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The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  871 ratings  ·  47 reviews
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.
Paperback, 360 pages
Published May 1st 2006 by Foragers Harvest Press
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4.35  · 
Rating details
 ·  871 ratings  ·  47 reviews

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Aug 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, food
Fewer foods but more in-depth than Edible Wild Plants. The author is hilarious and so readable. He's been hooked on wild foods since he was 6, and he always supplements what he reads with personal experimentation. For instance, whereas authors of other wild food books just repeat the nonsense about wild parsnip being poisonous, he questions the received wisdom, checks the science, and tries it for himself. The outcome: he proves that wild parsnip is the same species as garden parsnip, debunks al ...more
Mar 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I picked this up along with some recipe books at the library, since I know there's a foraging movement of sorts here in Ye Olde Baye Area.. but just got really excited about having it because I brought in a big harvest of greens and snap peas from my garden! I know I know, a garden is cultivated.. but it's food I got outside in the dirt, and that's closer to foraging than going to the farmer's market or picking up my CSA box. So. Foraging education, begin! PS, this book covers a whole bunch of r ...more
May 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I learned a heckuva lot about wild foods, but the thing I loved most about this book was the author's straightforward, no-nonsense voice. Thayer states that he has narrowed the breadth of plants in the book so that he could give increased depth, and also ensured that he has not included any plant which he has not personally eaten over 50 times. Apparently, there is a wealth of MISinformation in wild edible literature, which makes me a bit hesitant, and I'm sure Thayer would say, "rightly so"! He ...more
Oct 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I put this on my AMZN wishlist after Po's Pon mentioned it on his blog and Nick gave it to me for Christmas, and I ripped through it. Skipped through some, but read enough to find out that the tree I've been wondering about on my shorter run loop is a butternut tree and I can't WAIT until it drops those weird sticky green footballs again, because they sound awesome. And we have tons of milkweed growing in the flood-irrigated pastures along the route as well, so maybe we'll get some premission fr ...more
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
the conversational tone works very well for this guide book. it has made foraging in my area (which is the same latitude in MN while the author wrote this book in WI) as easy as foraging for actual food can be. berries and fruits are not much of a focus for this book, but rather foods that you could potentially make a meal out of. reference to poisonous look-a-likes is addressed quite well. my favorite part of the book is the two page chart giving you the time-frames you can expect the various p ...more
Sep 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
I've been foraging this year and this book makes me wish I'd had it in early spring. It's been a busy first year for me: Making my own maple syrup in April, harvesting dandelion flowers/greens and wood sorrel in spring, foraging mugwort/bergamot/yarrow/nodding onion/linden leaves in the summer, picking wild plums/wild apricots/aronia berries in late summer, and now black walnuts/butternuts/hackberries/and mushrooming in fall. If I was going to write a book on Foraging, I'd write it like this.
Jan 02, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Very clear and concise. Full of information. Doesn't require pairing up with a field guide like some foraging books, though it wouldn't hurt, either. It's helpful to me that this man's homeland expertise is within a 100 mile radius of my own midwestern living space. (I once read a really great seasonal survival book in which most of the plants didn't apply to my knowledge needs because they grew mainly in the U.K.)
Jul 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Fantastic resource for the upper Midwest. I'm finding so many of these plants right in my neighborhood! I'm waiting eagerly for grapes and sumac. Hoping to find wild rice. I'm even thinking about trying milkweed - I always thought it was poisonous, turns out no!
Norris Thomlinson
Jul 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've bought, checked out from the library, and flipped through more than a dozen foraging guides, but as soon as I started looking through this one I knew it had value way above and beyond any of the others and that I had to buy it. Why? The details! I love details! And this book has them!

The book starts with coverage of general topics related to foraging, such as safety in identification and sampling; differences of harvest, timing, and use of different plant parts (leaves, roots, seeds, etc);
Kate Cronin
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
After recently attending a conference for work about how native communities are reconnecting with indigenous foods and hearing a presentation about using these foods to improve health, where this book was referenced, I was curious. Especially since I've decided that I'd better figure out how I might be able to survive after the world goes to hell - and one way is to know what "weeds" I could find in my yard that could actually be food. This is a really useful guide of the best and most common ed ...more
Brad Belschner
Jun 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: gastronomy
Best book on foraging I've ever read--tied with his sequel. :-) Unlike most foraging books, Thayer makes a point to ONLY speak from experience. He staunchly refuses to repeat advice gleaned from other books without having tested it firsthand. Consequently, this book is reliable, practical, fun, and just generally awesome.
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Here is a detailed book for those who are interested in eating wild plants. He is cautious and informative. He also points out in the last chapter books full of misinformation which appear to be the majority. My advice is join a club and learn from the experts.
Sarah Hefner
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Excellent reference guide. Wish it had a few more pictures but all in all a helpful, engaging read that I go back to from time to time.
Steven Allen
Mar 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Checked out from my library to see if I wanted to add it to my home library collection. I so want this book in my personal library and will order it from Amazon soon.
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The FORAGERS HARVEST by Samuel Thayer is a informational book. It gives detailed info on wild edibles such as Nettles, Carrion,choke berry' sand more. A wild edible is just a plant hat is edible that's found in the woods.Although there are only around 20 plants in this book, the detail on each is amazing. It also goes into detail on how to preserve foods as well, which is also very interesting. The author makes the book very enjoyable with his humor and insight in his life.

This book goes in to w
Nov 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very handy, with many of the plants found in the mid-Atlantic. The descriptions are good (non-botanists are going to need the glossary, as the best way to describe these plants is by specific characteristics, not "it's sorta green and sorta purple, with big leaves"), and the glossary is helpful, with line drawings of some of the basic differences.

Unfortunately, I read this book in winter, when all but 2 or 3 species were not available to harvest or look at. But, spending a lot of time outside,
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing! I really can't say anything bad about this. There were lots of pictures. And it's very helpful how he points out when there is a poisonous look alike, and he goes into great detail about how they're different, so it's easy to differentiate between the two species. I like how he points out how so many other foraging books make hella mistakes with identifying plants. I do think he went a bit overboard on how people/companies are jerks to foragers/anyone different (or whose ey ...more
Jun 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
As with Thayer's other tome, this is remarkably and thoroughly written. It does apply best to those persons east of the American Rocky Mountains, but that is not a fault of the book, for no single tome can cover all of North America's varied biomes. I found it especially useful. So much of my life has been spent in the wilds of the Louisiana bayous and the subarctic wilderness of the far north, so when I came to the rolling woodlands of east Canada there was a lot of new flora to learn.
Dec 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
Great introduction to foraging for wild foods. Dispels a great number of myths about the topic. Excellently detailed pictures and descriptions of edible wild plants. Major weakness of the book is that he only describes a handful of them, which defeats the point of having the guide.
Mar 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The most comprehensive foraging guide I've read to date. And it's fun to read! What more could you ask for? ... When I honestly ask myself that question, nothing more comes to mind. Thayer covers wild foods from so many angles - what to find, where to find it, how to prepare it, preserve it, etc.
May 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nature
Entertaining and informative. I have had the pleasure of getting to know his family at the Midwest Wild Harvest Festivals each year, I am happy to say his book was as good as everyone says it is! I am a Sam Thayer super fan.
Jun 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: food, cooking, nature
Lots of good information, clear pictures, and indepth descriptions and usage for a variety of North American plants. Also includes recipes. The layout, though, isn't my favorite: the mass of information for each plant makes it more difficult to browse.
Mar 31, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: food
This book is most relevant for those in the Midwest or East Coast. His other book, Nature's Garden, has more useful entries for those of us in the Pacific Northwest. Love the chatty yet well-informed authorial voice.
Jul 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I will contiue t6o read this book as I will start foraging in 2012 as a new hobby. I like that he brings his personal experience of finding the wild plants to this book. Factual and well researched Samuel thayer is a cut above when reading about ethnobotany.
Linda  Branham Greenwell
Feb 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
LOts of good pictures describing what is edible and what isn't. Also tell how to prepare what you forage
Mar 25, 2009 added it
Shelves: hippie, pennsylvania
Great guide book for unambiguous identification. I've found most of these here on campus, in Pennsylvania.
Jun 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
i have tried to read many wildcrafting for food/medicine books and this is far and away the very best. very detailed, accurate, confidence building
Aug 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
He makes every single plant sound like the most delicious thing ever. I haven't had a lot of success finding the foods here--I found a more geographically limited guide more helpful.
Robert Wildwood
Jul 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
The best book on the subject.
Sep 29, 2013 rated it liked it
Doesn't have too many plants in here but that is probably because it goes very into depth with the ones it does have.
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