Nature’s Garden follows the same award-winning format of Samuel Thayer’s first book, with in-depth chapters covering 41 new wild edibles. In this volume you will find the most authoritative accounts of several important food plants, such as hackberry and American lotus, available anywhere. You will find mouth-watering photography of cranberries, blueberries, huckleberries, strawberries, wild plums, and more. You’ll hear of new methods for using dandelions. You’ll finally be able to make sense of the tricky wild lettuce / sow thistle group. You’ll discover that wild carrot and poison hemlock can be reliably told apart, thanks to a detailed chart accompanied by 19 photographs. You’ll read about vegetables with a rich tradition of use around the world that are largely ignored in the wild food literature, such as cow parsnip, patience dock, and honewort. You can read more exciting myth-busting about poisonous plant fables and the maligned black nightshade, plus anecdotes about purple children and the hazards of eating cacti. Yet perhaps the best part of all is the book within a book about acorns: 51 pages of the details that turn these nuts into food.
The Guide Features
512 color photos, demonstrating each edible part in the proper stage of harvest, plus showing important identifying features
Super-strong sewn binding
Step-by-step tutorial to positive plant identification
Photos and text comparing potentially confusing plants
Thorough discussion on how to gather and use the plants
Detailed information on harvest, preparation, and storage techniques
A foraging calendar showing harvest times for wild foods
A glossary of botanical terms illustrated with line drawings
Bibliography and recommended reading list
Durable, Smyth-sewn binding
512 6" x 9" pages
This is the second book by Samuel Thayer and it's a great work, all though it is a sequel of the first book foragers harvest, it stands equally on its own.
The book as the author puts it in the first pages is not a field guide, rather the opposite. He advises the reader to not use the book on the field because the number of plants is to small, no, its better to choose a plant in the book, read about it, and then go looking for it.
The book is good for the beginner, the casual forager, the household cook, it's not for armchair foragers its for actually foraging!
The book is awesome and the author clears so many aspects, its difficult to summarize.
First he doesn't just list some edible plants, he presents foodworthy plants. There's a big difference.
There is a calendar fo harvesting that of course has to be read and retrofitte dto our climate but it gives the reader a time schedule that is useful
He is always very serious about writing of plants he has personal experience with, so we will not find plants that necessarily grow all over the States or Canada, but many, that are present in a good percentage.
The plants listes are forty-one and the author goes in deep with them.
Two plants that in this book really got me for the way they were described and discussed: oaks/acorns and black nightshade.
On acorns the author gives the reader a great deep section, 50 pages (!), on how to harvest, which are the oaks that give the best acorns, how to process them, leaching the tannins, etc. It is, until now, the best published info I have found on acorns. I had this great curiosity about acorn flour and here I learned a lot.
Black nightshade, was the second plant that really struck me in its description. the news about this plant is very controversial, many say its toxic. I took a foraging course in Italy where I live, and my teacher said never eat solanum nigrum it's toxic. I tried to explain what I had read in Samuel Thayers book, but he said no its toxic. I didn't want to insist, I just new what I had read in this book. The author explains the origin of this myth and gives account of all the places on earth where the berries of this plant are eaten, processed in to jams, etc. In Europe the presence of Belladonna which is somewhat similar has made many just throw these two plants in the same group of toxicity. Nothing more wrong. Black nightshade's ripe berries are not toxic! Of course we always have to be careful, and know that one has to forage at the right moment, but that doesn't mean we have to miss out a great plant as this one.
Samuel Thayer doesn't want the reader to harvest and eat the plants he writes about, he wants us to understand them, know them, he gives us "forty-one lessons about developing forty-one relationships with forty-one plants."