank Shaw, author of the James Beard Award–winning website Hunter Angler Gardener Cook
“A wonderful, thorough guide for both beginners and seasoned foragers.” —Tom Kearney, chef at The Farm on Adderley
From the Back Cover
- A seasonal guide for foraging year-round
- Detailed information for safe identification
- Collecting tips for sustainable harvesting
- Tips for preparation and use
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Top customer reviews
Each chapter typically contains 2 full pages describing the plant(s) with at least one photo of the plant. A few plants are given 3 pages. More rarely, just 1 page or 4 pages are provided.
The single photos are typically very good. There are many instances where 2 or even 3 photos are provided. Nevertheless, there were many instances when I wished a photo would have been supplied to show close-up details of the leaf, flower, or other parts that were described in the text.
I was surprised to see that the author was apparently unaware that milkweed flower buds can be eaten raw -- i.e. not cooked at all.
The chapters are ordered alphabetically by the plant's common name.
Each chapter consistently includes the following headings or sections:
1. How to Identify.
This covers an overall description of the plant, its leaves, its flowers, its roots/rhizomes, and its fruits/berries/seeds/nuts.
2. Where and When to Gather.
This covers the general type of environment or soil type where it can grow, but there is no map or list of the states where the plant is found. I guess "Northeast" is all we get.
It also describes what season the edible parts are ready to harvest.
3. How to Gather.
This is not always obvious for some parts of some plants.
4. How to Eat.
This includes whether parts can be eaten raw and/or how to cook the edible parts.
5. How to Preserve.
While most edible plants can be eaten immediately, many may be refrigerated, frozen, or processed in some other way (canned, fruit leathers, jelly, etc.) so it can be eaten much later. The possible options are covered in this section.
6. Future Harvest.
This describes how to tell whether it should be left alone if it's scarce in an area, how to give it a chance to grow back next year, or whether it's an invasive species that should be gathered to reduce its impact upon native plants.
Some chapters contain this extra section:
For those wild plants that have parts or seasons when the part is not edible, is toxic when not prepared properly, or have look-alikes that are toxic, these chapters contain this extra section to help you avoid these problems.
I liked this book.
Although the photos aren't as large and as numerous as those provided in Samuel Thayer's books, Leda Meredith covers 3 times as many plants, so this book will definitely go into my backpack. Its pages are a bit thinner than Thayer's books so "Northeast Foraging" isn't quite so heavy. That said, the pages are more easily torn from frequent use. I tore the bottom of one page by holding it with one hand while reading it from cover to cover.
The great news for those of us who live elsewhere in the country is that Timber Press has embarked on guides that may come closer to us. Lisa Rose Starner is nearing the finish line on one for the Midwest. Lisa is an herbalist, and her manuscript adds that component to the wild edibles about which she writes. She is also knowledgeable about flavoring drinks with wild edibles. (It's my honor to be serving as her technical editor, which is how I happen to have this inside information.) Douglas Deur's book is coming soon. The title of his is "Pacific Northwest Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Alaska Blueberries to Wild Hazelnuts." Also coming soon is "California Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Evergreen Huckleberries to Wild Ginger" by Judith Larner Lowry. All three will be added to my library!
Northeast Foraging is written like the author is teaching you in person. How to identify the plant, where, what parts, when & how to gather. Even how to eat & preserve, ending with writing about future harvestings. There are warnings when needed. The picture are beautiful but, could be better in the identification of some of the plants. Listing toxic look-a-likes would be VERY helpful but not included in this book. Overall I still love this book. FREE FOOD FOR ALL
This is a great book for a beginner, but is also useful for more seasoned foragers.