Harvesting wild food is the oldest and most basic subsistence activity of humankind, but today we live in a world where these skills are almost lost. Foraging is the missing link in modern civilized cultures--it is this direct physical connection, in the form of sustenance, that brings us to our deepest appreciation and understanding of the natural world. The Forager's Harvest is a guide to 32 of the best and most common edible wild plants in North America, with detailed information on how to identify them, where they are found, how and when they are harvested, which parts are used, how they are prepared, as well as their culinary use, ecology, conservation, and cultural history.
This was my first book on foraging that was written for foraging out of Italy. Now is this advisable? Yes, because Samuel Thayers books are so well written that you can read them even if not living in the States.
The author clears well what is view on what a foraging guide has to pass to the reader. First its useless to cram hundreds of plants of which we can give little detail, the novice forager will not get enough information on how to find, harvest, and prepare the plants. And even for the seasoned forager the books if too crowded with plants don't give any new information that can be useful.
So the author clears that the plants he lists are based on his personal experience, he recalls only plants he has harvested dozens of time if not hundreds of times.
In the first pages he dedicates some time speaking of the philosophy of foraging. How and why we can and have to forage.
then he passes on to explain how to find the plants, when to harvest, and how to store them
Samuel Thayer gives account of thirtytwo plants that can be easily found in many regions of the States, and other continents.
Every plant has a personal experience recalled by the author and then sections on: plants description, habitat and region, harvest, and preparation. Some have sections on specific edible parts or preparation of leafs or roots, etc.
Just to share an example of the depth and seriousness of the book information, I want to recall the section on Hopniss, Groundnut or apios americana. The author recalls something I haven't read any where else, a potential allergy to groundnut he has gathered news on, so the reader finds a specific section on this and the author asks for readers help, to gather further evidence.
Thats what I call being serious about you work.
I can just say the book is worth every cent, penny or whatever money you use.
I live in Italy but reading his books has helped me deepen my knowledge on plants that grow even here, has taught me to be very conscious about foraging.
Samuel Thayer's books are a real treat if you're into foraging. He goes into great depth and his personality shines through in his writing. I dare you to read one of his books and not crave adding multiple new perennial edibles to your edible landscape. I know that several of the plant species in my forest garden are only there because of this book.