Culinary and Medicinal Herbs, Wild Jam and Jellies – 7 Steps for a Safe and Successful Food Foraging Adventure
Culinary and Medicinal Herbs, Wild Jam and Jellies – 7 Steps for a Safe and Successful Food ForagingAdventure
Culinary and medicinal herbs are among the natural treasures we find in forests, prairies, fields, near creeks and rivers, and in the desert. Spring is here, and it’s the time of year when food foragers begin searching for wild edibles. Food foraging is an adventure enjoyed in the fresh air and natural beauty of the great outdoors. Whether you’re new to food foraging, or skilled in the art and science of this pursuit, a review of safety practices is always a good idea. We’ve included as well, new additions to the book titles previewed at The Repository Project, and hope you find these resources informative and educational.
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1) Learn to identify plant species safe for human consumption – and know those, as well, that are dangerous or deadly. Take note and study closely look-alikes. Learn to tell the difference between the plant you’re seeking, and the imposter. If you’re not absolutely sure about the safety for human consumption, just say no – and move on. Always err on the side of caution and safety. Beginners may enjoy greatest safety, satisfaction, and success in their foraging endeavors by starting with those edible plants most easily identified.
2) Be aware of your individual sensitivities including food allergies – as well as those of others who might partake of the foraging finds. Take steps to minimize risk, and know what to do in case of emergency. Exercise extraordinary caution with children, and with those who may be otherwise medically fragile.
3) Plants that grow along heavily trafficked areas, or in areas that might have been exposed to vehicle exhaust are probably best avoided. The same is true for plants that may have been treated with pesticides or herbicides. Always, always, always be sure you thoroughly wash your harvest before preparing and consuming it.
4) Some plants should not be eaten raw, and must be cooked prior to consumption. There are also plants with both edible and non-edible parts. Some plants are safe for wild animals or domesticated pets, but not for human beings. While there are some food safety rules that are universal, others are specific to species, or even to individuals.
5) Be sure you are foraging in areas where this activity is allowed, and according to seasonal rules, allowances for harvesting limits, and with any appropriate permitting. Some plant species are protected by law for purposes of preservation. Forage respectfully, responsibly, legally, with courtesy to others, and attentiveness to the rights of private property owners.
6) As you discover wild edibles that grow well in your area, consider adding these to your home garden or greenhouse too.
7) Read and learn. Search for workshops taught by the best instructors. Seek out knowledgeable experts and authorities who can support your education, guide you to quality resources, promote the advancement of your learning, and help you minimize risk. With information in hand, a good guide to help you get started, and safety at the forefront of your thinking – have fun and enjoy!
By Douglas Boudreau and Mykel Hawke
Whether you’re a hiker taking a walk through your local wilderness, or a chef looking for new ingredients to incorporate in your dishes, Foraging for Survival is the book for you. As consumerism and a meat-heavy, processed diet become the norm and the world’s population continues to grow at an exponential rate, more and more people are looking toward a more sustainable path for food. Authors Douglas Boudreau and Mykel Hawke believe that the future of food lies in the wild foods of times spanning back to before the mass-agriculture system of today. People have become distanced from the very systems that provide their food, and younger generations are increasingly unable to identify even the trees in their backyards. In response, Boudreau and Hawke have provided a compendium of wild edible plants in North America. Foraging for Survival is a comprehensive breakdown of different plant species from bearded lichen to taro, and from all over the United States. There are also tips for growing local native plants in the backyard to facilitate learning and enhance table fare at home.
By Thomas Elias and Peter Dykeman
Already a huge success in previous editions, this must-have field guide now features a fresh new cover, as well as nearly 400 color photos and detailed information on more than 200 species of edible plants all across North America.With all the plants conveniently organized by season, enthusiasts will find it very simple to locate and identify their desired ingredients. Each entry includes images, plus facts on the plant’s habitat, physical properties, harvesting, preparation, and poisonous look-alikes. The introduction contains tempting recipes and there’s a quick-reference seasonal key for each plant.
By Joe Freitus and Salli Haberman
Contains countless recipes for jams, jellies, pickles, preserves, sauces, and butters, including: – Blueberry Jam – Strawberry Jelly – Cocoplum-Amaretto Sauce – Sapphireberry Preserves – Prickly Pear Jam – Spicy Black Gum Jelly – and many more Jam lovers looking for an alternative to preservatives, synthetic sweeteners, and artificial flavors have long turned to wild edibles as a source for their own spreads and condiments. Wild Jams and Jellies is an excellent primer on the art and science of creating these delectables, covering all the equipment you’ll need as well as essential techniques for selecting plants, adding sugar and pectin, cooking on a stove or microwave, choosing containers, and creating a firm seal. It also includes hundreds of time-tested recipes, from familiar favorites such as cranberry sauce and grape jelly to more exotic selections like passion flower rum sauce and manzanita chow chow. Each one is a delicious treat, more flavorful, nutritious, and satisfying than anything you’ll find in a supermarket.
By Beatrice Gehrmann
Medicinal Herbs: A Compendium contains the profiles of about 200 important and commonly used medicinal herbs. This short, concise resource is translated, complete revised, and updated from the German compendium Arzneidrogenprofile (2000) and was largely edited by the late Varro E. Tyler before his death in 2001. With this guide, pharmacists and health practitioners will be able to quickly find information on medicinal plants and directions for their use. This compendium incorporates important botanicals from both European pharmacognosy and the North American medicinal herb market. Designed originally for pharmacists who need a succinct, easy-to-use manual for every day use, Medicinal Herbs can also benefit pharmacognosists, physicians specializing in natural treatments, midwives, physiotherapists, herbalists, and students of these disciplines. Included in the text are two tables for the medicinal plants–an English-to-Latin binomial list and a Latin binomial-to-English list–allowing readers who are not as familiar with English to more easily find what they need.
By Rosemary Gladstar
Craft a soothing aloe lotion after an encounter with poison ivy, make a dandelion-burdock tincture to fix sluggish digestion, and brew up some lavender-lemon balm tea to ease a stressful day. In this introductory guide, Rosemary Gladstar shows you how easy it can be to make your own herbal remedies for life’s common ailments. Gladstar profiles 33 common healing plants and includes advice on growing, harvesting, preparing, and using herbs in healing tinctures, oils, and creams. Stock your medicine cabinet full of all-natural, low-cost herbal preparations.
By John Kallas
Wild spinach about 7 feet tall and fully mature. Well-fed wild spinach is well-branched and produces a huge quantity of seeds when mature. The leaves are still edible at this stage but are reduced in quality, taking on a somewhat off-flavor. According to research on other mature plants, the leaves on these older plants retain most of their nutrients and phytochemicals as long as they are still green. (Left: The author stands in for perspective, 2006.) Imagine what you could do with eighteen delicious new greens in your dining arsenal including purslane, chickweed, curly dock, wild spinach, sorrel, and wild mustard. John Kallas makes it fun and easy to learn about foods you’ve unknowingly passed by all your life. Through gorgeous photographs, playful, but authoritative text, and ground-breaking design he gives you the knowledge and confidence to finally begin eating and enjoying edible wild plants. Edible Wild Plants divides plants into four flavor categories — foundation, tart, pungent, and bitter. Categorizing by flavor helps readers use these greens in pleasing and predictable ways. According to the author, combining elements from these different categories makes the best salads.