Mountain States Foraging: 115 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Alpine Sorrel to Wild Hops

Mountain States Foraging: 115 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Alpine Sorrel to Wild Hops

by Briana Wiles


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“A stunning look at the natural abundance of the mountain states—with clear guidance on identification, gathering techniques, and uses.” —Jennifer McGruther, author of The Nourished Kitchen

The Mountain States offer a veritable feast for foragers, and with Briana Wiles as your trusted guide you will learn how to safely find and identify an abundance of delicious wild plants. The plant profiles in Mountain States Foraging include clear, color photographs, identification tips, guidance on how to ethically harvest, and suggestions for eating and preserving. A handy seasonal planner details which plants are available during every season. Thorough, comprehensive, and safe, this is a must-have for foragers in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, eastern Oregon, eastern Washington, and northern Nevada.  

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781604696783
Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 06/15/2016
Series: Regional Foraging Series
Pages: 338
Sales rank: 489,491
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 10.10(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Briana Wiles is a herbalist and wild plants expert. She teaches classes on foraging and medicinal plants. Wiles also runs Rooted Apothecary, which offers bulk herbs, herbal remedies, and her own line of body-care products made with foraged botanicals. Visit her online at

Read an Excerpt

How can I forget my Italian grandfather’s love for food? He had a garden plot with a variety of grapes, figs, plums, eggplants, tomatoes, and peppers, all staples of his old country. I fondly remember feral pears and apples scattered on Grandpa’s dashboard. I can taste Grandma’s giardiniera and see the giant jars of pickles from the harvests lined up in the basement. I come from a family who loved to celebrate food, and those roots give me passion for everything I do. Whether it’s the garden I plant and feed my family from or the shrubs that I forage, I am connected to my family’s traditions wholeheartedly.

Foraging for food has a feast of fans already. A movement is happening to rewild, regain, and revolutionize our tarnished food system. We want to eat local produce and to know where our food comes from. This can mean getting to know local farmers, food producers, and ranchers. We can also empower ourselves by being gatherers and heading into the woods, not just for the free food but also for respite. Foraging is about returning to the land with humbled hands. Let’s learn to take the time to sustainably prune the plants of the forest, spread seeds of the fields, and ensure the success of native plants by tending nature’s garden.

There is something to be said for spending time in nature, with keen eyes, a slow pace, and a soft impact. It betters us as humans to connect our feet and fingers with the matters of the earth in a way that brings us nutrients. Just a pinch of wild in each dish is a success to celebrate, a way to start incorporating the freedom of foraging.

It is a true blessing to live in a rural town in central Colorado. Here, I am surrounded by different climates within an arm’s reach: moist mountains, arid sagebrush, and riparian havens. The sands of Utah and the metropolitan Front Range are only four hours away, providing me with yet another variety of plants not found near my home. I can’t help but always be prepared to make a few gathering stops on the way.

I chose the plants for this book based on my personal taste preferences and my experience with each plant as food. My wish is to provide the reader with the skills to seek out and harvest a plant with a sustainable mindset and then to preserve your harvest and prepare these feral foods for feast.

My hope is not that this book will sit on a shelf or table but rather that it will somehow land, open, in the hands of a bored child or an adult waiting anxiously for time to pass. When they leave that spot, I want them to greet the lamb’s quarters, dandelions, and salsify with an irresistible urge to pick a leaf and taste it. This is how foraging lures you in, takes hold of your whole being, and welcomes you to the wild side.

Table of Contents

Preface 8

Introduction: Foraging High and Low 10

Timing Your Forage: A Guide to Seasonal Harvests 22

Wild Edible Plants of the Mountain West 35

Alfalfa 36

Alpine sorrel 39

Amaranth 41

Angelica 43

Apple 46

Asparagus 48

Aspen 51

Balsamroot 54

Beebalm 56

Bistort 59

Black walnut 61

Bluebells 64

Blueberry 66

Blue mustard 69

Brandegee's onion 71

Bullberry 74

Burdock 77

Cattail 80

Chick weed 84

Chicory 86

Chokecherry 88

Cleavers 91

Cota 93

Cottonwood 95

Cow parsnip 98

Crabapple 101

Dandelion 104

Dock 107

Douglas fir 110

Elderberry 112

Filaree 115

Fir 117

Firewood 120

Glacier lily 123

Golden currant 125

Goldenrod 127

Gooseberry 129

Ground cherry 132

Hackborry 134

Hawthorn 136

Hyssop 139

Juniper 142

King's crown 145

Lamb's quarters 147

Lilac 150

Linden 152

Mallow 155

Mariposa lily 158

Miner's lettuce 160

Mormon Tea 162

Mounta'n ash 164

Mountain candytuft 166

Mountain gooseberry 168

Mountain parsley 170

Mulberry 172

New Mexico locust 175

Northern bedstraw 181

Orache 183

Oregon grape 185

Ox-eye daisy 187

Pennycress 190

Pepperweed 192

Pine 194

Pineapple weed 197

Piñon 199

Plantain 202

Prickly pear 204

Purslane 207

Raspberry 209

Red clover 212

Salsify 214

Scrub oak 216

Serviceberry 220

Sheep sorrel 222

Shepherd's purse 225

Showy milkweed 227

Skunkbush 230

Smooth sumac 232

Sow thistle 234

Spring beauty 236

Spruce 238

Stinging nettle 241

Stonecrop 244

Strawberry blite 246

Sunflower 248

Sweet clover 250

Sweet root 253

Tansy mustard 256

Thimbloberry 258

Thistle 260

Tumble mustard 263

Twisted stalk 265

Veronica 267

Violet 269

Watercress 272

Wax currant 275

Western blue flax 277

White clover 279

Whitetop 281

Wild caraway 284

Wild chives 287

Wild grape 289

Wild hops 292

Wild lettuce 295

Wild licorice 297

Wild mint 299

Wild plum 301

Wild rose 303

Wild strawberry 306

Wintercress 308

Wolfs currant 310

Wood sorrel 312

Yarrow 315

Yucca 317

Metric Conversions 321

Useful Resources 322

Acknowledgments 324

Photography Credits 325

Index 326

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