A Forager’s Treasury by Johanna Knox, Allen & Unwin, ISBN 9781877505164, RRP $37, Available now.
Growing one’s own produce is definitely catching on but foraging (collecting wild plants to use) would at first glance still seem a fairly foreign concept to most town and city-dwelling Kiwis, I would think. On that basis Johanna Knox certainly wins BookieMonster’s “unique idea for the year” award!
But as Knox points out:
At the very least, can any of us say that we’ve never picked a blackberry?
On another basis she’s also in the running for most enjoyable book of the year, because A Forager’s Treasury is not only a detailed and accessible guide to many New Zealand plants, it’s also a recipe book, a household compendium, and an all round entertaining read, even if you have no aspirations to learn your hawksbeard from your hawksbit or your tisane from your tea (not a lot different there except semantics, apparently).
Knox explores both native plants and introduced species, and this would make a fantastic gift for a determined outdoor explorer. I can imagine going on bush works and breaking off bits of plant to bring back and check against the illustrations. Or taking it with me and spending hours annoying a walking companion by insisting on examining every dandelion we come across, and determining exactly which kind of DYC (damned yellow composite) it is.
On a more practical note there’s some really tasty recipes included, and you wouldn’t need to be the most determined forager to enjoy them. I mean, sure I could forage berries or fruit for the Scrumper’s Crumble, but in the middle of winter I could also forage in my local supermarket or farmer’s market, and it’s still going to warm my belly.
And if I want to know even more I can visit the accompanying website - http://foragerstreasurygallery.blogspot.co.nz/.
A Forager’s Treasury is a delightful idea and a charming book.