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Unique class shows how to gather food in wild

August 25, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
If you're a city slicker, there's a new class designed to help you work on your outdoor skills.

The classroom is out in the wild, and you'll get a good meal too. You'll learn how to pick wild plants and herbs and then prepare them into a fresh, gourmet meal.

I took a quick course with the team from Urban Outdoor Skills and discovered all that nature has to offer.

You can learn how to make beer with wild mugwort or sweet wine from freshly-picked elderberries.

Pascual Bauder leads the group classes with a casual 60-to-90-minute walk, identifying native, edible plants that grow in the great outdoors.

Bauder also takes great care to point out all of the harmful living things as well, such as black nightshade and poison oak.

Classes follow the bounty by seasons. This day we uncovered flowering mustard that tastes like broccoli, wild passion fruit just hanging around, and bright green leaves, such as curly dock and lambsquarter that can be consumed.

"You get wild spinach everywhere," said Bauder. "This is like the wild food market. You get food everywhere."

Back at the meeting point, everyone is encouraged to help prepare some inspiring goodies.

"We prepare a gourmet spread using ingredients they just found out there," said Mia Wasielvich. "It's delicious. It's good for you. A lot of the things we make are vegetarian."

Wild spinach is the main ingredient in the soup with bread pudding and goat cheese. Curly dock leaves were used in the fresh salsa and vegetarian sushi. Freshly-picked wild radishes and acorns complement the crunchy salad, and ripe elderberries provided sweet jam and pies.

"It's a little something for everyone when they come here," said Wasielvich.


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