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Food For Free (Collins Gem)

Food For Free (Collins Gem) [Kindle Edition]

Richard Mabey
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (245 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £4.99
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Product Description


‘Thirty years after its initial publication, the forager's bible continues to inspire and enthral.’
Scottish Field

‘Still a classic’
The Financial Times

‘Armed with this guide, this month you could be sampling the simple pleasures of eating a fleshy Hottentot fig straight from a Devon clifftop, making elderflower fritters gathered from the hedgerows, or frying fairy-ring champignons picked off your lawn. With its charming painted illustrations, it is a book to savour in itself.’
Devon Life

Product Description

The ideal portable companion, the world-renowned Collins Gem series returns with a fresh new look and updated material.

This is the perfect pocket guide for aspiring foragers. Over 100 edible plants are listed, fully illustrated and described, together with recipes and other fascinating details on their use throughout the ages.

Practical advice on how to pick along with information on countryside laws and regulations on picking wild plants helps you to plan your foray with a feast in mind.

This is the ideal book for both nature lovers and cooks keen to enjoy what the countryside has to offer.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4766 KB
  • Print Length: 241 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0007183038
  • Publisher: Collins (12 April 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006I1J47U
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (245 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #20,644 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Richard Mabey is a naturalist and award-winning author and journalist. He won wide acclaim on the publication of the original Food for Free in 1972 - which has never been out of print since - and again with the publication of the colour edition in 1989. Among his many other acclaimed publications are Gilbert White (Whitbread Biography of the Year) and the ground-breaking bestseller Flora Britannica, which won the British Book Awards' Illustrated Book of the Year and the Botanical Society of the British Isles' President's Award and was runner-up for the BP Natural World Book Prize. He collaborated with Mark Cocker on Birds Britannica, and his book Nature Cure, described as 'a brilliant, candid and heartfelt memoir', was shortlisted for four prestigious prizes: the Whitbread Biography, the J.R. Ackerley for autobiography, Mind (for its investigation into depression) and the Ondaatje for the evocation of the spirit of place. He is an active member of national and local conservation groups and lives in Norfolk.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
141 of 143 people found the following review helpful
I got this book from my local library but loved it so much that I am going to get my own copy for future reference. After reading this book I went out for a walk and picked some blackberries, elderberries & sloes, which were growing in abundance some 10 minutes from my house! This book opened my eyes to stuff that I usually overlook in the hedgerows and provided me with some useful information about the type of plants, fruits and fungi that are edible (and perhaps not always well known), with recipe ideas too. It encouraged me to venture out into the fresh air and walk in local woodland, along river banks and fields etc. I even found some of the highly recommended Parasol mushrooms! Wonderful book and really, really useful. Worth every penny.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Flying in the face of other reviews 1 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a neat little reference manual...but it does depend heavily on having done alot of independent research (to the point where you wonder why someone who had done the necessary research would need this pocket guide).

My case in point is that I received this pocket guide and immediately went to work in the woods nearby trying to identify local wild herbs/plants that were edible.

I came across what I had previously thought of as an innocuous, useless weed - it seemed to correspond with 'Sweet Cicely' in the book..picture looked good, tied in with the description...looked like I had found easily a common plant that I could make use of.

Now, as stated, I'm not an expert so I went on to double-check (thankfully) and it seems like this plant is easily confused with hemlock (from what I can gather you can tell hemlock from the red speckles on the stalks).

I'd really like to regain confidence in this little pocket manual...please tell me if I'm mistaken about the whole hemlock thing.

I think I will be sticking with dandelion recipes until I get another reference manual which includes 'false friend' warnings about plants & fungi that need to be identified and avoided despite seeming similar to those listed.
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368 of 380 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent pocket sized guide 5 Feb 2006
This is a 2004 version and worthy addition to the very popular and pocket-sized Collins Gem series. ISBN 0-00-718303-8. Food For Free - A Fantastic Feast of Plants and Folklore.
The book starts with an introduction by the author Richard Mabey. It then has short sections titled 'Roots', 'Green Vegetables', 'Herbs', 'Spices', 'Flowers', 'Fruits', 'Making Jellies and Jams' and 'Nuts'. They include general advice, observations and uses. The main section of the book is given over to identification, with at least two pages per entry. An interesting section follows titled ’Picking Rules’ which gives advice on how to pick correctly how to stay safe. The last section before the main body of the book is a summary calendar which groups the picking times for entries into a colour-coded calendar - very useful as a quick reference.
Every entry is accompanied with a drawing. Most of the drawings are excellent, but one or two are a little small and thus less detailed. Fortunately, almost every entry also has a photograph. The combination of colour drawings and colour photographs is what makes this little pocket book a true 'gem'. If the drawing is a little weak, the photo will be excellent and vice-versa. Almost fool proof.
Each entry starts with the common English name (Latin is in small type at the top of the page)a colour illustration and description. Taking Beech (at random), it says: 'Widespread and common throughout the British Isles, especially on chalky soils. A stately deciduous tree, with smooth, grey bark, to 40m (130ft). Leaves: bright green, alternate, oval. Flowers: male drooping, stalked heads; female in pairs. Fruit: four inside a prickly brown husk, Sept-Oct.
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150 of 156 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Handy Pocket Volume 13 Aug 2007
By J. Chippindale TOP 500 REVIEWER
Richard Mabey is the author of several books on flora and fauna so he is well qualified to write a book such as this. Over one hundred edible plants are featured together with recipes and other culinary information. There is also information on how to pick and when to pick and the regulations on picking which are very important. As I come from farming stock I have to say that food for free does not mean going into a field and digging up a few potato plants or for that matter cabbages.

There are plenty of hedgerow plants available for free, if you are prepared to look for them and suffer the odd few scratches. There is nothing better than a bowl of freshly picked blackberries or raspberries, if you can get them home before they are all eaten.

Plants that are edible are fully illustrated and described and the recipes are both old and new. Other fascinating information is how the plants have been used through the ages. An ideal book for all those who are nature lovers and like the idea of something for nothing. I think the last part covers 99.9% of the population.
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131 of 139 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars FOOD FOR FREE BY RICHARD MABEY 15 Sep 2003
By A Customer
A delightful, colourful book that is full of the countryside with amazing recipes of the wild flowers and weeds that have been photographed and inset on every page. He has created a new space for the English seasonal climate and the accompanying display of wild, ornate colourful flowers that have all got there culinary uses, some known like chicory others not so well known like Bladder Wrack Popweed. There are 21 daring recipes for you to try each containing somekind of wild flower or herb. The overall review of this book is that if you are in love with the countryside you will definetely find this book very interesting.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Love this book. So good to have.
Published 2 days ago by marie the
5.0 out of 5 stars Food for free (collins gem)
This is an awesome book, very comprehensive guide well illustrated, full of usefull information facts and photos. Read more
Published 9 days ago by steven quayle
3.0 out of 5 stars Good If Your're Sure Of Your Find
Good, but most of the edibles I will never try because I'm too nervous to eat them in case I've got the wrong species, so probably not my most useful book!
Published 11 days ago by R. Kerr
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very informative
Published 13 days ago by giles francis sullivan
5.0 out of 5 stars Very happy with this book, perfect size and content.
This was another popular book on bug out and camping forums i read. It contains lots of great information on where to find, how to find and when to pick and eat etc. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Mr. R. J. Mizen
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent.............
pocket guide to hedgerow plundering. :-) I have several different books on foraging but this one is the easiest to take with me. Read more
Published 20 days ago by isismoonchild
5.0 out of 5 stars Wild edible
This book is spot on size wise the only thing wrong for me is I think the edibles should have been done in the seasons that there ready & not in plant types , so if it's June you... Read more
Published 1 month ago by smiffy
5.0 out of 5 stars yummy yum!
Great little book with plenty of pictures and information, specially on the comparisons of what NOT to pick and eat eg: hemlock! Read more
Published 1 month ago by Jason papworth
4.0 out of 5 stars Book
this is a good book it could be updated with colour photos instead of the drawings but still very interesting
Published 1 month ago by Pen Name
5.0 out of 5 stars Pocket guide
A great little book, convenient for putting in your pocket when taking a country walk. I thoroughly recommend it. Read more
Published 1 month ago by MR P W SIBLEY
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