Welcome Ontario Today listeners (and everyone else)!
Interested in hunting for your own wild edibles? A field guide is a must to ensure you can properly identify what is safe to eat, and what is poisonous. Here are some suggestions for field guides that will help you find, identify and enjoy wild, foraged foods in Toronto and in Ontario.
First, two great websites for general overviews and photos that can give a sense of what’s out there:
Northern Bushcraft. With sections on: Berries | Plants | Mushrooms.
Ontario Wildflowers – Edible Species.
DANGER: DO NOT rely on photos alone to identify edible plants, edible berries, edible mushrooms, etc.!
Second, some great field guidebooks. These are helpful for making a positive ID as they discuss distinctive features of wild plants, wild berries and wild mushrooms beyond simple photos.
A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants: Eastern and Central North America
Lee Allen and Roger Tory Peterson
A comprehensive, definitive resource for those interested in wild greens.
Mushrooms of Ontario & Eastern Canada
Focuses specifically on Ontario and environs: a great guide to the species found here.
UPDATE: This can be hard to find. Instead try:
Mushrooms of the Northeastern United States and Eastern Canada
Timothy J. Baroni
Comprehensive and authoritative, with great photos and a handy field-ready binding.
Mushrooms of Northeast North America: Midwest to New England
Focusing more on habitats south of the border, this is nevertheless a useful guide.
UPDATE: Also hard to find now, try the one above.
Edible and Medicinal Mushrooms of New England and Eastern Canada
An excellent guide with great explanations of identification.
Masterpiece of North America’s most popular mushroom expert, this reference tome covers a wide range of species found across the continent.
The Edible Wild: A Complete Cookbook and Guide to Edible Wild Plants in Canada and Eastern North America
An older book that does an excellent job of introducing key wild edibles in this region.
Edible Wild Fruits and Nuts of Canada
By one of Canada’s leading ethnobotanists, this field guide is part of a series covering mushrooms, berries and plants. Lots of great nuts in southern Ontario.
All That the Rain Promises and More
A very accessible guidebook for beginners that teaches a lot about the pragmatics of field identification. Focuses on mushrooms of the west, but many overlap with the east. Highly readable and recommended.