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Edible Wild Plants.  Foraging for Wild Food.

Foraging for edible wild plants is how everyone on this planet ate in pre-historic "hunter/gatherer" days.  Today, seeking out edible wild plants for food has begun to attract more and more attention from gourmet cooks, raw food enthusiasts, and anyone who is choosing to live a more natural and healthy lifestyle.

"Native Americans made their living and got all of their sustenance from wild foods, many of our grandparents used them to supplement their diets, raw foodists believe that they are the most vital of all raw foods, authors like Euell Gibbons and the back-to-the-land movement brought them back from the grave of obscurity, and modern primitive technologists can't learn enough about them. Edible wild plants are everywhere, abundant, local, free, and a sustainable source of variety in the diet. Support your local organic farmers, pull their weeds by the bushel-full, and eat them! Expand and supplement the vegetables you pull/harvest from your garden. Glean foods from hundreds of plants in your neighborhood. Connect with the primitive Earth-based part of yourself that forages in nature for sustenance." -- Dr. John Kallas, Director, Institute for the Study of Edible Wild Plants & Other Foragables, see

Wild Edibles Foraging Trips and Wild Plant Walks Dr. John Kallas, Director, Institute for the Study of Edible Wild Plants & Other Foragables, sponsors and leads numerous wild edible plants and foraging workshops and wild food events in Oregon, Washington and North Carolina. Dr. Kallas authors a monthly newsletter and is often called upon by the movie industry for consultation on authentic native American lifestyles. 

The stated purpose of one of his events, the annual Gingerroot Rendezvous, neatly summarizes Dr. Kallas's objectives : "To help participants understand the roles that wild foods can play in recreation, survival, primitive living, and simple living situations; to provide hands on experience with some of the most important plants and processes that could be used in those situations; to provide the opportunity for participants to share and learn from each other regarding their cumulative experiences with wild foods; to promote a sustainable harvest mentality with a strong support of protecting and respecting green and wild places; to directly address the great mass of misinformation found in the popular literature and the internet; and to have fun, make friends, and connect with people who are interested in the same kinds of things."

Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods from Dirt to Plate
"... is a pictorial guide to edible plants. It reveals what wild foods are all about, showing dramatic evidence of their potential for use, and describes them in unprecedented depth, clarity, and in full color—the kind of depth that gives readers confidence in their ability to correctly identify, recognize and finally begin using plants. Three-hundred sharp photographs illustrate: different growth stages from seedling to fully mature plant, close-ups of edible parts at their choicest, processing techniques, key recipes, and finished dishes. This book reduces fears of misidentification and takes the mystery, not the romance or fun, out of the discovery process. In no time, readers go beyond just tasting to incorporating these foods into regular meals. Then going beyond that to inventing their own new recipes....."


"While I considered myself somewhat of a wild edible expert, I was humbled by the plethora of new plants that I had yet to discover. " Raw Foodist Sergei Boutenko's comment after spending 3 days foraging with John Kallas. See Sergei's website for details

Edible Wild Plants and Mushrooms of New England with Russ Cohen  Author of Wild Plants I Have Known and Eaten, Russ leads many foraging trips each year, hosts the occasional "harvest party", and has authored several articles including "Shooting" for Your Supper, or How to Develop Intimate Relationships with Wild Plants by Eating Them

Free Food From Field and Forest  Lists walks by Blanche Cybele Derby in Connecticut along with information about her book, My Wild Friends.

Wild Mountain Herbs: Wildcrafting Plant Identification Field Trips  Mountains of Western North Carolina and Eastern Tennessee.

California Wild Edible Plants Class  Identifying over 200 California plants.

Wild Edible Plants and Foraging Resources  A wealth of information on the dandelion, including links to various dandelion festivals throught the US. 

Modern Day Food Foraging  Some wonderful foraging tips.  Fiddleheads. Morels. Wild Leeks. Gourmet recipes.  Fresh foraged food from the Northern Michigan woods.

Forager Press  Wild Food Field Guide, forum,  

Native American Plant Foods and Video Has an extensive catagorized list. Also has video and DVD for sale.

Wild Edibles and Foraging Newsletters

Wild Food Foragers of America 

Wild Mushrooms

The Great Morel Mushroom Page  Photos, recipes, stories, community.

Morels Gone Wild  "The largest Morel Web Site in the free world. We have more than a 1,000 pictures of morels live in the wild...."

Edible and Poisonous Mushrooms  "... The purpose of this article is ... to help you identify a number of safe, edible wild mushrooms while avoiding mushroom poisoning.... All of the edible mushrooms shown here are distinctive in some obvious way. Once you learn their distinguishing features, you won't confuse them with any dangerously poisonous species....".  Excellent one-page illustrated "quick reference" guide with much useful information.

Spring Morels and False Morels of the Midcontinental US  Covers 13 morel and false morel mushrooms.

National Morel Mushroom Hunters Association  Members site costing $20 a year.

Woofers Mushrooms  Photos, recipes, advice.

Photos of Mushrooms

Eileen's Mushroom Mania   Photos of 56 species... plus instructions on how to make spore prints.

Pamela's Mushrooms  Spectacular photos of mushrooms plus a "how to photograph mushrooms" page.

Mushroom People  How to grow your own mushrooms.  "... a place where shroomers from all around can come together and discuss their passion for mushrooms. Whether you are a seasoned mushroom hunter or a beginner, everyone is welcome! Be sure to check out our gallery, forums, chatroom..."

Discover the Bliss of Herbal Medicine and the Healing Power of Plants and Plant Spirits
Medical Herbalism: The Science Principles and Practices of Herbal Medicine "... I've never seen another book on herbal medicine that is as exhaustive and comprehensive as this one. It goes to far as to illustrate the active biochemical components of the different herbal elements. The book is orgainized based on the different body systems. It describes how to identify the compounds and their souces. For anyone serious about herbal medicine this book is an essential addition for a professional library...."
The Practical Handbook of Plant Alchemy: An Herbalist's Guide to Preparing Medicinal Essences, Tinctures, and Elixirs "...Junius' Practical Handbook of Plant Alchemy is one of the finest and most complete books on working with plants from an alchemical perspective (or spagyrics) available today. It is filled with information and experiments that will take years if not lifetimes to exhaust. Extensive instructions take you through the process of making tinctures, plant stones, elixirs, the plant magistry of Paracelsus, and the Lesser or Minor Circulation for the preperation of elixirs...."
Western Herbs according to Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Practitioner's Guide "... As a practitioner of both Western and Chinese herbal medicine I am thrilled to see this book in print. This book contains many features that are completely unique to clinical guides in the Traditional Chinese Medical literature in print in the West. First off, the photographs taken by the author are gorgeous, unrivaled in any clinical herbal that I know of...."
The Herbalist's Way: The Art and Practice of Healing with Plant Medicines "... the very best book of its kind. Packed with practical tips, heartwarming humor and a very real understanding of the powerful healing plants herbalists daily work with, Nancy and Michael have created an invaluable guidebook for both aspiring and veteran herbalists.... I really couldn't recommend this book any higher, the writing style is accessible and down to earth, and the design... lovely black & white photography and gorgeous pencil illustrations, is outstanding..."
The Secet Teachings of Plants: The Intelligence of the Heart in the Direct Perception of Nature
"... Buhner's book is about plants, but more than that it is about the human heart and its capacity to understand more than the head. The heart does indeed have its own reasons, and has much to communicate if we would listen. As one who has a deep affinity for living organisms especially, birds, dogs, cats, and trees, and having lived with said creatures all my life and knowing for a fact that they all communicate with me,
I do not believe that humans are the "be all end all" they believe themselves to be no matter how much they have recorded their own self importance in ancient texts. In the end, belief is belief, but Buhner suggests there is much one may be missing if she does not listen to her heart. THE SECRET TEACHING OF PLANTS is a delicious wonderful treat, and I have taken weeks to read and reread a man who may indeed be a reincarnation of Thoreau or Goethe...."
The Meaning of Trees: Botany, History, Healing, Lore "...a truely beautiful and interesting work, especially for nature-loving folks like myself. The presentation of information is visually very appealing, as well as mentally stimulating. The book discusses and shares breath-taking photos of almost 60 different species of trees, and dispenses information on each from general characteristics, information and history, to practical uses, natural healing, culture/myth/symbolism, and more. A valuable and attractive addition to anyone's library!..."
The Medicine Wheel Garden: Creating Sacred Space for Healing, Celebration, and Tranquillity "...Creating Sacred Space means more to us today than every before. I feel that this suthor has really offered us bold new perspectives along with numerous alternatives for coming to balance in these trying times. This book is a valuable, in-depth gardening guide with far more sensitivities than are usual!..."
Native Plants, Native Healing "...I love this book. I dont know much about herbs but this book is very well written and informative. He gives a cure for almost every ailment and shows you how to look at a plant to determine its usage by its shape. My son that I homeschool loves to learn about all the usages of the plants, like cattails being used to make pancakes and clubhouses...."
Gardens for the Soul: Designing outdoor spaces using ancient symbols, healing plants, and feng shui "...a truly inspiring approach to garden design. Garden designer and plantswoman Pamela Woods' unique approach teaches you how to create a garden that reflects your spiritual beliefs and inner emotions. She invokes the power and beauty of ancient symbols, like Celtic wheels and spirals, with Eastern practices, such as feng shui, to create gardens that are relaxing, meditative and, above all, beautiful...."


Identifying Wild Edible Plants  Pictures of edible plants and mushrooms taken on "Wildman" Steve Brill foraging tours in the NYC area. This is a really helpful series of photos.

Edible Species List with Photos from "Gardening from the Ground Up".

Wildman Steve Brill  Site has a section devoted to identifying and giving uses for common wild edibles. Many articles which Wildman has written for magazines. Recipes.

Some Regional Lists of Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants

Edible and Medicinal Plants of the UCSC Campus If you're looking for free food to nibble on on your way to class, this is the list!

Where to Buy Edible Wild Plants

If you're too timid or busy to forage for your own edible wild plants, here's where to buy them.   Specializes in wild, edible plants of Southeastern US.  Wild beans, greens, roots, flowers, mushrooms, berries, seeds and wild meats.

Earthy Delights  Fiddleheads, morels and wild leeks from the Northern Michigan woods.

Wild Edible Recipes

Wild Salads by Russ Cohen.  More recipes by Russ, including Wild Mint Stick Ice Cream.

Morel Recipes from Team-Morel

Forager's Wild Food Cook Book

Some Common Wild Plants

Plantain  Eat the tender young leaves in spring.

Fiddleheads  Unfurled fronds of the bracken fern.  Gather very tightly curled young fiddleheads in the early spring as the fronds tend to get tough and bitter as they mature. Soak to remove dirt.  Remove brownish scales by rubbing. Soak for several hours in lightly salted water. Cook for 20 minutes on low heat in 1/2 inch water. Drain and serve like greens.

Forums and Email Groups on Foraging for Wild Edibles

Forage Ahead "... will discuss wild edible plants, animals, mushrooms; including identification, recipes, folklore, wilderness living, wilderness survival etc. Topics will include wild edible berries, nuts, roots, greens, flowers, mushrooms, insects, marine invertebrates, and any other animals not usually hunted or marketed. Information about books programs and classes concerning wild edibles, including field guides ...."

Wild Food Forum 

Outback "Bushtucker" Postcards
"For thousands of years Aboriginal people throughout Australia have lived by hunting and gathering various wild foods (also known as "bushtucker")." Send "Wild Food" Bushtucker ePostcards from the Australian Outback
All sorts of wonderful free ecards depicting various Australian wild foods... berries, watermelon, clams, grubs... you name it!  Click Here and Click Here

Discover the Bliss of Herbal Medicine and the Healing Power of Plants and Plant Spirits

The Herbal Medicine Maker's Handbook: A Home Manual: "... The Herbal Medicine-Makers Handbook blends the herbalist author's natural home remedies with his perspectives on the art of herbal medicine's applications, with recipes for folk extractions including plenty of recommendations for usage. The result is far more in-depth than your usual herbal recipe book, packed with insights on how to extract herbs, make tinctures, and apply them properly...."
Plant Spirit Medicine: The Healing Power of Plants "... This is a trailblazing book that explores an old way of healing through the spirit of plants! Eliot Cowen learned that it wasn't the plant that healed a person, but the spirit in the plant. Learning to contact the spirit of the plant was to ask it directly to heal the person. This ancient practice of plant spirit medicine, long forgotten in the West, has now been remembered, revitalized and reintroduced by this American healer...."
Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs "...This charming book weaves herbal lore, wise woman tradition, and personal experience into a magical and spiritual tapestry. Gail Faith Edward's directions for growing, harvesting, and utilizing Nature’s green gifts are surpassed only by her ability to express her own Wild Heart. Experienced herbalists and novices alike will be inspired by her vast knowledge and uplifting spirit. Includes 113 trees and herbs for medicine, food, and beauty...."
Medicine of the Cherokee: The Way of Right Relationship ".... Medicine Of The Cherokee: The Way Of Right Relationship is the story of the physical, mental, spiritual, and natural aspects of humans as told through many generations of elder teaches of Native American medicine. With stories that tell about the "four directions" and the "universal circle", these ancient Cherokee teachings also offer wisdom on circle gatherings, herbs, healing, and ways to reduce stress and find harmony and balance in all our relationships...."
Healing Wise "...The writing is fun to read and the content is top notch. I really enjoy the legend and lore as well as the praactical information about how to use the herbs. Its very straightforward in terms of explaining the benefits of the plants and why and doesn't get all complicated with the need to make weird concoctions. Very straightforward and accessible info. I wish this were an encyclopedia in length...."
The Healing Power of Herbs: The Enlightened Person's Guide to the Wonders of Medicinal Plants "... The Healing Power of Herbs is the most credible and useful herb book on the market, helpful for the consumer and the health professional alike. I especially appreciate the discussions of clinical trials, the medical journal references, and the easy-to-reference summaries of uses and dosages of herbs. This is *the* book I turn to when I have a question about herbal medicine. If you're only going to have one book on herbal medicine on your shelf, this is the one!...."
Herbal Medicine, Healing & Cancer "...Donald Yance is unquestionably the contemporary North American herbalist-nutritionist with the most hands-on experience treating cancer..... We are lucky that he took time from his busy practice to write this book. The book doesn't give pat protocols for treating cancer, but, like the writings of Eli Jones, the physician-herbalist who wrote the first major work on the treatment of cancer in American Medical history a hundred years ago.... offers a mixture of overall healing strategies with extensive herbal and nutritional materia medica....."
Planting the Future: Saving Our Medicinal Herbs ".... This is a MUST HAVE book not only for Herbalists but for all People of this Turtle Isand. As you read this book it will not oNly scare you but it will also wake you up. It is not up to a few people to save the plants, IT IS UP TO ALL OF US!..."
Medicine Grove: A Shamanic Herbal "... This is one of the few books that wonderfully joins the earthy world of herbalism with the spiritual world of the modern shaman.There are so many little herbal books around today,that have been watered down from Nicholus Culpepper and even Earl Mindell's later writings.This book gives the human ritual use of the herbs of Nature here perfectly.I can only recommend this book for modern herbalists,who want the deeper spiritual connection between oneself or a coven and the surrounding elements of Mother-Nature...."

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