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Research Resources: SURVIVAL - Foraging for Food and Medicinal Herbs

Updated: Dec 19, 2022

In writing of a fictional story, especially fantasy or historical, you may well have characters finding themselves in a position which requires them to forage. What should they look for? What plants and/or creatures can be found that are edible as food or useful as medicine? This requires a good bit of research on your part as the author.

Allow us to help make your research a bit easier by providing you with some research resources.

According to : "Foraging involves searching for wild, edible plants, such as mushrooms or greens, in both rural and urban areas. You can forage for certain greens, berries, shellfish, mushrooms and nuts, depending on where you live. Foraging can be dangerous due to your exposure to both poisonous plants and toxic chemicals, so beginners and experts alike should practice proper safety protocols."

  • Seek the help of an experienced forager. Beginners should pair up with an expert forager who can teach them about local wild edibles and poisonous look-alike's.

  • Join a foraging club. Some regions have foraging clubs in which beginners and experienced foragers can meet and link up for group excursions.

  • Read and study. Check out a beginners guidebook before your first excursion to learn about wild edible identification. Always bring and identification guide with you on foraging trips.

  • Know off limit spaces. Although numerous areas are open to foragers, many aren't. Its your responsibility to learn whether foraging is permitted in the places you want to go. Always ask permission to forage on private property.

  • Be prepared. It's essential to bring proper clothing, footwear, foraging tools, food and water- especially if you're foraging in wild areas.

There are a few websites you can look up to help you learn how to present your characters as they cook and prepare what they've foraged. You want to be accurate in how you include these things in your book. We're going to share two specific sites with you, but there are more available for you to discover on your own.

The following is a list of publications that you will find useful in your research on things that can be foraged:

The Forager's Harvest by Samuel Thayer

Natures Garden by Samuel Thayer

Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods from Dirt to Plate By John Kallas

The Flavors of Home By Margit Roos-Collins

Stalking the Wild Asperagus

Stalking the Bllue-eyed Scallop

Stalking the Healthful Herbs

Incredible Wild Edibles

To go a step further in offering resource help, we've gone ahead and tracked down these books and made them available in our bookstore. You can find them here:

Happy Writing everyone!


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