In the past decade we have been inspired to “grow local – eat local.” Why not take this idea a step further and eat even more of Mother Nature’s Bounty? If you have been reading this blog, you know that I enthusiastically recommend a number of edible native plants. In fact, I have a presentation called “Nativelicious” teaching gardeners and landscapers about native plants which provide both beauty in the landscape and food on the table. A wonderful new book explores the idea of eating a number of common plants in your yard: Backyard Foraging: 65 Familiar Plants You Didn’t Know You Could Eatby Ellen Zachos.
Zachos explores “65 Familiar Plants You Didn’t Know You Could Eat” including Rugosa Rose, Hosta, Oxeye Daisy, and even some native plants such as Sumac, Sassafras and Magnolia. To help novice foragers, Zachos explains the details of each plant, how to harvest it and how to eat it. She reassures us that we don’t have to denude our yard as we fill our plates, and offers advice about foraging safely, protecting both ourselves and our plants.
For those of us worried about the invasive plants taking over our landscapes, Zachos gives us a utilitarian way to deal with some of them – eat them! Garlic Mustard, Autumn Olive and Japanese Knotweed all deserve a place at our dinner table, as we try to eradicate them from our yards. A bonus chapter teaches us about 5 common mushrooms to harvest including Hen-of-the-Woods and Black Trumpet Mushrooms. Zachos provides important safety tips on mushroom foraging, and even explains how to grow your own mushrooms, the foraging equivalent of shooting fish in a barrel.
Whether you are an avid gardener or a hungry apartment dweller, Backyard Foraging will inspire you to get outside and start looking for dinner, at least a vegetarian one. Kudos to Zachos for a useful and entertaining book!
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