Popping back in to warn people: There has been a surge of AI-generated books appearing on Amazon. For most subjects it just scammy, but these crummy people are also putting up fake foraging books. Depending on what sort of information the AI finds, these could actually hurt people
This appears to be one - It only appeared this summer, the title is wonky, all of the images look photoshopped or AI-generated, the reviews seem to be mostly fake reviews, and googling the author doesn’t return information outside of the amazon link.
If you’re interesting in purchasing foraging books, please confirm with another source that you’re actually buying a real foraging guide, or better yet, buy from an independent bookstore. Be safe out there guys.
Double warning. Goodreads lists the author of this book as “Nick Forest”. The ‘About the Author’ section provides no information. Avoid this book!
Edited to add: This Amazon page lists the author as Jim Kennedy. https://www.amazon.com/stores/Jim-Kennedy/author/B0034OZ4JG
That particular book is clearly ripping off The Forager’s Harvest by Samuel Thayer
I suspect you are right. The reviews of other ‘Jim Kennedy’ books warn that instructions seem to be all over the place or not in order. Someone is obviously running a scam here.
Thanks for the warning. As skeptical as I am it never occurred to me that someone create fake books.
Its recently come to people’s attention that this has happening; its not just with foraging books, its across multiple genres - I even heard of an author that had someone putting up fake books and attributing it to her name. Its a whole mess.
The foraging ones just strike me as particularly dangerous, if the AI decides to, say, try to ID something carrot-adjacent and messes up the description. Thats how you get people thinking Poison Hemlock is QAL or another edible plant in Apiaceae and ending up a statistic
Edit: article https://www.axios.com/2023/08/16/ai-book-publishing-fake-amazon
Realistically probably beyond the scope of these forums or this thread; best thing to do if anyone comes across them is probably just to report them and hope amazon gets enough reports that they do something about it.
Oh jeez, I didn’t know they could do that!
Now this is my kind of topic! I forage for different things depending on the time of year. In spring (late May in Connecticut) black locust blossoms are out in full force and taste/smell amazing. Very similar to a sweet pea in flavor. Summer comes and there are blueberries and huckleberries to gather. By mid August the black cherries start to ripen. They’re small with a large pit, and I wouldn’t put them up against a store bought variety, but for a native edible they’re decent. With a lot of prep work, some sugar and pectin, they make an acceptable jelly. Right around now the hickory nuts start to fall, so any recipe calling for pecans can be substituted for hickory nuts. All species of hickory are edible, but I stay away from bitternut and prefer shagbark. Mockernut and pignut will suffice too. No shellbark in my area that I’m aware of but I don’t see why you couldn’t use that variety. Later in September black walnuts drop and in my opinion taste a lot better (richer anyway) than the English walnuts you’ll find in stores. It doesn’t matter if the husk is completely black and full of worms. The nut meat itself is protected inside the actual nut. Wear gloves when processing unless you want stained hands for days! Ask me how I know… Also in September, sometimes early, mid or late depending on the type and location, the wild grapes ripen up. I’ll usually pick a bunch with the kids, then make a few jars of jelly to enjoy throughout the year. I’d like to try Autumn olives this year too (I’d much rather get them than the birds who will spread them out in the landscape)
Now this is kind of a taboo one: Pokeweed. Native Americans used different parts of the plant for generations and taught the European settlers how to do the same. “Poke salat” has been an Appalachian staple for centuries, although boiling those leaves multiple times for hours on end doesn’t sound like a fun time to me. However, the plant is also medicinal. I’ve been using it to treat my arthritis, specifically the berries. I’m not advocating for anyone to do this, but speaking from experience I’ve consumed them in moderation (not the seeds) No ill-effects, and it does seem to help with the arthritis.
I got into nature foraging as a young teen. Many of the tips so far here I’ve tried and for the most part enjoyed. Brought back a lot of memories.
And so did something I came across a couple of days ago. A ripened mayapple! It’s been at least 40 years since I last ate one.
The trickiest thing with these is beating the local animal life to anything harvestable!
This one was perfectly ripe. Sweet, gelatinous, with a bit of a lemony undertone. And full of seeds too, of course. But in a very large cluster of plants, it was the sole survivor.
And a great memory side trip!
That seems to be the trickiest thing for muscadine grapes in North Carolina, too. It amazes me how many of what look like grapes fallen on the ground turn out to be just hollowed-out grape skins.
Here’s one I haven’t tried for decades but my memory was that it was quite delicious: green cattail pods. Dead easy to find and harvest.
Drop them in the boil pot for a few minutes (leave a little stem for grips), drain, salt and butter. Mmm!
Ah! I have never tried this. Thanks. The last time I found some giants was at a local park about 4 years ago. I was in a wooded area with lots of oaks and I spotted what I thought was a volleyball, or something. Then a whole bunch! I soon realized that somebody or somebody’s dog, had discovered about 8 of them and had been rolling them around on the grass for fun, I guess. Anyhow, they were all in excellent shape so I took off my sweater, tied up the neck and filled it with puffballs to take home.
I ended up cutting them into pieces and freezing them because I didn’t know what else to do with them. On their own, they don’t have a lot of flavour depth but I will definitely head to my dehydrator for the next time I come across some. Thanks!
Did someone say mushrooms? What time is supper?
Now, we, on the other hand, have an absolutely bumper crop of Chenopodium. Not sure if it’s album or berlandieri, but either way, it’s edible. Freeze a batch for future use, but I’m also planning a batch of spanikopita.
This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.