Obviously you canít walk out the door and taste the every wild plant you see. Many wild plants and mushrooms (which are fungi, not plants) are delicious and healthful, but others may taste awful, make you sick, or kill you. Use only those wild foods that youíve identified with 100 percent certainty. This is your responsibility, even when you attend an expert's field walk. Furthermore, since anyone may suffer an adverse reaction to any new food, wild or cultivated, eat small portions of any new food at first. Itís the reader's responsibility to identify and use the information in this book sensibly.
Unlike my previous book, this volume doesnít provide the complete information about plant identification that is necessary to forage safely. Use my previous book or other field guides, and identify any wild plant youíre going to eat with complete certainty before you consume it. Always collect at least 50 feet from heavy traffic, wash all plants under running water before you use them, and make sure the plants arenít contaminated with pesticides or herbicides.
I lead wild food and ecology field walks throughout greater New York, and other instructors lead tours throughout the country.
If there is no foraging teacher in your area, it will take time and patience to locate and positively identify your region's wild edibles. Meanwhile, you may purchase identical or similar ingredients in supermarkets, gourmet shops or ethnic stores. You may also substitute alternative ingredients, which I list in the recipes and in the Equivalences Table. The results will differ somewhat, but theyíll still be delicious.