Identifying and collecting wild foods is second nature for some and daunting for others. The wild brings images of tranquility, mystery, connectedness and danger. Foraging for wild foods is a multifaceted activity that brings you in touch with everything from biology to ecology, linguistics history storytelling and much more, so here are some resources that can help get you started. For a budding wildcrafter eager to learn the first step please read this blog post:
For a cookbook exclusively dedicated to wild foods, look at The Wild Food Gourmet by Anne Gardon (Firefly Books). Another is Reap without Sowing by Erika E. Gaertner (GSPH). The following are also recommended: The Wild Gourmet by Babette Brackett and Maryann Lash (Godine), Wild Plums in Brandy by Sylvia Boorman (McGraw-Hill Ryerson), and A Taste of the Wild by Blanche Pownall Garrett.
Another superb book with a lot of wild food recipes is Billy Joe Tatum's Wild Foods Cookbook and Field Guide (Workman). It is a excellent resource, and the illustrations are good as well. Another excellent recipe book with great photographs is Roger Phillips’s Wild Food (Little, Brown). Another recipe book worth finding is Ronna Mogelon’s Wild in the Kitchen (M. Evans).
There are also a number of books by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal authors that focus on traditional and modern Aboriginal cooking. These include Indian Recipes by Bernard Assiniwi (Copp Clark), American Indian Cooking by Carolyn Niethammer (University of Nebraska Press), and there are several by Beverly Cox, the food editor of Native Peoples magazine, including Body, Mind and Spirit: Native Cooking of the Americas. Also see Feast! Canadian Native Cuisine For All Seasons by Andrew George Jr. and Robert Gairns (Doubleday). As well 'Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions' by Fernando and Marlene Divina is an absolutely stunning recent publication from the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian.' This book will inspire many cooks.
We think that the book with the most amazing mushroom recipes (and photos)The Ultimate Mushroom Book by Peter Jordan and Steven Wheeler (Acropolis Books). You cannot look at this book without becoming hungry. It contains a guide and has good pictures of the mushrooms. Another good mushroom recipe book is The Mushroom Lover’s Mushroom Cookbook and Primer by Amy Farges (Workman).
There is no shortage of books on wild fish and game. Some of them have recipes that include wild fruits, vegetables, grains, and root crops. Among those available today in bookstores are Wild Game Cuisine by George Politis (Firefly Books), The Wild Menu by Christopher Ray (Willow Creek Press), and The Wild Fish and Game Cookbook by John Manikowsk (Artisan Press).
Although the following wild food books don’t have much in the way of recipes, a number of them will tell you the various uses of wild plants. Among our favourites are Euell Gibbons's Stalking the Wild Asparagus, which came out in the 1960s, The Wild Food Trail Guide by Alan Hall, and The Edible Wild by Berndt Berglund and Clare E. Bolsby. You may also want to peruse the Foxfire series published by Anchor books in the early 1970s.
There are a number of contemporary books that have come out recently with lovely recipes from highly inventive chefs. Keep a look out for the following, Noma: Time and Place in Nordic Cuisine by
Other books containing some information on wild recipes are The Ontario Harvest Cookbook by Julia Aitken and Anita Stewart, and A Taste of Quebec by Julian Armstrong, both published by Macmillan. Also check out Northern Bounty: A Celebration of Canadian Cuisine a reader published by Random House. For a book with literally hundreds of wild food recipes, look for the out-of-print Northern Cookbook by Eleanor A. Ellis (Hurtig).
For wild food identification books that also have recipes, check out the National Museum of Natural Sciences series entitled Canada’s Edible Wild Plant Series, in particular, Edible Wild Fruits and Nuts of Canada by Nancy Turner and Adam Szezawinski. Nancy Turner has also published a number of books on indigenous foods used by Aboriginal people in British Columbia.
We highly suggest that you pick up a copy of A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and central North America by Roger Tory Peterson and Lee Allen Peterson, in fact any of the Petersons guides are worth picking up, Field Guide to Medicinal Wild Plants by Bradford Angier, Mushrooms Demystified by David Arora, Le grande livre des champignons by Raymond McNeil (a must have, even if you dont speak french), North American Boletes; a color guide to the fleshy pored mushrooms by Alan E. Bessette, William C. Roody, and Arleen R. Bessette
A few of the best websites and facebook groups dedicated to wild foods, and the harvesting of local plants and mushrooms.