6 Best Books on Foraging and Bushcrafting

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Every beginner, amateur, and pro forager alike need a foraging book on hand for survival. Such a book will give a great start on identifying, harvesting and using wild plants. It also comes in handy when your emergency food supply is depleted, and you have no option but to hunt for wild edible plants

We’ve narrowed it down to what we consider the top 6 best foraging books. These publications will be a great addition to your survivalist library.

Get ready to survive in the wild

Comparison Table  

ImageForaging BookAuthorFormatPublication DatePages
Foraging for SurvivalDouglas Boudreau and Mykel HawkePaperback and Kindle editionOctober 13, 2020208 pages
A Complete Survival BundleCarmel MaherKindle EditionNovember 10, 20151414 pages
The Wild Wisdom of WeedsKatrina BlairKindle EditionOctober 7, 2014384 pages
The Joy of Foraging HardcoverGary LincoffKindle, hardcover, and paperbackJune 1, 2017192 pages
The New Wildcrafted CuisinePascal Baudar HardcoverMarch 24, 2016432 pages
Discovering Wild PlantsJanice Schofield EatonHardcover and paperbackJune 1, 2003353 pages

Top 6 Best Foraging Books

1) Foraging for Survival

Boudreau Douglas is a native Floridian and self-taught foraging instructor. His poverty-stricken life forced them to learn some survival tricks while in the wild. And so, the author studied plenty of edible plant foraging books while travelling around his home country. 

On the other hand, Mykel Hawke is a retired US Army officer, an author, and a film and television personality. The knowledge from the 2 authors gave the world treasurable advice about surviving in the wild. It is no wonder this book, Foraging for Survival, is one comprehensive collection that every bushcraft enthusiast should have!

This knowledge is beneficial for a practical survival situation where there is a need to identify edible plants. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a pro survivalist, a hiker walking through the wilderness, or a bushcraft fanatic who’s looking for ingredients to add in your wild dishes, this is the book you need! 

It contains lots of details. The actual colored pictures of plants (and not drawings) will attract you to study more. The writing style herein is equally interesting; it’ll not seem like you are reading another textbook. And notably, the publication has high-quality papers that will not tear even after many years of use. 

Authors Mykel Hawke and Douglas Boudreau argue that since processed diets have always been the norm in the world’s growing population, many people are in search of a more sustainable food path. With this fact, the future of human food likely lies in the consumption of wild foods.

The two also debate that the younger generation is increasingly unable to distinguish and identify the backyard trees. In response to this, Hawke and Boudreau provide a treasury of some of North America’s wild edible plants. 

And so, if you’re looking for a comprehensive handbook containing the various plant species like taro and lichen from throughout the US, try out this today! Here, you will be equipped with the necessary tips to employ when growing local plants in your backyard. 

Foraging all the way!

Pros

  • Contains foraging techniques
  • Contains a comprehensive list of various edible wild plants
  • Warning signs of the poisonous plants
  • Quality paper pages

Cons

  • None from customers
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2) A Complete Survival Bundle: Foraging Wild Edible Plants And Bushcraft Skills 

Here’s an opportunity to read a foraging book from the comfort of your Tablet, Mac, Pc, Kindle device, or Smart Phone and add to your knowledge on surviving!

If you have some bushcraft experience, you probably have some survival confidence. But if you’re a newbie who is new to surviving, you need something to boost this confidence. Either way, Carmel Maher was wise enough to write a book that suits both parties. It is more suitable for beginners but can also be used by gurus to perfect their bushcraft skills. 

The book provides actual plant pictures to ease your work when identifying the edible plants in that rugged environment. This gives the best way of learning since you’ll only be making comparisons between what is in the book and what is growing in your “real” environment.”

Carmel Maher confirms that you mustn’t be in the wilderness to get the plants as they are also found in your local area. He explains that foraging is an excellent skill that you can nurture by practicing it where you are. And if you can forage wild plants, surviving in the desert will be a breeze.

He indicates that studying bushcraft doesn’t require money. Instead, it’s something to do at least twice in a month by simply getting in and out of nature. And so, even though the studying costs nothing, the confidence and satisfaction experienced here are priceless.

Here is a glimpse of what is inside the book; foraging basics and the rules to follow, edible flowers and weeds explained in pictures, food preservation methods, First Aid and Defenses, a comprehensive list of easy-to-identify edible Mushrooms, ornamental plants, and shrubs. 

Take the chance and invest your valuable money in this practical manual, especially if you’re a newbie! 

Pros 

  • Best for beginners
  • A vast array of information.
  • Worthwhile investment.

Cons

  • It has less bushcraft info but lots of foraging
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3) The Wild Wisdom of Weeds

This is one of the few foraging books that focus on 13 weeds that can be found all over the world. Each of the weeds explained in this book represents a food source and a comprehensive medical source. In other words, Katrina Blair’s guide does more than just being a field guide to getting wild edibles. The handbook is a global survival plan for humanity.  

If you understand the 13 edible weeds, your bushcraft adventure will never be the same. These plants include knotweed, lambsquarter, clover, chickweed, dandelion,  grass, mallow, dock, mustard, purslane, plantain, amaranth, and thistle. Each of these contributes to the earth’s regeneration while supporting human survival. Amazingly, all these plants can grow in the hottest deserts and the most rugged of environments.  

This global knowledge will also take your skills to a whole new level; you will start thinking of bushcrafting in other countries. You can now become closer to the wild instincts and enjoy the freshest, nutrient-rich, and wildest weeds there is!

To understand the intensity of the manual, a background of the author’s life is important. Katrina was only 11 when she got a life-changing experience. Wild plants beckoned her to champion their cause as she had spent many months taking some wild walkabouts, eating forages,  and becoming an advocate of wild-food. This experience made her a gardener, a community activist,  a chef, and an advocate who taught and presented foraging internationally.

Katrina’s philosophy is not only sobering but also realistic and optimistic. It’ll open your eyes to the wisdom of the wild and give you sufficient knowledge in the weeds right under your noses. You will no longer see them as “invasive enemies” but the guide will reveal them as agents of food security. 

You’ll also get 100 unique recipes to choose from roots, seed soups, slaws, salads, crackers, seed butter, seed bread, pestos, among others. You can also use the weed and wild plants to make smoothies, cereals, sauerkrauts, green powders, milk, first-aid concoctions, beauty/self-care,  face masks, e.t.c. 

It’s all about healing your body and spirit while still in the wild. Break the monotony of this technological age and match confidently into the wild. Hunger can no longer stand your way!

Pros

  • Good quality slick paper
  • Great descriptions
  • It contains a comprehensive medicinal value of 13 plants.
  • Includes vegan recipes

Cons

  • Quite costly
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4) The Joy of Foraging

Gary is an author, co-author, and editor of many articles and books on mushrooms. He has been teaching different courses onidentifyingn and using wild plants at the New York Botanical Garden for many years. He has also led lots of forays and study trips to 30 different countries across Africa, Asia, Europe, North, South, and Central America, 

He was the clluride Mushroom Festival chair for around 25 years and still participates actively as the principal speaker. What is worth noting is that Gary is an award-winning author of the Know Your Mushrooms publication and founder of the New York City Edible Wild Plant Workshop. 

It is this rich background that made his book The Joy of Foraging a well-profiled and global selling guide that you also shouldn’t miss out. In this book, Gary shows you how to hunt for fiddlehead ferns, beach plums, rose hips, bee balm and much more. It is suitable for foraging and bushcrafting in the woods or urban jungle. And so, if you’ve been looking for the best handbook to learn more about your fellow novices, experts, hobbyists, and folk healers. 

It features essential tips on the exact places to find these native plants. You’ll learn how to collect wild plants and know the difference between toxic and edible weeds. Discover the nutrient-rich edible in your local park, backyard, woods, and roadside! Besides learning about the world of wild edibles, you’ll also find various recipes and ideas on preparing or preserving your wild harvest all-year-round!

The info herein is accurate and well-reasoned. While so many foraging guide books seem to be hastily published, Gary’s work appears to be derived from his own experience. This shows proficiency and expertise in the publication that you will easily relate to. The narratives interspersed in this text are memorable and carry relevant information. 

Pros

  • Excellent descriptions
  • Fun to read
  • Best of foraging books.

Cons

  • The photos are of substandard quality
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5) Exploring the Exotic Gastronomy of Local Terroir

The New Wildcrafted Cuisine is one exceptional presentation that explores the natural world for a great culinary delight. It is a primary manual of Pascal Bauda’s creative interrelationship and love for wild plants and weeds. The guide goes beyond the standard of many wild plant foraging guides and cookbooks. Here’s why;

 The spirit conveyed in this book carries the unique interpretations of Bauda’s local flora. It will take you through the different ancient principles of food preservation and alchemy. Here, you will get detailed recipes of spices, infusions, ferments, and many other preparations. The author argues that wild foods are increasingly common. She evidences this fact by the development of countless foraging books and well-written articles by pro chefs about culinary creations incorporating wild ingredients. 

It goes beyond both bushcraft and foraging genres and profoundly explores the different flavors of local terroirs. Buy this copy and get a combined knowledge of wild plants and delicious edible plants and insects. Most of these delicacies were once gathered and eaten by native people. They have recently been appreciated and re-explored.

Know how to make smoked vinegar using various barks and how to brew the primitive beers using insect sugar, ants, and plants. If you love preparing skewers, this book will teach you how to do so using aromatic plants.

Take your bushcraft skills to the next level by using selected rocks to grindstones and griddles. The book will also explain how the fallen leaves can be used to prepare a delicious local flavor of veggies and meat. 

The beautifully photographed handbook also gives you dozens of wild and creative recipes. It comes with instructions to prepare a pantry full of more foods like Wild Kimchi Spice, Pickled Acorns, Currant Capers, White Sage-Lime Cider, Pine Needles Vinegar, and Infused Salts and Wild Herbs. 

Even though Pascal Baudar mostly has a southern California background, it is readable by almost anyone. The deep foraging experience and wisdom of Baudar is worth using to explore your bioregion. 

Pros

  • Contains practical applications
  • Also suitable for chefs
  • The author exhorts readers to harvest sustainably.

Cons

  • Not suitable for beginners
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6) Discovering Wild Plants: Alaska, Western Canada, the Northwest 

Don’t let this book’s title put you off! The mention of Alaska, Western Canada, and the Northwest doesn’t mean that it cannot be read by people from all over the world. In fact, the book is more relevant for survivalists who live in temperate climates throughout the world. 

This superb field manual covers 147 wild plants. It details their identification, medicinal properties, and contemporary and traditional uses. Each of these plants has a line drawing and a photograph. The book is the best plant-guide for those living in the Northwest

You will learn about all the interesting harvests of western Canada, Alaska, and Northwest in this significant volume. Janice Schofield Eaton discusses each plant thoroughly and teaches you the life-histories and methods of identifying the subjects. It is highly recommended for beginners.

The only downside of the book is that it is currently out of print. This makes the available copies quite expensive. But we’re glad it made its way to this top 10!

Pros

  • Out of print
  • Explains 147 wild plants.
  • Best plant-guide to the Northwest.

Cons

  • Quite expensive
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Best Foraging Book Buying Guide

Even books have a buyer’s guide. Not all foraging books listed there will suit your needs! Beyond having a great desire to read, there are also many other factors that you should consider before buying your next foraging book:

  • The book should have a recent publication and release
  • The author should be an award winner
  • Boast some brilliant reviews
  • Hardcover books are most preferred as they are durable and easy to read
  • You can also consider paperbacks as they are user-friendly
  • Go for an audiobook if you’re passionate about long walks
  • The book should be part of a subject or series you’re interested in

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Which foraging book should I consider for beginners?

A: A Complete Survival Bundle by Carmel Maher is the best foraging book for beginners. It is the simplest read on this list and also contains a simple narration. The info included herein is beginner-friendly and you’ll truly understand it regardless of your proficiency in foraging and bushcraft.

Q: Is it okay to read multiple foraging handbooks at once?

A: Reading one foraging book at a time may limit you to a particular genre. However, switching to read multiple foraging books at once gives you a rich experience from a broader variety. All in all, what matters most is that the content in the book(s) should be helpful.

Q: Should I keep my foraging book after reading it? 

A: Yes, you should. Keeping the book is important for future reference. 

Our Top Pick

Foraging for Survival: Edible Wild Plants of North America was our top pick for plenty of reasons. This guide will grow your desire for bushcraft and foraging, and we recommend it to absolutely everyone, whether beginner or pro forager. It is an affordable pick that boasts terrific colour photos and great descriptions. And since it is one of the latest publications, it contains the “freshest” news about bushcraft and foraging. Do not miss out on this!

There you go, the top 6 best foraging books that will help you start or continue with your foraging journey. 

Happy foraging!

 


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