The best books on foraging free wild edible plants and mushrooms in both cities and countrysides

Who am I?

I started foraging when I was a toddler and my Greek great-grandmother took me to a park to gather dandelion leaves. I read foraging field guides almost incessantly (still do). Eventually, I got a certification in Ethnobotany and went professional. I love teaching and sharing my passion for wild foods through my books, workshops, and videos. One of the most rewarding moments for me is when a student realizes that something I’ve just identified as a safe and delicious edible is a plant that grows all around them. It’s a game-changer. They can’t go back to seeing any plant as “just a weed."


I wrote...

The Skillful Forager: Essential Techniques for Responsible Foraging and Making the Most of Your Wild Edibles

By Leda Meredith,

Book cover of The Skillful Forager: Essential Techniques for Responsible Foraging and Making the Most of Your Wild Edibles

What is my book about?

From harvesting skills that will allow you to gather from the same plant again and again to highlighting how to get the most out of each and every type of wild edible, trusted expert Leda Meredith explores the most effective ways to harvest, preserve, and prepare all of your foraged foods. Featuring detailed identification information for over forty wild edibles commonly found across North America, the plant profiles in this book focus on sustainable harvesting techniques that can be applied to hundreds of other plants. This indispensable reference also provides simple recipes that can help you make the most of your harvest each season.

The books I picked & why

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The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants

By Samuel Thayer,

Book cover of The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants

Why this book?

Like all of Sam’s books, this one is a gold mine of detailed, in-depth information about the plants he features in it. His information is beyond trustworthy: he is so familiar with his subject that it is as if he is inviting you to get to know some of his best friends (the plants). My copy is dog-eared and field-stained from all the use I have put it to.


Backyard Foraging: 65 Familiar Plants You Didn't Know You Could Eat

By Ellen Zachos,

Book cover of Backyard Foraging: 65 Familiar Plants You Didn't Know You Could Eat

Why this book?

Every forager I know (myself included) doesn’t just gather truly wild plants. We also harvest neglected fallen fruits and cultivated plants that were planted as ornamentals but are also great food. In this book Ellen focuses on the latter, introducing us to the tastiness of hostas, daylilies, and many other garden plants that most people think are just eye candy.


The Complete Mushroom Hunter, Revised: Illustrated Guide to Foraging, Harvesting, and Enjoying Wild Mushrooms - Including New Sections on Growing Your Own

By Gary Lincoff,

Book cover of The Complete Mushroom Hunter, Revised: Illustrated Guide to Foraging, Harvesting, and Enjoying Wild Mushrooms - Including New Sections on Growing Your Own

Why this book?

Written by my mentor the late, great Gary Lincoff. This book teaches how to safely identify and prepare wild edible mushrooms, but it does much more. Gary includes fascinating stories about how different cultures relate to mushrooms (from mycophobic to can’t wait to get out there and hunt for them). I’ve tried many of the recipes, and they are excellent. He also includes medicinal mushrooms, and (important!) a guide to the poisonous mushrooms you definitely want to avoid.


Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants

By Steve Brill, Evelyn Dean,

Book cover of Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants

Why this book?

Steve’s funky sense of humor and obvious love for the wild foods he describes make this book a classic. It is especially useful for urban foragers in the Northeast. Anyone who has ever been on one of Steve’s foraging tours will recognize the playful way he delivers essential botanical information. And that playfulness makes the information memorable.


The New Wildcrafted Cuisine: Exploring the Exotic Gastronomy of Local Terroir

By Pascal Baudar,

Book cover of The New Wildcrafted Cuisine: Exploring the Exotic Gastronomy of Local Terroir

Why this book?

Rather than focusing on survival food or a fun outdoor activity, this book zooms in on foraging as a source of unique flavors that cannot be purchased. From salts mixed with wild herbs to pine needle vinegar to homemade beers infused with the tastes of the forest, Pascal is interested in much more than “Is it edible?” He wants to know what each wild ingredient is going to do for his (and our) taste buds.


2 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in mushrooms, edible wild plants, and foraging?

5,810 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about mushrooms, edible wild plants, and foraging.

Mushrooms Explore 12 books about mushrooms
Edible Wild Plants Explore 10 books about edible wild plants
Foraging Explore 9 books about foraging

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Edible Wild Plants, Guide to Wild Foods and Useful Plants, and The Essential Wild Food Survival Guide if you like this list.