View Full Version : Recommend books on edible plants?
Hi everyone, I'm a new member around here. You seem like a friendly bunch so I thought I should bother you with my question :-D
I've been on the lookout for a book that can point me in the right direction for making meals entirely from things available in the wild. It needs to cover everything from identifying the plant to me eating it, and wondered if any of you could recommend one?
I spent a few hours in Waterstones this morning and the staff were incredibly helpful. Unfortunately the closest book I could find was "Food for Free" by Richard Mabey (2nd edition). Although a fantastic book, the recipes were along the lines of "take the berries, saute it in some wine and add butter, before adding to the oven covered in leaves". Not ideal when all you have is a 5x5 tarp and two mess tins.
I'd be grateful if anyone could help out, either with a book title or even some field notes they've taken in the past.
hmmm, I haven't seen a book which would exactly fit your needs. The Mabey book is probably closest.
Roger Phillips' book: "Wild Food" has loads of recipes, but I guess mostly kitchen based.
Hugh Fearsome-Whatsisname has loads of recipes in his River Cottage Cookbook and his website (http://www.rivercottage.net/index.jsp) is full of useful info and a " What's good now" section
Oh, and Welcome :-D
Hi and welcome to BCUK :-)
Food for free is probably your best start point. Look at the recipies and just see how the plants/roots/berries/nuts are cooked... ie roasted/boiled/steamed/baked.... thats your start point :-)
Then add few herbs (learn to identify them or if not available carry some) and some seasoning (I always carry salt/pepper and a few spices) and you'll eat well.
You have to play around with recipies and improvise.... thats the trick with cooking.
Hope this has been some help. Any other questions feel free to ask or pm me .
Thanks for your help everyone :)
I will go for "Food for Free" and take your advice about experimenting with the cooking. I think the most important part is identifying the correct plants/berries in the first place. I will let you know how I get on.
You all seem very friendly here, thanks for the warm welcome.
Hi bean welcome to BCUK I hope we hear more from you :-D
I agree with Ed food for free is the best i have come across so far
but try to get the collins gem version as well its much easier to carry around with you in the field
Stuart - that's exactly the one I went for! Portability was a big issue, and I prefer line drawings of plants rather than the larger version of the book which has photographs. The artist picks out the most important details of the plant.
I've spent a few hours with this book and I can highly recommend it. It covers edible plants, fungi, seaweed, and even a few shellfish. The recipes in the smaller edition aren't quite so "kitcheny" as the other version too.
The best books have already been mentioned, especially the Collins Gem Food For Free. I would also recommend 'Bellamy's Herbal' , 'The Scot's Herbal' and 'A Modern herbal' - all very herbal Man!
Hi Bean, welcome aboard, I don't think that there is a definitive book on wild on food. But I would rate Food for free as about the best of them. I also use a cook on the wild side- Hugh Fearnley-whittingstall, Carluccios Wild food, and Roger Philip's Wild food and mushroom books.
You don't happen to live on a canal boat do you ?
The herbal books also sound interesting - I wouldn't mind finding something along the lines of medicinal uses of plants too. I'll have a browse at those you've recommended.
Roving Rich, yes I do! How .. did .. you .. ?
Met you at the Big Green Gathering with Ash, has he finished painting it yet?
Great to have your company here!
Roger Phillips does a good little Collins Gem guide to herbs in the wild (can't hink of its name), both culinary, medicinal and cosmetic. Nothing like a handful of Melissa to mask the smell of a week 'al fresco'...(Hmm, could do with a smiley holding its nose...)
I can't remember the title, but my Mother has a book about wartime recipes that includes many wild food suggestions, I'm visiting later today, and will ask her for the details. . I've also found that lateral thinking can be helpful when it comes to written info (a good skill to practice for any of us!) - I've found that older, and 'traditional' cookbook's often contain recipes using wild ingredients, as do many localy published recipe books.