Sunday, December 28, 2014

Review: Weed Forager's Handbook

I was very lucky that for my birthday, a most lovely lady friend of mine gifted me with a most marvelous book.

She knows of my proclivity for self-sufficiency and likewise has an eye for it herself. She had been on a series of Edible Weed walks and workshops, run here in urban Melbourne, and thought to buy me the accompanying book:
The Weed Forager's Handbook:
"A Guide to Edible and Medicinal Weeds in Australia"

Full of full colour photos and classically rendered botanical illustrations, this 166 page manual contains detailed edibility and medicinal notes on 20 common weeds, that can be found in my local area, and in most regards, Western urban environments. the book itself is small enough to fit easily in a cargo-pants pocket, and even a back-pocket. Great for those foraging trips around the neighborhood. 

I've made several meals containing greens I have sourced from on or around my home, in the laneway and up and down the nature strip of my quiet suburban street.

As well as the main 20, there are  another 14 short profiles of useful plants. Each of the listings comes with tales from history and folklore regarding the plants, as well as a good introduction to known poisonous plants hat should NOT be harvested.

I knew nettles were edible, but didn't know how to harvest and prepare them, and they are delightful!
Likewise, dandelions and wild lettuce grow around my house, and they have also made it onto the table, in soups and stews, and even as a boost to salads.

This book by Adam Grubb and Annie Raser-Rowland has added to my spread of knowledge with regards putting good food on the table, and even though I might have had to sneak it past the finicky teenager, I like to think that I am adding to the nutritional bounty of our otherwise distant farm and supermarket sourced food.

It also never hurts to know what will make a needful addition to the pot, should the shops be bare and the roads closed!

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