- Is it edible? Old wives tales do not work here. Make sure to verify.
- How to prepare it? This is the easiest step. Find a recipe or invent one.
When it comes to books you really do need to invest in at least one field guide on southern wildflowers and one or two books on edible plants . Books will tell you even more about the plant in question and supply you with additional pictures. You can always take a book with you on your foraging adventure.
Almost all plants have some form of flowers and, seeing as you are going to be examining flowers of the southeastern states selecting a book in this category is a great idea. I always carry at least one reference on the trail because this hobby is a never ending learning trip. Two of my favorites are:
Wildflowers of the Southern Mountains by Smith
Field Guide to Eastern Wildflowers from the National Audubon Society
After you have some books to facilitate plant identification, it is helpful to carry around plenty of brown paper lunch sacks. They are readily recyclable and they allow you to separate your specimens for later identification. Too, paper doesn't allow your plants to sweat. And why is this important? A sweating plant wilts; encourages insect eggs to hatch that might be on the leaves; and causes plants to start decomposing which is not very appetizing in the long run. Hence, the brown paper bag routine for collecting.