I have been looking forward to reviewing this book for you, for a long time now! I heard about it when Foraging & Feasting was still a kickstarter project (which proved to be wildly successful) and was immediately intrigued. When Dina Falconi contacted me and sent me a copy to review, I was thrilled. First of all, this book is beautiful. The illustrations are so gorgeous, and really clear. This is so important, since the primary way we identify wild edibles is through sight. Some of my foraging books just have a photograph of one part of the plant, and this is often not enough. To be more sure of my identification, I want to see what the roots, first leaves, and flowers look like. And that is what I love about Foraging & Feasting. You can see the whole plant, and what different parts might look like at different times in its life cycle.
Foraging & Feasting covers 50 of the most common & delicious wild edibles. These botanical identification pages focus on wild, abundant and very common plants. They are ubiquitous and can be found in many of the temperate zones throughout the world: North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australasia. Not only are these plants well illustrated, but clear, well-organized charts show you when to look for them, the best times to harvest each part of the plant, and in what settings they grow– this is extremely helpful!Falconi lays out the principles of sustainable, respectful harvesting techniques at the beginning of the book, and has some great tips for assessing whether the area you are harvesting from is clean and therefore a good source for wild plants to be used as food and medicine.
Once you have brought home your plants, you can find all kinds of ways to use them in this book– from drying them, to turning them into beverages, to cooking them in soups, salads, desserts, and more. One thing I hadn’t thought to do before was to make an herbal salt– I did this with field garlic from my garden, and it is so delicious. I will be doing this a lot in the future! This book has so many great ideas for using foraged plants that I can’t wait to try.
Something I think is really helpful in this book is that it contains quite a few “master recipes” that are very adaptable. Falconi teaches you how to make many different things with your foraged finds, and how to adapt the recipe according to what you have. I love this approach, because it really opens up possibilities, rather than giving a recipe that works for only certain plants. I know a lot of people can identify wild edibles, but aren’t sure what to do with them once they bring them home, and that can be a bit daunting. So these master recipes are a great idea. So, who would Foraging & Feasting benefit the most? I think this is a fantastic book for those of you who are wanting to get started with foraging. The book is packed with so much wonderful information, and I think that the illustrations will help give you confidence as you begin to identify wild plants in your area. I love that Falconi provides so many interesting ideas for using the plants you find, which will also be super-helpful for those of you who want to eat more wild foods, but aren’t sure exactly what to do with them. Even as someone who has been eating wild edibles for a while now, there are a lot of ideas I hadn’t thought of, which I will be using!
This is not an extensive guide to help identify a wide range of plants specific to your area– I would recommend that you pick up a regional guide for your area as a companion.Finally, I’d like to share a little bit about the author:
DINA FALCONI is a clinical herbalist with a strong focus on food activism and nutritional healing. An avid gardener, wildcrafter, and permaculturalist, Dina has been teaching classes about the use of herbs for food, medicine, and pleasure, including wild food foraging and cooking, for more than twenty years. She is a founding member of the Northeast Herbal Association, a chapter leader of the Weston A. Price Foundation, and an organizer of Slow Food-Hudson Valley.
Foraging & Feasting can be purchased from their website, Botanical Arts Press, and you can also find it on amazon, here. I love this book, and I think you will, too.
I did receive a free copy of this book, but all of the opinions I share here are simply my own.