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Foraging Arizona: Finding, Identifying, and Preparing Edible Wild Foods in Arizona

Foraging Arizona: Finding, Identifying, and Preparing Edible Wild Foods in Arizona

by Christopher Nyerges


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Arizona is a diverse area from the Colorado Plateau to the lowland basin and range areas of the Sonoran desert. Foraging Arizona addresses all the traditional plants from mesquite, amaranth, and cactus fruits, to the common urban weeds such as purslane, mallow, and lambs quarter. You'll learn about the edible wild foods and healthful herbs of Arizona. Organized by botanical families with a helpful guide to the environmental zone, this is an authoritative guide for nature lovers and gastronomes. Use Foraging Arizona as a field guide or as a delightful armchair read. No matter what you're looking for, whether it’s history of how native plants were used or how you can forage some of your meals at home or on hiking trips, this guide will enhance your next backpacking trip or easy stroll around the garden.

Inside you'll find:
Detailed descriptions of edible plants
Tips on finding, preparing, and using foraged foods
A glossary of botanical terms
Full-color photos

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781493052011
Publisher: Falcon Guides
Publication date: 11/01/2020
Series: Foraging Series
Pages: 296
Sales rank: 725,753
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Christopher Nyerges, co-founder of the School of Self-reliance, has led wild food walks for thousands of students since 1974.  He has authored 10 books on wild foods, survival, and self-reliance, and thousands of newspaper and magazine articles. He’s most recently written Foraging California, Nuts and Berries of California, and Wild Greens and Salads, all FalconGuides, the latter two are slated as 2015 titles. He continues to teach where he lives in Los Angeles County, California.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xi

Plants Listed by Environment Type xiii

Collecting and Harvesting Wild Foods xvii

How Much Wild Food Is Out There, Anyway? xix

Are Wild Foods Nutritious? xxi

Ferns 1

Bracken Family (Dennstaedtiacea) 2

Bracken (Pteridium aquilinuim) 2

Gymnosperms 5

Ephedra Family (Ephedraceae) 6

Mormon Tea (Ephedra spp.) 6

Pine Family (Pinaceae) 9

Pine (Pinus spp.) 9

Juniper (Juniperus californica) 12

Eudicots 17

Muskroot Family (Adoxaceae) 18

Elderberry (Sambucus spp.) 18

Amaranth Family (Amaranthaceae) 22

Amaranth (Amaranthus spp.) 22

Carrot Family (Apiaceae) 27

Biscuit-Root (Lomatium spp.) 27

Wild Carrot (Daucus carota) 30

Sunflower Family (Asteraceae) 33

Chicory (Cichorium intybus) 33

Prickly Lettuce (Lactuca serriola and others) 36

Sow Thistle (Sonchus oleraceus and S. asper) 39

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) 43

Thistle (Cirsium spp.) 46

Salsify (Tragopogon spp.) 49

Barberry Family (Berberidaceae) 53

Oregon Grape (Berberis sp.) 53

Mustard Family (Brassicaceae) 56

Mustard (Brassica spp.) 56

Shepherd's Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) 60

Watercress (Nasturtium officinale) 62

Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium irio and S. officinale) 66

Tansy Mustard (Descurainia pinnata and/or californica) 69

Cactus Family (Cactaceae) 72

Saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) 72

Barrel Cactus (Ferocactus spp.) 76

Prickly Pear (Opuntia spp.) 80

Organ Pipe Cactus, Pitahaya Dulce, or Pitaya (Stenocereus thurberi) 87

Pink Family (Caryophyllaceae) 91

Chickweed (Stellaria media) 91

Goosefoot Family (Chenopodiaceae) 95

Saltbush (Atriplex patula, A. elegans, A. wrightii) 95

Lamb's-Quarter, White and Green (Chenopodium album and C. murale) 97

Russian Thistle (Salsola tragus) 100

Heath Family (Ericaceae) 104

Manzanita (Arctostaphylos spp.) 104

Legume Family (Fabaceae) 108

Acacia (Acacia spp.) 108

Paloverde (Parkinsonia microphylla and P. florida) 111

Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) and Screwbean (P. pubescens) 114

Carob (Ceratonia siliqud) 117

Oak Family (Fagaceae) 119

Oak Tree (Quercus spp.) 119

Geranium Family (Geraniaceae) 124

Filaree (Erodium spp.) 124

Gooseberry Family (Grossulariaceae) 126

Currants and Gooseberries (Ribes spp.) 126

Walnut Family (Juglandaceae) 129

Arizona Walnut (Juglans major) 129

Mint Family (Lamiaceae) 132

Mint (Mentha spp.) 132

Chia (Salvia columbariae) 134

Mallow Family (Malvaceae) 137

Mallow (Malva neglecta) 137

Miner's Lettuce Family (Montiaceae) 140

Miner's Lettuce (Claytonia perfoliate) 140

Lopseed Family (Phrymaceae) 143

Yellow Monkey Flower, Common Mimulus (Mimulus guttatus) 143

Plantain Family (Plantaginaceae) 146

Plantain (Plantago major, P. lanceolata) 146

Veronica (aka Speedwell) (Veronica americana) 150

Buckwheat Family (Polygonaceae) 152

Flat-top Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum) 152

Curly Dock (Rumex crispus) 155

Sheep Sorrel (Rumex acetosella) 158

Wild Rhubarb (Rumex hymenosepalus) 161

Purslane Family (Portulacaceae) 163

Purslane (Portulaca oleraceae) 163

Buckthorn Family (Rhamnaceae) 166

California Coffeeberry (Frangula californica and F. betulifolia) 166

Rose Family (Rosaceae) 169

Common Chokecherry (Prunus virginiana) 169

Wild Rose (Rosa spp.) 171

Raspberry, Thimbleberry, Blackberry (Rubus spp.) 173

Serviceberry (Amelanchier utahensis) 175

Strawberry (Fragaria spp.) 177

Willow Family (Salicaceae) 180

Willow (Salix spp.) 180

Jojoba Family (Simmondsiaceae) 186

Jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis) 186

Nightshade Family (Solanaceae) 189

White Nightshade and Purple Nightshade (Solanum americanum and S. xanti) 189

Wolfberry (Lycium spp.) 193

Husk tomato (Physalis spp.) 195

Nettle Family (Urticaceae) 198

Stinging Nettle, Hortiga (Urtica dioicd) 198

Grape Family (Vitaceae) 202

Canyon Grape (Vitis arizonica) 202

Caltrop Family (Zygophyllaceae) 205

Creosote (Larrea tridentata) 205

Monocots 211

Century Plant Family (Agavaceae) 212

Agave (Agave spp.) 212

Yucca (Yucca baccata, Y. brevifolia, and others) 220

Onion or Garlic Family (Alliaceae) 227

Wild Onions (Allium spp.) 227

Palm Family (Arecaceae) 230

Desert Fan Palm (Washingtonia filifera) 230

Rush Family (Juncaceae) 233

Rush (Juncus spp.) 233

Lily Family (Liliaceae) 235

Desert Mariposa/Sego Lily (Calochortus spp.) 235

Wild Hyacinth, aka Blue Dick (Dichelostemma pulchellum) 237

Desert Lily (Hesperocallis undulata) 240

Grass Family (Poaceae) 242

Cattail Family (Typhaceae) 245

Cattail (Typha spp.) 245

Other Edibles 249

Getting Started 250

Test Your Knowledge of Plants 252

The Dozen Easiest-to-Recognize, Most Widespread, Most Versatile Wild Foods of Arizona 256

Staff of Life: Best Wild-Food Bread Sources 259

Sweet Tooth: Best Wild-Food Sugars and Desserts 262

Useful References 265

Recipe Index 268

Index 269

About the Author 272

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