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Upcoming Class

I will be teaching the foraging part of this upcoming workshop with Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due. Check it out!

The New School of Traditional Cookery,
Spring Session
: Wild Food

May 25 – 27. Madrono Ranch, Medina, Texas
The month of May, during the transition from Spring to Summer, is an optimal time for obtaining food from our surroundings.  This class teaches the sourcing and utilization skills in three realms of the food world: fish, plant and animal.  For the fishing component, basic skills needed for fishing – with plentiful food fish like sunfish and catfish in mind – will be covered, including tackle selection, location, techniques and presentations of bait and lures, and cleaning and storing your catch.  The methods covered will be applicable to many places in Central Texas and are geared at effective, efficient ways of catching delicious, local, freshwater fish for the table.  The plant section of the class is taught by noted local forager Amy Crowell, and will cover the safe identification of edible plants that occur in our region, as well as storage and cooking.  A foraging walk around the ranch will provide hands-on opportunities for students to gather wild edibles, from greens to blackberries to wild onions.  Basic pickling and canning summer vegetables, a topic that will be very appropriate soon after the class, will also be covered.  The animal component will discuss the curing and preservation of feral hogs, an invasive and delicious food source that is widely available.  Madroño Ranch, a beautiful 1,500 acre property in the heart of the Hill Country, is an ideal location for this class for many reasons: it is managed in a progressive, healthful mindset, it is geographically and topographically distinct (spring-fed creeks crisscross the property) and it is home to a bounty of wildlife.  The class includes:
  • Discussion on fishing techniques, tackle, knots and presentations, as well as hands-on fishing in a lake and spring-fed creek on site.  Proper care of fish, cleaning and filleting are also included.
  • Instruction on foraging wild plants and fruit, and guided walks through the property in search of edibles conducted by Amy Crowell.
  • Instruction on curing and preserving feral hogs.  Dry sausages, pancetta and hams will be discussed.
  • Comfortable lodging for two nights and three days in houses on the Ranch.
  • All meals prepared with local ingredients and served by Dai Due camp chef Morgan Angelone.  Expect bison and eggs from the ranch and lots of wild food, along with Farmers’ Market vegetables.
  • A complete fish, wild plant, summer vegetable preservation, feral hog curing and cooking class with recipe book, sources and suggested reading.
  • A Wild Food Supper Club served at a communal table with the guests, ranch hosts and guides on Saturday evening.
Class runs from 11am Friday to 12pm on Sunday.

 

$950 per person.
To Apply: 

 

Please contact us via email (info@daidueaustin.com) and we will send an application – a brief questionnaire.  Our schools are structured to include an appropriate mix of students from differing backgrounds, so admission is not guaranteed.

 

Scholarships

Spaces at each school will be reserved for scholarship applicants, at a greatly discounted rate so that the curriculum is available to everyone.  To apply for the scholarship seats, please contact us via email and fill out the statement of financial need.

Sow Thistle

(Sonchus oleraceus)

Come find  out how to identify, harvest and eat sow thistles and other wild edibles at my upcoming plant walk on Saturday, February 25th! See the classes page for registration details.

Wild Pies

My latest projects. Or ways to ward off the winter blues.

Sow Thistle Tarts (Sonchus asper)

Wild Blackberry + Apple Hand Pies (Rubus spp. -  wild blackberries from freezer)

Winter Foraging Class

I am seeing so many tasty greens that I am inspired to host a winter foraging class out near Wimberley. Check out my classes page for details. Also, I’m happy to recommend places to stay and eat in Wimberley if you decide to make a day or weekend out of it.

Peppergrass

Lepidium virginicum

I’ve noticed several wild winter/spring greens popping up again after the rains. It’s hard to categorize many wild edibles into a season since they’ll take advantage of almost any hospitable weather event and will sprout, bloom and go to seed. They’re expert survivalists! This peppergrass popped up in our yard recently and is a tasty addition to our salads. Eat the leaves, tender stems and seed pods or silques raw or cooked. Also know as the poor man’s pepper, this plant tastes wonderfully spicy fresh or dried.

Prickly Pear Fruit and Mexican Plums

Photo by: Andy Sams

It’s time to harvest and process the gorgeous magenta-colored fruits of the prickly pear cactus and the hot pink wild plums. Over the years, I’ve noticed a lot of people don’t bother with the prickly pear tunas because it seems like a lot of work. Here’s a little secret: if you’re simply interested in using the fruits to make juice, don’t worry about removing the thorns and glochids before you process them. All you need to do is pick the fruits with tongs, throw them into your bucket or bag, and then dump them, thorns, skins and all, into a big pot on your stove. Add enough water to cover the fruits and bring to a boil. Simmer the fruit for 15 to 25 minutes, and then turn off the heat. Mash the fruit with a potato masher and then pour the mixture through a jelly bag. You’ll have some gorgeous prickly pear juice ready to sweeten (if desired) and use in a variety of dishes. To make things even easier, though possibly a bit more rustic, just toss the fruits into a blender or food processor with some water, pulse for a few seconds, and then pour through a jelly bag. Boiling the fruits before juicing them might help to release a bit more juice, but it isn’t necessary.

One of the easiest ways to use the Mexican plum is by pulping them, and then using the pulp to make breads, muffins, sauces, wines or anything else you can think of out of plum pulp. Simply wash the plums, throw them into a food mill or cone sieve and mash out the pulp. Once you’ve pushed as much of the pulp through as possible, there will still be some pulp stuck to the pits and skin. You can throw it all into a saucepan, add a little water and simmer for several minutes to make plum juice for plum jelly.