I live in chicago, zone 6, and I want to buy a wild harvest book or gathering or whatever you would like to call it. I could use recommendations, when i look on amazon I cannot tell if the books are for my area (it does seem likely) or what.
This is my first post here, and I couldn't resist responding to this question.
I would buy both of Samuel Thayer's books, Nature's Garden and The Forager's Harvest. I've never seen better books on wild edibles. I don't remember which book, but one of them lists each state and gives a percentage of how relevant his books are to each one. He is in Wisconsin, and I'm pretty sure Illinois is if not 100% relevant than in the upper 90's.
Each book profiles 40some plants and gives all the information you would need for identifying, harvesting, processing, preparing, and enjoying any edible parts of each plant. There is an entire chapter devoted to each plant and multiple color photos to help with IDing. He only lists plants that he has extensive experience with and considers not just edible, but delicious. He will also say whether or not certain plants are worth the time and energy you'd have to go through to harvest and prepare them. There are many instances where he strongly disagrees with some conventional wisdom about certain plants, and is not afraid of letting you know where he stands on certain issues. Even if you're not ever going to harvest some of the plants, it's still a lot of fun to read what he has to say about them.
Anyway, I could go on for a while about how great these books are. I'm sure there are other good books out there as well, but I'd be shocked if they were anywhere near as comprehensive as Thayer. You can get them on Amazon, but I got mine from abebooks.com. I think they also have them on betterworldbooks.com, but I don't know which site would be cheapest.
Hope that helps!
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I found a little handbook called 'A Digger's Guide to Medicinal Plants' 2nd edition by Allen Lockard and Alice Q. Swanson.
Also at the local library, or online there might be a copy of 'Peterson's Field Guide' by Lee Allen Peterson & Roger Tory Peterson. They offer several field guides, various themes: birding, medicinal plants, edible plants, mushrooms, etc.
recommend Botany in a Day by Thomas J Elpel
great book that will help you to identify plants by first identifying which plant family they are in, narrowing the time required to figure out the exact species, this book goes over somewhere around 400 plant families, mainly plant families in north america but since it helps to identify FAMILIES instead of species, it can help people all around the world to identfiy plants by looking for patterns first and specfics later
I highly recommend "Stalking the Wild Asparagus" by Euell Gibbons. He started his wild harvesting as a small boy in New Mexico when he stumbled across wild asparagus in a field and provided his family (and half the neighborhood, though he didn't know it at the time) with loads of the nutritious green. The book includes a lot of recipes for the many wild foods cataloged in the book, and many stories of his foraging trips. It's an interesting read as well as very informative.
john kallas has a book called wild edible plants. it only covers maybe 10 kinds, but they are common/everywhere. he has alot of pictures in the book and i wish he would make another one. i found it to be very easy to digest (thayer's books have too much narrative for my adhd). but, if you already know about dandilion, mallow, dock, chickweed, oxalis, and a couple others this book may not be very helpful. but for a beginner it has helped me alot.
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