Okay, I’m going to admit right here and now, I’m probably never going to be a master forager. I would love to; I so wish I could be the kind of person who traipses into the woods on random Saturdays throughout the year with a large basket, and who comes out with that basket full of plants and roots and berries that I easily identified as safe to eat. But I simply don’t have that much confidence in myself (yet, anyway); with my luck, I’d take a bite of the first thing I had just learned about and immediately drop dead (and wind up the subject of a true crime podcast). But that’s why I love books on foraging: I obviously have SO much to learn, and I’m not giving up! Idiot’s Guides: Foraging by Mark Vorderbruggen (Alpha, 2016) had been on my TBR since about 2019; I finally received a copy through interlibrary loan a week or so ago, and I found this book absolutely delightful.
Let this book fall open and you’ll find that each plant covered gets a two-page spread complete with multiple full-color photographs, a map of where said plant grows, what to look for, edible or poisonous look-alikes, and various bits of knowledge about the plant (uses, how to prepare it, how NOT to prepare it, and things to look out for). The photographs alone are phenomenal; should you be just starting out on your foraging journey and want to get serious about it, I feel like this book would be an excellent tool just for identification. (Fun story: I had just started this book when, later on that night, I caught a reel by Black Forager on Instagram and immediately recognized the linden/basswood tree she was talking about, before she identified it, because I’d read about it in this book! How cool is that?!!???)
This was definitely worth the read. I’ve been able to identify a few more plants and trees because of it, and while I’ll likely never be the kind of person that can disappear into the woods and survive for months solely on the plants I’ve recognized there, Idiot’s Guide: Foraging has definitely pushed me a little closer to that ideal. : )
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