I LOVE BOOKS! they are my friends, I love cross referencing them, spreading them out and getting to know them over a cup of tea and armed with a decent pen.
I am always recommending books and lending them out so reviewing them seemed like the next natural step. With this in mind, I knew which book I was going to start with.
This book is an absolute tome for any forager I actually have two copies one I take out with me which is a bit tatty and has evidence of its use in the kitchen and one I try to keep safe from my loving splashes and spillages.
The Hedgerow Handbook is comprehensive and well thought out. The illustrations are not only beautiful but also detailed botanical drawings giving a plethora of information to help you positively identify native edibles.
It is laid out in alphabetical order (very helpful). Each description contains identifying information such as height, scent, taste and where to look as well as interesting histories, folk names a bit of folklore too e.g “it was once believed that Borage made you brave; the Celtic word ‘borrach’ meaning courage, could be the origin of the name. Warriors were given drinks containing borage flowers before they went into battle.”
Adele’s style of writing is informative but friendly and digestable. Although she didn’t design the book for its medicinal applications she does include basic medicinal uses with references where appropriate so you can follow up with your own research easily.
The recipes included feel like old family favourites being passed along as well as some more unusual but interesting historical ones. For example Pickled Ash Keys which I found fun to try but I soon became aware as to why the recipe hadn’t remained popular (not all that palatable)
She has also written a similar book especially for children simply called ‘foraging with kids’ which my witchling has and adores. You can read her review below.
Adele Nozedar lives in the Brecon Beacons. She runs courses and workshops on foraging as well as writing fabulously informative books. She was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.
Adele began working in the E-music industry which required her to move, from here she was able to experiment with foraging and cooking with foraged foods:
I started cooking using wild plants when I moved to Wales in 1994. I had a captive audience for the recipes in the clients that came to the recording studio we’d built – I was in e music business for a long time (first as a musician and then we started a record label). Then I got intensely fascinated with birds, ended up writing a book about them. My focus was about how and why humans have always seen birds as symbols of divine or magical entities, and I was particularly interested in augury – not as a tool for myself, but as an aspect of human beings needing to have a neutral agent help them make decisions. Because of this book, my life took an unexpected turn. I realised I could write about all the things I as interested in, hence eventually The Hedgerow Handbook was written, published and became a best seller. The book which you found, Foraging with Kids, was an extrapolation of that. Since the publication of The Hedgerow Handbook, people started asking me to take them for walks to help them identify species etc. I started to get more and more families coming along and, at the same time, more and more people were speaking about feeling disconnected from the natural world….The idea hit me like a bolt from the blue that, given the planet is in trouble, the people who are going to be a major part of fixing it are children like your little witchling. Unless these kids grow up learning to love this planet and all the beings that we share it with, unless they have a genuine relationship with it, then we have a problem. That book was my way of making the natural world as accessible as possible for parents and kids. There are even free activity packs available via my website so that no-one misses out!
Foraging with kids
I have a wee little witchling, like a goddaughter without the god. A while ago while we were talking I was teaching her about ‘potions’ and herbs. I wanted her to feel empowered to explore intention and know that she has the power to manifest her dreams. She really took it on board and has even planted her own herb garden. Then the synchronisities started. I was in my favourite bookshop and there it was. A kids version of my favourite book! I gifted it to BB and she made her first meal from it that day and fed her family! I asked her for her own review so here it is.
My name is bianca and I am 8 and a half years old. I love reading, foraging and cooking. This book I adore because it’s got all of those things. My favourite recipe is the cream of nettle soup with roasted garlic. It reminds me and family of leek and potato soup, it was so delicious. I love it. Its my favourite recipe. My second favourite was the cleavers omelette it was one of the best omlettes I’ve ever had and I’m sure that every other recipe is brilliant. I LOVE YOUR BOOK!
As you can see it really sparked her interest and gave her autonomy and power over her own learning. She also included her notes on foxgloves for me to add.
To follow The Hedgerow Handbook; there is ‘The Garden Forager’which is equally as awesome and useful.
Another book I haven’t got yet but I’m really excited about is The Signs and Symbols Source Book; it looks more like an encyclopedia.
You can find out more about Adele’s courses in the Brecon Beacons and follow her social media via the links below:
As always i’d love to hear your feedback. Do you have a favourite source book? are there any books you’d like me to look at and review? let me know in the comments below.
Peace Out Witches!