The Cottage Smallholder

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Hedgerow by John Wright – River Cottage Handbook No.7: review


Photo: Hedgerow by John Wright

Photo: Hedgerow by John Wright

I recently received a copy of Hedgerow (River Cottage Handbook) by John Wright and I’m delighted with it. I’m a big fan of Richard Mabey’s Food For Free – I have the gem edition which can be carried easily in a pocket. Hedgerow would need a chunkier pocket but it will accompany me on foraging trips as it has photographs -making identification far easier than drawings. This is the book that I’ve been impatiently waiting for and now it’s finally in my hands.

The book is called Hedgerow but actually covers plants, flowers and fruit that can be found in a lot more places. Such as parks, allotments and the boundaries of fields. I have even identified several species that are growing in our garden. Until now I had though of them as just weeds –  Hairy Bittercress omelette anyone?

This is a cracker of a book. It includes charts – for a quick appraisal of what can be found at specific times of year. The plant identification section is split into two – edible and poisonous. It covers all that the serious forager needs to know – from where to find the plants to the taste and possible uses. It points to plants that look similar but need to be identified correctly if you are not to poison yourself and your guests.

The book is well written with a light, witty, conversational touch. Even the section dealing with legal rights was fun to read. The recipes at the end look inspired and inventive.

Once again the River Cottage Handbooks  have come up trumps and published a real winner. I already have Pam Corbin’s first preserving book – excellent – and I’d love to invest in the lot.

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  1. canalbabe

    I’m after this little gem too. have already got Richard Mabey’s Food For Free which is also fab. Think I’ll add this one to my Crimbo list!

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Canalbabe

      Yes. Put it top of the list – like all the RC books it is a great investment.

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