Winter Reading: Foraging Wild Plants


Our first frost is upon us and the last vegetables of the harvest are finding their way into Mason Jars, sealed bags and freezers. With wide eyes looking toward spring, I can’t wait to get out in the fields and forests with these meaningful foraging guides. From wild mushrooms, to plants, medicine herbs and seemingly everything in between, these 10 books will definitely keep me excited about the next season while we work on new ingredients and techniques during the dark and cold months of Winter.

From top to bottom the books are as follows…

Edible Wild Plants by Lee Allen Peterson – Nearly 500 illustrations and photographs of recognizable species. Habitat descriptions, lists of plants by season and preparation instruction.

The Illustrated Guide to Edible Wild Plants by The Department of the Army – Originally intended of US Army survival use, this book has some great information of wild food. Illustrations and photographs throughout.

Medicinal Wild Plants of the Prairie by Kelly Kindscher – Fascinating book on regionally indigenous usage of wild plants as medicine. Lots of interesting history, recipes and illustrations.

How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine & Crafts by Frances Densmore – Written by an ethnologist with the Smithsonian Institution, the book details the uses of nearly 200 plants with emphasis on wild plants and their lesser known uses.

Edible Wild Plants of the Prairie by Kelly Kindscher – Illustrated guide with information on how plants were used by Native American trips on the Prairie. It has detailed descriptions as well as information on harvesting and the preparation of wild food plants.

Uses of Plants by the Indians of the Missouri River Region by Melvin R. Gilmore – This beautifully illustrated guide contains descriptions of the usage of wild plants for food, clothing, medicine and ornamentation by the Plains Indians along the Missouri River.

Edible Wild Plants, A North American Field Guide To Over 200 Natural Foods by Thomas S. Elias & Peter A. Dykeman – This is a book that will likely be in my Backpack every time we go out to forage. It contains hundreds of full color photographs, identification characteristics, poisonous lookalikes and harvest/preparation.

Nature’s Garden, A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants by Samuel Thayer – Another beautiful guide with over 400 color photos, a calendar of wild food harvest seasons and food preparation techniques.

A Guide to Kansas Mushrooms by Bruce Horn, Richard Kay and Dean Abel – Fresh mushrooms are amazing and there’s always so many that we have left because of our inability to identify them. This book will definitely help with that! Lots of information and descriptions of hundreds of local mushrooms. Color photographs throughout.

The Forager’s Harvest, A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting and Preparing Edible Wild Plants by Samuel Thayer – Over 200 color photographs showing each edible part of wild plans during the proper stage of harvest with excellent information on foraging and usage.


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