The best way to learn to forage, particularly if you do not have much experience with plants, is to go on guided plant identification walks with knowledgeable people. Here are a two options in the Portland area to check out. Once you have more familiarity with botanical terms and shapes, the books listed below will be of great help in the field and in the kitchen.
Urban Foraging 101
In this three-hour class led by Rebecca Lerner, learn to identify and sustainably harvest an amazing array of common wild edible and medicinal plants in urban neighborhoods and local wilderness areas.
Wild Food Adventures
Local field guide author and wild food veteran John Kallas offers various foraging workshops, including cattail and acorn processing.
Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Wild Plants
“Wildman” Steve Brill covers hundreds of common edible plants in detail, with helpful illustrations, in this essential reference book.
The Forager’s Harvest
In-depth books by Samuel Thayer with wonderful photographs, charts and extensive discussion on subjects like processing acorns and eating cattails. Also look for The Forager’s Harvest DVD: It’s like going on a plant walk with an expert, from the comfort of your living room.
Edible Wild Plants
Portlander John Kallas writes specifically about common weeds. Includes clear photographs of plants in all stages of growth.
From Earth to Herbalist: An Earth-Conscious Guide to Medicinal Plants
Gregory Tilford compiles information on sustainable harvesting techniques, which vary from plant to plant.
This guidebook by Jennifer Hahn includes in-depth plant descriptions, phenomenal recipes and lovely personal essays.
Resources compiled by Rebecca Lerner
Illustration by Dana Dart-McLean