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Food & Drink

Food & Drink

The Best Books On Foraging To Seek Out In 2022

Want to start foraging but need a helping hand to help identify and pick edible plants? Here are our top picks when it comes to the best books on foraging, to help you out.

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Back in 2013 and 2014, I went through a foraging phase. From elderflower cordial to elderberry syrup, from nettle pesto, to sloe gin I made all sorts of delicious things with what I could responsibly pick. Having a baby meant I put foraging to the side. Now though, in 2022, I’m ready to pick things up where I left off!

As such, I’ve been seeking out the best books on foraging to help keep me right. From what to pick, when to pick, where to pick, and what to make with my pickings – I’ve turned to the experts for their top tips and guidance.

The Best Books On Foraging In 2022

Image of a person picking wild plants, with a blue text box that says guide to the best books on foraging

Whether you are looking to borrow books from your local library, or add them to your own permanent collection, here are our top books on foraging. From books dedicated to identifying and picking plants safely, to foraging recipe books, to books on foraging with kids, we’ve covered almost all bases.

The Urban Forager

Wross Lawrence, a professional forager living in the South East of England, has written this insightful book on foraging. Wross supplies foraged ingredients to organic food delivery service Able & Cole as well as to many top restaurants, so as you can imagine, this book is dripping in expert knowledge and advice.

This pretty book explains how to identify 32 easy-to-find plants, common in urban areas. Wross then shows you what to cook with your foraged leaves, nuts, berries, branches, flowers and even weeds. With delicious and easy-to-follow recipes, including hawthorn-berry ketchup, cherry-blossom shortbread, nettle ravioli, elderflower fritters, and cowslip summer rolls this book will completely change how you view urban areas.

Buy from Bookshop.org* / Amazon* / Wordery*

Wild Food: A Complete Guide for Foragers

Roger Phillips was a leading expert on wild food and mushrooms. He sadly passed away in November 2021, but he had been foraging for decades and influenced a generation of British chefs through his knowledge and passion for wild food.

As you might imagine, Wild Food: A Complete Guide for Foragers is therefore less of a book about the act of foraging itself. There’s much less emphasis on identifying and picking plants and much more emphasis on the actual cooking part. I would describe it as more of a recipe book – with ideas on what to cook with what you have foraged.

It does call for a certain amount of plant identification skills. However, if you are fairly confident in your plant identification skills or if not, and you plan to use this book in conjunction with other books on foraging, then it’s certainly a great one to add to your collection.

Phillips’s classic book contains over 150 recipes to make delicious food and drinks from wild plants. From berries, herbs and mushrooms to wild vegetables, salad leaves, seaweed and even bark, this book has tons of ideas on what to make with your foraged finds. These include red clover wine, watercress soup and bilberry muffins.

Buy from Bookshop.org* / Amazon* / Wordery*

Foraging With Kids

Foraging with Kids by Adele Nozedar

Looking to start foraging with your kids? Foraging With Kids is the ideal book for you. This fun yet practical book encourages families to get out and learn about nature.

The book is based on 50 easy-to-identify plants that are abundant in parks, forests and hedgerows – making it suitable for families that live in the city as well as those in the countryside. After showing you how to find, safely identify and pick these plants, there are heaps of engaging projects and recipes to take part in. These include making soap from conkers and making a delicious egg-free custard with foraged plantain.

If you’re looking for a fun way to encourage your family to get out and about in nature, then this book is sure to help. And with lots of beautiful hand drawings and essential information on plant facts and identification, it’s sure to be a point of reference for your family for years to come.

Buy from Bookshop.org* / Amazon* / Wordery*

The Forager’s Calendar

The Forager's Calendar by John Wright

As a forager at River Cottage, John Wright is one of the UK’s foremost experts in foraging. As such, Wright has put together decades of knowledge and experience into The Forager’s Calendar, making it easy for you to get out in nature and cook up delicious wild feasts.

Month by month, Wright shows us what species can be found and where, and how to identify them. Wright then explains how to store, use and cook each plant species. From how to tap a Birch tree, to how to make rosehip syrup and cook a hop omelette, there are heaps of useful advice in this foraging book. The odd insect pops up too – with Wright even showing you how to fry an ant.

Fully illustrated throughout, with tips on your essential foraging kit, conservation advice and what to avoid, this is a handy month-by-month guide for the new forager. And with fascinating stories behind the Latin names of plants, it’s even perfect for those happiest foraging from their armchair!

Buy From Bookshop.org* / Amazon* / Wordery*

The Forager Handbook

the forager handbook by Miles Irving

Miles Irving makes his living out of foraging. Having distilled his life’s work into this handy foraging bible – this weighty book is not one to take out with you on a foraging adventure. Instead, use it as a pre-foraging expedition guide, and a post-foraging cookbook.

In this in-depth guide, Irving tells you how to recognise the rich variety of all the wild food that surrounds us in Britain, whether in the city or the countryside. With details on all the different edible plants in the UK, including any similar-looking species and potential hazards, it aims to educate you on all aspects of foraging.

Then for each plant family, Miles gives ideas for using foraged ingredients in the kitchen. With recipes from a wide range of chefs, it covers techniques like drying, pickling and making cordials, to make a vast variety of tasty meals, treats and drinks.

Divided into plant families, this book on foraging is easy to navigate, whilst arming with you all the knowledge you need to make informed choices when out foraging.

Buy from Bookshop.org* / Amazon* / Wordery*

Your Foraging Books Suggestions

Have I missed your favourite foraging book? As always, let me know in the comments below. And if I come across any more great books, I’ll be sure to add them here. Do check back in the future!

Food & Drink, Food Waste Tips

How to Test If Eggs Are Fresh – A Simple, Failsafe Technique

how to test if eggs are fresh

Want to know how to test if eggs are fresh?  Right this way for a really simple technique so that you never unnecessarily waste an egg again.

Reducing our food waste is a really easy way to take action on climate, which almost anyone can do, regardless of income. It’s also incredibly impactful. It has quite scarily been estimated that if food waste was a country, it would be the third-highest emitter of greenhouse gases after the US and China.

This is because globally one-third of greenhouse emissions come from growing our food. However, across the globe, a staggering 30% of food produced is wasted. This works out at a colossal 1.8 billion tonnes of food waste each year. If we avoided this waste, 8% of our total greenhouse gas emissions would be slashed. It’s a no-brainer.

The Scale of the Egg Waste Problem

When it comes to eggs, in the UK alone we bin 720 million eggs a year. A large proportion of this waste is, according to Wrap, the government’s waste advisory body, due to confusion around the best before dates printed on eggs. Their research showed that 29% of Britons throw away eggs because they are past their best before date. However, eggs are often still perfectly safe to eat long after the date on the packaging has passed. 

egg fresh test

How To Test If Eggs Are Fresh

The good news is that it is really easy and safe to test if your eggs are fresh.  It’s a really handy tip to keep up your sleeve so that you can avoid binning perfectly edible eggs.

I’ll admit, I was one of the 29% who used to throw their eggs away when the date on the box was up. However, when my other half and I first moved in together he showed me a great tip to test if your eggs are fresh or not. It hasn’t failed us in over 16 years, so I thought I’d share it with you today.

To test if eggs are fresh simply take your egg and gently place it in a large glass of cold water. You’ll want to observe whether the egg sinks to the bottom or floats to the top.

egg glass water test
It sank so it’s safe to eat!

You can tell if your egg is good to eat quite easily. Eggs suitable for eating will sink to the bottom of the glass.

Meanwhile, eggs that float to the surface have gone off and must not be eaten.  Off eggs float because pockets of air form in them as the egg goes off, making them float in water.

What Else To Look For When Testing Eggs

The beauty of this test is that it’s really easy to tell if your eggs are fresh, and therefore safe to eat. However, if you are in any doubt about the freshness of your eggs and the results of this test, then there are a few further tests that you can make to make sure your eggs are fresh:

Sniff Eggs To Tell If They Are Fresh

If you are in doubt about the float test, then you can sniff your eggs to see if they are fresh. The smell of the egg, once you’ve cracked it open, will let you know if the egg is suitable for consumption. If you’re not sure what rotten egg smells like, then it’s quite a sulfurous smell, not too dissimilar to a really bad fart! You really can’t miss the smell when an egg is off. If you do detect a bad odour, then don’t eat the egg.

The Visual Inspection

If you are still in any doubt after both the float and sniff test, then take a look at the eggs once you’ve cracked them open to help you tell how fresh they are. Visually, if the egg is off then the yellow yolk will also be lying flat, rather than slightly raised. In an off egg, the albumen – the clear part of the egg – will also be very runny, almost like water. If your egg has any of these properties then it’s not safe for consumption.

With any egg past its best before date, do ensure it’s cooked thoroughly before eating, due to the risk of salmonella.

But Are The Eggs Really Ok To Eat?

testing an egg to see if it is fresh

I took these photos on the 28th of July. So even though my egg says best before 11th July this egg test suggests the egg is fresh and it’s still safe to eat.  

I admit I did feel sceptical the first time I tried this test out. Thankfully, I’m pleased to report that I didn’t get ill. And, actually, I have never been ill from an egg since we moved in together thirteen years ago. So my how-to test if eggs are fresh method is tried and trusted, let me assure you of that!  And even the NHS says you can eat eggs after their best before date.  Again, just cook it thoroughly.

Would you eat an egg past its expiration date?  Or do you have any other food tips?  Do share in the comments below!  And do check out my failsafe tip on how to tell if milk is bad, and the difference between best before and use-by dates.