Pacific Northwest Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Alaska Blueberries to Wild Hazelnuts

Pacific Northwest Foraging: 120 Wild and Flavorful Edibles from Alaska Blueberries to Wild Hazelnuts

by Douglas Deur


$22.46 $24.95 Save 10% Current price is $22.46, Original price is $24.95. You Save 10%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Friday, February 28
6 New & Used Starting at $12.53


“Doug Deur invites us to discover the taste and history of the Northwest.” —Spencer B. Beebe, author of Cache and founder of Ecotrust

The Pacific Northwest offers a veritable feast for foragers, and with Douglas Deur as your trusted guide you will learn how to safely find and identify an abundance of delicious wild plants. The plant profiles in Pacific Northwest Foraging include clear, color photographs, identification tips, guidance on how to ethically harvest, and suggestions for eating and preserving. A handy seasonal planner details which plants are available during every season. Thorough, comprehensive, and safe, this is a must-have for foragers in Oregon, Washington, and Alaska.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781604693522
Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 06/03/2014
Pages: 292
Sales rank: 335,426
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Douglas Deur has been gathering native plants his whole life. He serves as a cultural ecologist for Native peoples of the western United States and Canada, documenting enduring plant use practices as well as the rituals, values, and technologies that have shaped traditional resource harvests and traditional understandings of the land. He is an associate research professor in the department of anthropology at Portland State University. He has also served as a senior research scientist in the Pacific Northwest Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit in the University of Washington’s School of Environmental and Forest Sciences and as an adjunct professor of environmental studies at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. Much of his research is supported by the U.S. National Park Service and is used in the peaceful resolution of land-use disputes, as well as in land-use planning that serves to protect and restore culturally significant natural resources. Doug’s writings have appeared in books, academic journals, and alternative newspapers. With Nancy Turner, he coedited Keeping It Living: Traditions of Plant Use and Cultivation on the Northwest Coast of North America, the first book-length treatment of Native American plant cultivation traditions in the Pacific Northwest.

Read an Excerpt

Growing up between Portland’s exurban fringe and Oregon’s wind-beaten north coast, I experienced a childhood that played out alongside the deep green backdrop of Northwestern native plants. My earliest memories involve crawling through patches of wild strawberries that my mother had transplanted and tended into a robust backyard groundcover. When, as a toddler, I needed to nap but resisted, my mother walked me through the Douglas-fir and cedar forest behind our home, asking me to identify each plant by name until fatigue set in and I drifted off to sleep, with visions of Oregon grape and wild lilies dancing in my head. We cut trails into the blackberry thicket tangles in summertime to find the biggest and juiciest berries. We scaled mountains, where we gathered wild onions and ate handfuls of huckleberries as we watched ravens and red-tailed hawks ride the thermals below. Academic confirmation of these landscape lessons came from unique venues: special wild food programs sponsored by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and other regional organizations, taught by retired professors and earnest hippy biologists. Cumulatively, these experiences were the cornerstones of my early education and gave me insights that I still draw from as a professor and researcher today. I sincerely hope that future generations of children will be so fortunate as to experience this kind of hands-on learning upon the land and, through that process, gain a profound love and understanding of this verdant home of ours. If this book helps a parent usher even one child along a similar journey, I will consider the entire writing project a great success.
As I entered adulthood, though, I was disappointed to learn that the landscapes and plants that I valued so much were seen as an anonymous tangle to many Northwesterners, just so much green noise scarcely noticed as they motored past or bulldozed through. I increasingly sensed the nagging truth behind Lewis Mumford’s admonition that our national flower had become “the concrete cloverleaf” of the highway interchange, even here in the Pacific Northwest. Perhaps it is the fact that we Americans mostly descend from immigrant peoples, with relatively shallow histories in this far-flung corner of the continent. Perhaps it is the fact that we are largely children of an urbanized, industrial age, which has undervalued those resources that are local, wild, and free in exchange for those that are universal, interchangeable, and revenue-producing. Whatever the reason, I have long felt that there was a need to address our chronic dissociation from the landscape. A deeper appreciation of useful plants might help us to see that landscape anew and with greater interest and investment. Certainly, edible plants are all around us, a rich source of food, beauty, entertainment, enlightenment, and many other pleasures, if only we pay attention. Ironically, we are all inheritors of a great prosperity of which most of us know very little.

Well-intentioned people have sometimes called out in alarm when they have seen my children eat even the most common edible berries, astonished, grasping for their cell phones, unsure if they should first call a poison control center or child protective services. I appreciate their concern. Fortunately, the times are changing, and people are tentatively reconnecting to plants and places in myriad ways, with welcome energy and experimentation. Workshops, field trips, blogs, and any number of other venues are emerging, celebrating native foods as a solution to many of the economic, nutritional, and ecological challenges of the age. Perhaps, in time, those well-intentioned people with the cell phones and the angst will put down their phones, pick up a berry bucket, and harvest merrily alongside my kids. We will all be better for it.
In my quest to understand these matters, I had the opportunity to work with some of the best teachers available, both in the world of academia and among the Northwest’s Native American cultural leaders. I worked with outstanding biogeographers and ethnobotanists in universities in Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and beyond, seeking an understanding of the natural history of the Northwest and the consequences of human activities on regional ecologies. I was also able to work with many great Native teachers—Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl), Tlingit, Coast Salish, Klamath, and many others—seeking to comprehend and help document their exceedingly rich repertoire of cultural knowledge related to plants. In time, I was adopted by more than one tribe, but most relevant here by the Kawakadillika clan of the Kwakwaka’wakw. Their chief, Kwaxistalla Adam Dick, has instructed me over the years with a mixture of chiefly generosity and paternal patience. Sequestered from the non-Native world as a child, Adam received from the elders of his day unique and focused training in all aspects of traditional resource management, from the mechanics of plant harvesting to the philosophical foundations of plant cultivation and associated rituals. These elders gave him this training, motivated by prophecies that through such an urgent educational undertaking they might ensure that their cultural knowledge survived into the modern day. I consider myself an enormously fortunate beneficiary of their efforts. So, too, readers of this book are beneficiaries, indirectly, of the labors of these elders hailing from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. In this book, I have had to strike a balance, presenting what is common knowledge among traditional harvesters, while steering clear of the medicines, ceremonial uses, and other highly sensitive and proprietary forms of knowledge. There are no state secrets contained herein, but the content and perspectives of this book clearly bear the imprint of my own teachings from this rich and venerable tradition.

It is to my teachers and their teachers before them that I dedicate this book. For this reason, a specific portion of my proceeds from this book will be used to help support programs in the region with Native oversight that document traditional ecological knowledge and ensure its perpetuation for the benefit of future generations through educational programs for young people, both Native and non-Native. It is my hope that, through such efforts, we will continue to learn from the intimate relationships that human communities have maintained with Northwestern environments over the millennia, and this knowledge may yet inform modern people as we seek to make a sustainable home here in the Pacific Northwest, for the long haul.
The gathering of wild plant foods is a small business in a way—the plucking of a few trailside berries here and there as you pass by—but it is also part of something much bigger, the greater sweep of history and the fate of the region’s ecosystems. Either way, it is clear that we are in this together, from the tribal elders carrying forward ancient wisdom to the young foodies and bloggers whose experimentation adds spicy new ingredients to the mix. You can approach wild food gathering from whichever perspective you wish. Whatever your motivations, you are enthusiastically invited. Happy harvesting!

Table of Contents

Preface 8

Edible Plants of the Pacific Northwest: An Invitation 12

Wild Edibles Season by Season 36

Wild Edible Plants of the Pacific Northwest 41

balsamroot 42

big leaf maple 44

biscuitroot 47

black hawthorn 49

black huckleberry 51

black lichen 53

bog cranberry and lingonberry 55

bog huckleberry 57

bracken fern 59

bunchberry 62

burdock 64

camas 66

cattail 69

chickweed 72

chicory 74

chinquapin 76

chokecherry 78

coastal black currant 81

Coltsfoot 84

common plantain 86

cow parsnip 88

crabapple 90

dandelion 92

devil's club 94

dock 97

eelgrass 99

elderberry 101

evergreen huckleberry 104

fireweed 107

goosefoot 109

goosegrass 111

hazelnut 113

high-bush cranberry 115

Himalayan blackberry 117

horsetail 121

Indian plum 124

juniper 126

kinnikinnick 128

knotweed 130

lady fern 132

lamb's quarters 134

licorice fern 136

monkeyflower 138

mountain ash 140

nodding onion 142

oak 144

Oregon grape 147

oval-loafed blueberry and Alaska blueberry 149

oxalis 151

Pacific waterleaf 153

pickleweed 156

pine 158

pipsissewa 164

prickly currant 166

red currant 168

red huckleberry 170

salal 172

salmonberry 175

seaside arrowgrass 178

seaweed 180

serviceberry 184

sheep sorrel 186

shepherd's purse 188

Siberian miner's lettuce 190

silverweed 193

Sitka spruce 195

skunk cabbage 199

soapberry 201

spiny wood fern 203

springbank clover 205

sticky gooseberry 207

stinging nettle 209

stink currant 212

stonecrop 214

sword fern 216

tarweed 218

thimbleberry 220

thistle 223

trailing wild blackberry 225

trapper's tea and Labrador tea 227

tule 229

violet 231

wapato 233

watercress 236

wild chamomile 238

wild ginger 240

wild lily 241

wild lily-of-the-valley 246

wild mint 249

wild raspberry 251

wild rose 255

wild strawberry 259

yampah 262

yarrow 265

yellow pond-lily 268

yerba buena 270

Metric Conversions 273

Recommendations for Further Reading 274

Acknowledgments 277

Photography Credits 278

Index 279

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews