Synopses & Reviews
From apples and oranges to pawpaws and persimmons.
Half of the fruit that grows in yards and public spaces is never picked or eaten. Citrus trees are burdened with misshapen lemons, berries grow in tangled thickets on the roadside, and the crooked rows of abandoned orchards fill with fallen apples. At the same time, people yearn for an emotional connection that’s lacking in bland grocery store bananas and tasteless melons.
The Fruit Forager’s Companion is a how-to guide with nearly 100 recipes devoted to the secret, sweet bounty just outside our front doors and ripe for the taking, from familiar apples and oranges to lesser-known pawpaws and mayhaws. Sara Bir — a seasoned chef, gardener, and forager — primes readers on foraging basics, demonstrates gathering and preservation techniques, and presents a suite of recipes including habanero crabapple jelly, lime pickle, pawpaw lemon curd, and fermented cranberry relish.
Bir encourages readers to reconnect with nature and believes once the foraging mindset takes control, a new culinary world hiding in plain sight will reveal itself. Written in a witty and welcoming style, The Fruit Forager’s Companion is a must-have for seekers of both flavor and fun.
“Once you notice the wild fruit growing all around you, the world becomes a landscape of culinary abundance, and Sara Bir’s The Fruit Forager’s Companion is a thoughtful guide to appreciating those foraged and gleaned fruits. Filled with Bir’s distinctive humor, the book, like stumbling upon a patch of black raspberries, is also fun! Bir’s respect for ingredients — those berries, apples, and pawpaws you’ve worked hard to pick — ensures the recipes accentuate each fruit’s unique flavor. With Bir’s guidance, your fruit-forward concoctions will be as transformative as the moment you discovered all those wild fruits were edible in the first place.” Andrew Moore, author of Pawpaw: In Search of America’s Forgotten Fruit
“Lyrically written and eminently useful, The Fruit Forager’s Companion is a welcome addition to the library of anyone interested in either preserving their own fruit harvest or seeking out new, exciting flavors that are literally growing on trees — often next door!” Hank Shaw, wild foods expert; author of the James Beard Award-winning website Hunter Angler Gardener Cook
“For fruit lovers the whole world is a culinary theme park; this book is your permanent admission pass. Let Sara Bir guide you to the untamed flavors of wild, feral, and neglected fruits — from back alleys and brushy waysides to city hedges and deep woods. After you find some brand new delicacy right in your own neighborhood, follow one of Sara’s luscious recipes, and invite Mom over for dinner.” Samuel Thayer, author of Incredible Wild Edibles and The Forager’s Harvest
“Sara Bir’s voice is quirky, informed, and fresh. The Fruit Forager’s Companion will push any soul who is interested in foraging into the curious world of fruits, which are every bit as interesting as the vegetable members of the plant world. I just hope that she refrains from lifting my quince should she ever walk down our lane — I adore them, too! Which is to say that you want someone with passion and appetite to lead you on a foraging quest, and Sara Bir has plenty of both.” Deborah Madison, author of Vegetable Literacy and In My Kitchen
About the Author
Sara Bir is a chef and a writer. A graduate of The Culinary Institute of America, she creates recipes that draw on her professional skill set, yet are realistic for home cooks. Bir has worked as a chocolate factory tour guide, sausage-cart lackey, food editor, recipe tester, restaurant critic, librarian, and arts and entertainment reporter. In her spare time, she enjoys walking around and looking at plants. Bir’s writing has been featured in Saveur, Edible Ohio Valley, Best Food Writing 2014, two Full Grown People anthologies, and on the websites Serious Eats, Lucky Peach, and Paste Magazine. She lives in Ohio.