Taste the West! Wiles introduces delicious wild edible plants and flavors you’ve probably never considered before.” —Thomas J. Elpel, author of Foraging the Mountain West and Botany in a Day “A stunning look at the natural abundance of the mountain states—with clear guidance on identification, gathering techniques, and uses for fruits, leaves, roots, and flowers.” —Jennifer McGruther, author of The Nourished Kitchen “The Timber Press foraging series offers another set of books with high quality photography. . . . also available as handy Kindles.” —American Herb Association Quarterly “A very easy-to-use guide with beautiful clear photos for identification.” —Fresh Air Fort Collins “If you’re new to foraging, you’ll find Wiles’ hundreds of clear color photos and tips on how to harvest sustainably, garble, winnow, and avoid poisonous plants very useful. Even if you’re a seasoned pro, her thoughts on what to make with your findings will surely inspire. . . . fantastic suggestions for how to consume and preserve edibles in unique ways.” —5280
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.
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.