Jacket Image

Enlarge Image

197 × 120 × 15 mm
176 pages
63 illustrations, 49 in colour
16 Apr 2018

Berries A Global History Heather Arndt Anderson

Berries are enmeshed with human history. Widely available in nature, they have been part of the human diet for millennia, and today they inspire everything from lip-gloss flavours to amusement parks. However diminutive their size, berries are of such significance to Northern and Eastern Europeans that picking them in the wild is ‘everyman’s right’, interwoven with their cultural identity, but some berries can be deadly.

In Berries: A Global History, Heather Arndt Anderson relates the story of how humans came to love these tiny, bewildering fruits. Readers meet the inventor of thornless brambles, learn ancient fables and berry-lore, and discover berries’ use in poisonous witches’ brews and modern superfood health crazes. Featuring a selection of historic and original recipes for berry-lovers to try, this is a witty and lushly illustrated ramble through the curious history of our favourite fruits, which will appeal to food lovers and social historians alike.

‘This work is part of the outstanding "Edible" series by Reaktion Books. This series attempts to integrate horticultural and botanical literature within a social and cultural context. Books are written in an accessible, engaging style, and incorporate many high quality images. This volume by Anderson, a botanist and culinary historian, approaches berries using the popular meaning rather than the botanical definition. Photographs and illustrations depict a wide range of berries from all over the world, commercial products made from berries, and berries in art. Recommended.’ — Choice

‘I have spent many warm, autumn afternoons, picking plump blackberries from field hedgerows . . . Berries documents such traditions, along with intriguing botany, berry-lore, and the berry’s place in international medicinal and culinary history . . . Anderson covers the huge topic amazingly well, keeping the discussion engaging and entertaining throughout . . . These stories, as well as the folk tales and mythology, make for a fascinating read . . . I have a new appreciation for these jewel-like fruits.’ — Gardens Illustrated

‘There is much to learn about berries in this short book, with chapters covering their cultivation, culinary uses (from pies, preserves, cakes and desserts to juices and alcoholic drinks), and their historical role as both poison and panacea . . . Concise and attractively illustrated, Berries makes a tasty snack.’ — Oxveg News

Show all

Heather Arndt Anderson is a food writer, culinary historian and botanist based in Portland, Oregon. She is the author of Chillies: A Global History (Reaktion, 2016), Breakfast: A History (2013) and Portland: A Food Biography (2014).


1 Botany
2 Berry-lore
3 Picking and Growing
4 Dishes and Drinks
5 Poison and Panacea

Appendix: Botanical Descriptions
Websites and Associations
Photo Acknowledgements