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Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods From Dirt to Plate – How it’s Unique

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The purpose of this page is to provide the reader with a clear understanding of the books value, how it is unique, and why it should be a part of every foragers personal wild food library. View this page along with the Features page.

General Book Attributes:

—416 pages
—300 sharp full color photographs
—40 different plants are shown in one or more photographs.
—15 plant chapters cover 23 plants in greater detail than any book ever published.
—Two conceptual sections surround the plant chapters providing meaning, definition, context, practical guidance, and information to further research.
—This is Volume 1 of a series of planned books on wild foods.
—Plants covered are found throughout North America and Europe
—Easily Found and Gathered: Plants included are those that are native to humans and therefore found within walking distance of any kitchen.

A) Unique Design:

1. Layout is Inviting & Easy to Read

The layout is designed to suit and engage the reader. White space, columns, photos adjacent to the text they inform, everything is well labeled crisp and bright. To get a look inside showcasing its features, go here. This is the first wild food book to consider layout an important feature.

2. A User Manual

This is a user friendly, pictorially-based user manual based on experience, not a field guide, plant catalog, or remembrance. It is designed to help a user find early and continued success in their experiences. This design and the concentration of content had never been done before. This book can transform the reader from armchair enthusiast to a practicing wild food aficionado.

3. Plants Grouped by Flavor

This is a user friendly feature that makes sense to readers who might begin with flavors they like and progress on to more adventurous ones; improving their first experiences. Knowing what to expect results in better management and less rejection of new foods. Plants are grouped by these flavor categories: Foundational, Sour, Pungent, and Bitter. This flavor-based approach had never been done before.

4. A Personal Approach

This is a personal book taking on the voice and experience of its author. All the best wild food books are in the author’s voice. This approach leads to credibility, trust, and accountability. When the author talks in the first person, the reader knows the author has real experience with the plants and is not just repeating what others have said. Lack of experience leads to the perpetuation of misinformation.

B) Unique Content:

1. Useful to All Levels of Interest

The book is designed to suit beginners learning needs and has copious amounts of materials and resources to appeal to advanced users, scientists and researchers. Because the book is so easy to read and use, many think it is a beginners’ book, and it is. But it is also a serious scientific reference book. In addition, the foundational information throughout is useful to wild food instructors who now have a set of standard principles, definitions, and explanations they can pass on to their students This is the first wild food book to successfully appeal to all levels of interest.

2. Unique Information

This book is packed with the kind of important practical experience-based detail and guidance that promotes success in identification, gathering, processing, preparing and actually enjoying the flavors of the wild foods covered. Myths are debunked, new edible parts of plants are revealed on plants that have been poorly covered in past years. This is supported by the reviews of prominent wild food authors here, and by reviews of readers at Amazon.

3. Wild Foods Characterized and Defined

For the first time in any book formal definitions and descriptions are provided for the terms, ‘edible wild plants’, ‘poisonous plants’, and ‘medicinal plants’. These definitions provide context and understanding to many divergent groups including but not limited to laypersons, wild food enthusiasts, wild food instructors, the media, and science-based groups that have some interest in the human/plant connection.

4. Natural History in Detail

A pictorial chronology of the natural history of each plant is shown with multiple sharp close up photographs from seedling to seed production. This is important because plants look different at different stages of growth AND because there are multiple edible parts to recognize at different stages. It pays to know what each of those parts look like. No book has ever shown plants at all stages from seedling to seed production. This is the first wild food book to do this.

5. Purposeful Photos

This book has the best quality and most appropriate photographs of any natural history book ever written. Each photo is purposeful, sharp, and well captioned so plant identification is almost fool proof, even for the novice. A whole chapter per plant showing through photographs its progression from seedling to finished foods on a plate. Only a few wild food books have color photographs, rarely are they crisp and sharp and even more rarely are they purposeful. In this book all the photos are crisp, sharp, and purposeful.

6. Explanatory Sidebars and Captions

Explanatory sidebars clarify concepts in the text. Captions are extensive. They explain exactly what is in each photograph; the plant, the part of the plant, why it’s there and the size/scale of the portion of the plant shown. Most wild food books have no sidebars or captions period. The few that have captions do not provide the kinds of contextual information that readers need. This book excels at explaining its photographs.

7. Nutrition Chapter

The first wild food book to include a nutrition chapter related directly to wild foods and the specific plants covered. This is important because the wild food literature is replete with people making, often unknowingly, false and improvised nutritional claims. Misinformation is often mindlessly repeated from book to book. This book ignores the hype and talks real nutrition based on real scientific research.

8. Nutrient Tables

This is the first to include an accurate, credible, and professionally assembled nutrient chart directly from the scientific literature. Eighty percent of this data has never been seen prior to this book; even by nutrition professionals interested in wild foods. And, for the first time ever, original references to the nutrient data are provide.

9. Confusing Substances Clarified

Oxalates and Nitrates, regularly mentioned as villains in the wild food literature are explained and their true impacts to the diet and health are revealed. This is the first book to correct the record and explain these substances.

10. Scientific and Common Names

All historic scientific names as well as the most commonly used names are found at the head of each chapter. Half the wild food books do not list the family or Latin name for plants. This book goes beyond that to aid historical researchers with all the past scientific names previously used for plants.

11. Self Perpetuating Wild Gardens

This may be the first book to show how to create sustainable annual wild food gardens without ‘gardening’.

12. The Role of Wild Foods in the Greater Society

This is the first wild food book to suggest and goes into some detail about how wild foods could be harvested in quantity for personal use, to help feed the needy, or to serve as alternative cash crops for farmers.

This book has something for everyone who is genuinely interested in learning about and using edible wild plants. It is designed to be useful and fun for the novice while offering access to resources for the wild food scholar. It offers information, definitions, and clarification that help create a center of gravity and a knowledge base for the field. In addition to the wild food novice; chefs, nutritionists, anthropologists, permaculturists, agronomists, the media, and many other groups will now have a basis of understanding a field where mystery used to dominate.