Get your copies now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Powell's or Indiebound.

20 responses to “My Foraging Library”

  1. Tamar@StarvingofftheLand

    Thanks for the guide to the guides! I can’t help but second the motion on Euell “Try Anything” Gibbons. To your list of his virtues — he knows stuff, he’s been places, he eats everything — I’d add his infectious enthusiasm. His idea that the great outdoors, far from being threatening or hostile, is this great smorgasbord of edible vegetation, is compelling enough to make anyone look differently at the plants around him.

    If your Massachusetts trips ever bring you to the Cape, I’ve got a few good mushroom spots. I might even tell you where my super-secret hen-of-the-wood tree is, if you’d consider a trade for, say, some wild duck terrine …

  2. J.R. Young

    To leverage off Mushroom Demystified, David’s book “All That the Rain Promises and More: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms” is a great field guide to take with you that is much easier to lug around when out in the woods.

  3. Nathan Z

    You’ve written about Northern Minnesota in the past. Any suggestions for the great plains and/or northern woodlands? I assume that many of the text in this post are pan-regional so I’ll start there! 🙂

    LOVE your work. Can’t wait to hear more about your book.

  4. Casey Harn

    I don’t have a book you are missing, but thank you for showing me the second book by Thayer. I have the “Forager’s Harvest”, which I really like, except for the parts where his nose seems to be in the air a bit.

    So I’ll be looking for it and the mushroom guide. And congrats on the upcoming book.

  5. Russell

    If you’re in the PNW I recommend ‘Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest’ by Trudell and Ammirati. Loads of full color photos and a focus on species from Northern Cali to B.C., and reasonably small enough to carry around. But in general, Arora’s short, adorable, freaky-hippie-guide ‘All That The Rain Promises And More’ is a good entry to your basic edibles.

  6. Josh

    Great list! I love Ms. Bringle Clark’s book. I’m also impressed with the desert book you mention – and it’s important to note that few plants are covered because of the environs, and folks out there had to really make-do with what they had.

    As for California’s unique plant life, may I immodestly point you to a recent California resolution working its way through the legislature – ACR 173, designating a California Native Plant Week – authored by Assemblywoman Evans, and written by someone you may know…

    Among the facts in the resolution: California has more native plant taxa than all other states combined.

  7. Laura

    1) I jut got that Audubon guide to CA that you are peeking at in your photo. As a non-lifestyle-forager-but-interested-in-what’s-out-there kinda person, I think this will be a nice start. Thanks.
    2) Woo-woo juju? Love that.
    Hope your East Coast visit is grand.

  8. Bpaul

    I always go to what we call “Pojar’s” for plant I.D. in the Pacific N.W. (hope this link works) Plants Of The Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia & Alaska

    I carry that, along with my “Edible” plant books, especially the ones with the line drawings like Gibbons’ books. That way I get a good guide with typing and whatnot built into it. It’s worth the extra effort, especially in the case of Gibbons books, because his info is great it’s just the illustrations and typing that are a bit lacking.


  9. Stu

    John Kallas just came out with his new book Edible Wild Plants:

  10. cathy

    I have some of the books mentioned here, and I will find some of the others suggested.

    However, I am looking forward to *your* book because I have a feeling (and hope I’m not wrong) that you will talk more about using these ingredients and about why finding them (and harvesting them in sustainable ways) is important for health and taste reasons.

  11. Heather

    Stalking the Wild Asparagus is also one of my go-to guides. My parents used to make fun of Euell Gibbons when I was a kid (was there some SNL or SCTV skit that did it?). “Ever eat a wood fence? Taste just like wild hickory nuts!”

  12. Carol

    Hi, Hank–

    It’s been years since I purchased an edible plant book, as I’m still relying on the books I got 15-20 years ago! So I’ll definitely check out your recommendations, and avidly await your book. I’ve gotten a lot of use out of “A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants, Eastern and Central North America” by Lee Allen Peterson (first published in 1977 but has been reprinted–I bought mine in 1994), which has nicely detailed line drawings and a section of photographs, though not all plants are depicted in the photos; and “Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide” by Thomas S. Elias and Peter A. Dykeman (1990), with nice color photos of every plant. Both books give lots of information on uses, habitat, notes about look-alikes and other caveats/warnings. “Wildman” Steve Brill’s 1994 book “Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants” is a fun read for the anecdotes he shares and is very informative, but I use it for supplemental information after I’ve already identified the plant, as I don’t find his line drawings that helpful for ID purposes. And I still have, I’m embarrassed to say, a book published in 1972 that I borrowed from a science teacher in junior high school and never remembered to return–“Early Uses of California Plants” by Edward K. Balls (sorry about that, Mr. Falb!!)….I remember that for a time in 1970s, the Sunday comics section of the paper (I think it was the LA Times, but could’ve been the Herald Examiner) ran a series of panels illustrating a different wild edible plant each week, how to ID it and use it. As a kid, I found it very exciting and compelling. Does anyone else remember this?

  13. Johanna

    I inherited my first foraging book from my grandpa. The book is titled “The Edible Wild” and it was written by Berndt Berglund and Clare E. Bolsby, published in 1971. Great book!

  14. Just Had a Berry Good Week | Justin Westbrook

    […] Had a Berry Good Week Posted on July 4, 2010 by Justin Early last week I read this post by Hank Shaw at Hunter Angler Gardner Cook (a blog I should add to my links page come to think of […]

  15. Maia Brindley Nilsson

    I was hoping you would have a post on foraging books so I was really happy to find this. Do you have any idea how useful these books would be for foraging in Scandinavia? I checked at the library the other day and there doesn’t seem to be any regionally specific foraging guide here (Sweden that is). Obviously we have some things that are special for this area like lingonberries and cloudberries but as a novice forager I’m fairly in the dark beyond the obvious berries and chanterelles.

  16. Jade

    Hello, I am looking for a book to get my partner as he is very much into survival situations. I would like a book that tells you the name of a plant or tree, description, obvious signs and whether its useful or edible. We live in the UK but we also travel to Europ alot. any tips? thanks.

  17. Shawn

    Thanks for sharing your favourite guides to mucking around with. I had a friend ask me about foraging guides this week and I knew just which blog to hit. Your recommendations are well thought out and super-practical, this post has been an invaluable resource.

    David Arora’s a legend with my friends and I. His guides are loitering in the trunk of every station wagon here in the North West, usually under an stitched hoodie and muddy boots.

    Big love.

  18. Beuna Tomalino

    I am co author of Herbs To Know 2: Wild Medicinal & Edible Plants. The plants in our book can all be found in the intermountain west of the United States. Full color photos, medicinal use, how to eat, how to identify, and how to grow each plant.

Leave a Reply