A Guide to Wild Edibles and Herbs by Sonja Greimel

Author and Jack Wolfskin PR Manager Sonja Greimel was born in Munich. As a child, she spent most of her time outdoors, whether wandering around the gravel pit, by the water, in the nearby forest, or on her aunt’s bustling farm. To this day, she is a keen adventurer and enjoys nothing better than spending her time in the open air. This gave rise to the idea for her inspirational book Raus in die Botanik (Get out and into Botany – A guide to wild herbs) – a multi-purpose contribution to the wild plant genre that includes advice on identifying plants, recipes, and DIY ideas for cosmetics and household needs.

Wild delicacies by the wayside

As a trained herbalist, Sonja Greimel knows exactly what she is talking about when she points out in her writings, or her workshops the variety and often astonishing potential uses of wild herbs that grow in Germany.

“In training to become herbalists, we are taught in a very practical way how to recognize different species, as well as the biological and botanical fundamentals of herbal knowledge.”

One of the main inspirations for her career path was provided by her family. Her aunt ran a small farm and had an incredible knowledge of nature and how to treat it with care and respect.

field with eddible plants and flowers

Curious and thirsty for knowledge, Sonja Greimel successfully completed training as an herbalist in 2011. This comprehensive expertise on local plants is now highlighted in her recently published book Raus in die Botanik and her herb walks and workshops. On these herb walks through forests and meadows, participants can discover those plants which lay hidden by the wayside and how and learn how to best use them. Find an in-depth look at the various workshops here.

“While on our herb walks, we find ourselves with all of our senses in the here and now. Through the senses of touch, sight, taste, and smell, we immerse ourselves in the magical world of plants, savoring the fresh air and beautiful surroundings.”

A book for plant lovers

There are already many books on wild herbs, yet none of them combine the straightforward identification of wild herbs, their use, traditional herbal medicine, and background information, quite like Sonja Greimel’s Raus in die Botanik. In just 192 pages, she conveys concentrated know-how and presents nature’s marvels with a modern touch.

By virtue of the book’s appealing photos of wild plants, readers can recognize at a glance which characteristics are important in identifying a plant and decide which portions of the plant are suitable for further use. Also, the book offers delicious recipes and fun DIY projects. It is a humorous and entertaining companion for the next adventure in the great outdoors.

scetches of eddible flowers
© Hans Herbig photography/Südwest Verlag

Even specialists will get their money’s worth, as the book provides fascinating supplemental information and lovingly rendered, meticulous illustrations by Sonja’s talented friend Doffa, which pay homage to the beauty and wonder of the captivating world of botany.

The ABC of identifying plants

The variety of herbs (and weeds) is enormous. Of the 12,000 plants that grow in Europe, some 1500 are edible. Sonja Greimel has specifically selected 50 plants that grow right on her doorstep, are easy to recognize and can be prepared without great difficulty.

“These 50 plants open up a rich treasure trove of new possibilities for your own kitchen and medicine cabinet – and they are completely regional and seasonal.”

For those who haven’t had much experience in identifying plants, the easiest way to get started is by identifying their flowers. That’s why the first chapter of the book, Identifying Plants – Simple and Helpful Rules, is divided into sections devoted to white, red, yellow, and blue flowers or fruit. Of course, color alone is insufficient to determine if a wild plant is edible or not. Sonja Greimel takes readers by the hand and leads them step-by-step to a safe decision.

picture of the German book Raus in die Botanik
© Hans Herbig photography/Südwest Verlag

Delicious recipes for every taste

Raus in die Botanik contains twenty delicious recipes that will help you to prepare the collected wild herbs into delicious meals easily. The recipes offer something for every taste – and that includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert. Vegans and vegetarians can leave out specific ingredients or simply replace them with something else. Wild plants and herbs offer new and perhaps somewhat unfamiliar aromas. Readers have the opportunity to discover for themselves which plants and recipes suit them best and can further customize them to taste.

Few, however, can resist an herbal spritzer made from goutweed, ground ivy, mint, and balm or a fresh dandelion salad.

Sonja Greimel's self reliance book of edible plants in nature
Raus in die Botanik
Das Wildpflanzen-Handbuch:Einfache Bestimmung, gesunde Rezepte und heilkundliches Wissen
Paperback, Klappenbroschur, 192 Pages, 17,0 x 24,0 cm
ca. 175 color photos
ISBN: 978-3-517-09974-3
€ 20,00 [D] | € 20,60 [A] | CHF 28,90*
Verlag: Südwest

Careful discovery

Taking a wild herb walk is a fantastic activity, yet nature should also be treated with care and protected in the process. For this reason, the book includes a checklist with valuable tips. Herb gatherers should be sensitized to protect the environment and be encouraged not to leave behind their footprint while on discovery tours.

“The more attentive we are on our way, the more plants we will encounter right in front of our own door.”

To make the next hike with the book Raus in die Botanik even more interactive, she recommends taking along a recyclable trash bag to collect and remove any garbage that one finds during the excursion.

Many delicious plants brimming with flavor and healing power can be found growing right on your doorstep. Thanks to Raus in die Botanik, we can now easily identify them and discover a rich treasure trove for own kitchen and medicine cabinet.

author and herbalist Sonja Greimel standing in the woods

Author and herbalist Sonja Greimel offers guided herb walks for the German Alpine Club as well as various workshops. Since 2015 she has been working for Jack Wolfskin in different positions and currently as a freelance Creative and PR consultant.

© Hans Herbig photography/Südwest Verlag

One of her favorite products is the RE WASTY which she uses either as a small pack or as a reusable trash bag on her many adventures such as herb excursions, canoe tours, climbing trips, and splitboard rides. Sonja loves to wear the EXOLIGHT PRO jacket when hiking in the mountains. “The fabric is super breathable, waterproof, and comfortable to wear.”