The Weed Forager’s Handbook – A guide to Edible and Medicinal Weeds in Australia

Eat the problem!

Lara Winsor
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The Weed Forager’s Handbook - A guide to Edible and Medicinal weeds in Australia  by A Grubb & A Raser-Rowlan

The Weed Forager’s Handbook - A guide to Edible and Medicinal weeds in Australia


For such a small unassuming book, The Weed Forager's Handbook is packed full of information and advice, and challenges our assumptions about weeds and their role in Australian culture.

As Costa Georgiadis says in his foreword citing his Greek heritage “Every footpath, park or highway was not seen as some sort of grass maintenance nightmare. No no. It was seen as a one big free wild salad bowl.”

It’s also a great way to approach this handbook, allow it to open your eyes and pre-conceptions about what weeds are (or aren’t) and take a walk on the wild side..

The book is beautifully laid out – addressing not only concerns of identification and uses – but gives a brief and interesting account of the plant’s identity in history, its nutritional composition, where to look for it and how and when to best harvest and prepare it.

Replete with photos and illustrations, it allows the novice to become quite confident in correctly identifying each of the twenty most common edible weeds, which are described in detail. There are some additional thirteen weeds mentioned in a shorter chapter which offers the enthusiast a springboard into more adventurous foraging. Overall, there are over 40 species included, spread across the whole of Australia.

The comprehensive reference section lists books and websites for further reading about weeds in the context of cultures, medicine, foraging, garden and eco-systems.

A chapter devoted to recipes gives plenty of ideas to turn your free freshly-sourced harvest into culinary delights. The writers encourage integration of weeds into conventional everyday dishes rather than creating exotic experiments.

Interestingly, many of these so-called weeds have long been staples of the local populations in their countries of origin. Most are introduced to Australia, but several are natives which have become weeds in other regions of the country.

A commendable addition is a small chapter on using weeds to improve the soil in your garden to activate and sustain living soil. Again it challenges convention in seeing weeds not as a being out of place but as a productive useful part of life.

As a keen gardener and advocate for sustainable living I found this book to be a treasure trove of information, knowledge and ideas. Its durable cover, pocket size, excellent guidelines, clear photos and identification pointers have made it an essential companion as I now take a very different perspective on the world of weeds.

The Weed Forager’s Handbook – A guide to Edible and Medicinal Weeds in Australia by Adam Grubb and Annie Raser-Rowland is published by Hyland House (Melbourne, Vic; sc, 166 pp) and retails in Australia for RRP A$21.95. The first edition was an immediate sell-out and has been reprinted. 

The Weed Forager’s Handbook can be purchased online via here »




  • Melbourne (VIC)

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April 25th, 2013
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