I really love cooking and experimenting with wild food in the kitchen.
Foraging cookbooks and recipes on internet provide the foundation for many new dishes I create. They do not just allow to play in the kitchen but help to understand the techniques, pairings and ingredient uses.
You come back home with a bunch of orache and realise there are no interesting recipes. So you think, “What if I use it in this recipe instead of spinach?” Maybe it works, maybe it won’t, but you just have to try.
Home cooking is all about personal taste and creativity, so I simply use foraging cookbooks as a reference to help me discover the ingredient’s profile – a source of inspiration to create new recipes.
Here is a list with the best foraging cookbooks I found.
List of recommended foraging recipe books
Wild Food – A Complete Guide for Foragers - by Roger Phillips
For more than thirty years this classic book is still relevant to foragers. Revisited a couple of times, there is even another American edition, which includes plants growing in the US.
Originally, I thought this book was a foraging guide, but it turned out it was more a foraging recipe book – packed with recipe ideas you can merrily indulge yourself once you got the right ingredients.
The book strikes a good balance between folklore, historical usage, description and recipes to cook with plants, mushrooms and seaweeds.
Perhaps the only issue here is that photographs haven’t aged very well, but the recipes are still inspirational.
Foragers Kitchen – by Fiona Bird
This book is written by Fiona Bird, BBC Masterchef finalist and a resident of the Outer Hebrides.
Forager’s Kitchen cookbook is beautifully produced and illustrated with fantastic photos, aimed to beginners but appealing to more knowledgeable foragers.
Packed full of recipes, this book isn’t a definitive guide to all edible wild plants, but more a selection of common ingredients everybody can cook with.
The book includes lots of traditional recipes rarely used these days and new ideas on how to use the food that you have foraged.
The New Wildcrafted Cuisine – by Pascal Baudar
Author Pascal Baudar is a world’s renowned forager based in California, who has been experimenting with wild food and working with top chefs for years.
The New Wildcrafted Cuisine is truly awesome. It’s visually stunning, certainly inspiring and illustrated with beautiful pictures. Pascal creates unique recipes and use fascinating techniques to work with wild ingredients.
The foraging cookbook is aimed to advanced foragers, so perhaps beginners will find it too daunting, but it’s definitely the best book in the subject.
Although some plants do not grow in the UK and Ireland, you can easily replace them with native plants and use the ideas for different processes, from dehydrating to fermenting any ingredients.
Edible Wild Plants & Herbs: A Compendium of Recipes and Remedies – by Pamela Michael
I came across this book a couple of years ago when I was looking for something else in my local library. It turns out this book was published originally in 1980 and has been entirely revised and redesigned since then.
Not sure this is a foraging cookbook per se, but it certainly can be used as such. It contains almost 400 recipes covering nearly 100 different plant species, arranged alphabetically.
The book is exquisitely illustrated and includes additional information on where the plants are found and how to identify them, though there are better books for that purpose.
Foraging & Feasting: A Field Guide and Wild Food Cookbook - by Dina Falconi
Some time ago, the author launched a crowdfunding campaign to self-publish this book and was backed by numerous donors, which helped to make this project a reality.
Now I must confess I do not own this book myself, but I am really tempted to buy it because the illustrations are really exquisite. I’d buy this book just for the drawings, but unfortunately it seems more oriented to American readers.
The Foraging and Feasting cookbook have a lot of praise and good reviews.
I can’t think of many other dedicated wild food cookbooks for foragers based in the UK and Ireland apart from seaweed cookbooks.
Am I missing any other interesting wild cookbook?
Which foraging recipe book is your favourite?