Foraging has undergone a resurgence in recent years, with a growing number of people attending foraging workshops and seeking out knowledge to enable them to safely source varieties of seaweed from their local beach, identify edible wild mushrooms to cook for dinner, and find locations to pick wild blackberries.
Even chefs these days are embarking on foraging missions to source some of their menu ingredients.
The great thing about The Weed Forager's Handbook is that, in most cases, you won't have to travel far, as many of the plants listed in the book, such as Dandelion, Sow Thistle, Oxalis, Nettle and Wild Lettuce are commonly found in backyards throughout Australia.
It's a great introductory book for those new to foraging, as it is packed full of information, photos and illustrations to make plant identification easy.
Inside the cover of the book, there are ten 'rules' listed for foragers:
Number one, 'Identify your plant beyond a shadow of a doubt' is particularly important when it comes to foraging, as there are some plants out there that can be harmful if consumed. Fortunately the book describes each plant in detail, and has advice on how to differentiate edible plants from similar-looking plants that aren't edible.
There is an introduction written by Costa Georgiadis, and then a page with Information about the authors, Adam Grubb and Annie Raser-Rowland. The book is then set out in several sections:
Includes 'Notes of Caution', which provides information on, and photographs of poisonous plants. It also discusses weed consumption during pregnancy and contaminants.
This is the main section of the book, with detailed descriptions of common Australian weeds, their history, where you are likely to find them, their appearance, taste and odour, other important information and tips, and photos and illustrations.
This section lists plants that are "generally less common, harder to harvest or process, or offer some other impediment to free and easy enjoyment by comparison to those in [the previous chapter].
This section includes recipes for Mixed Weeds Salad, Weedy frittata, Nettle Gnocchi plus more.
Discusses the role of weeds in the garden, getting rid of weeds and how to make 'weed tea', which can be used as a liquid fertiliser for your garden.
The resources section has an excellent list of websites and books for readers who are interested in exploring the topic further.
The book is small in size - perfect for putting in your backpack when you go for a walk - and is full of information. Overall, I found it to be a really interesting book, and it's certainly changed the way I look at weeds. I haven't tried any of the recipes yet, but they look quite tasty so I'll definitely give them a go.
I'd recommend it to anyone who is interested in learning more about foraging, people who are interested in permaculture and self-sufficiency and people who would like to learn more about the weeds in their backyard.
Review sourced from Weekend Notes - Discover the free source of food in your own backyard by KJ
It is an excellent book!
Over time, I have rid my yard of useless weeds and allowed the edible ones to seed, so at least 90% of the weeds in my yard are edible, and now is the time to forage with fresh succulent leaves. The dandelions are about to flower, so the leaf growth will slow, but this year I intend to gather the flowers and freeze them, so at the end of spring, I'll try a batch of " Dandelion Wine "