Oyster Ms and baby Chantys

17 Jul

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I was a bit surprised to see these spring Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus populinus) in such good shape as usually this mushroom is eaten up very quickly by a type of small beetle when growing in spring and early summer on our poplar trees here in eastern Canada. These ones had no trace of beetles, a few weeks ago the beetles were chewing the tiniest oyster mushroom it seems even before they appeared, possible the warm days leading into the recent rains has encouraged a vacation somewhere else.

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This particular variety of oyster mushroom has a very nice aroma which fades away in a few hours after gathering.

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It has rained a good amount lately and these small brightly colored baby Chanterelle mushrooms are popping up in great numbers in mixed and conifer woods.

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These small mushrooms tend to remain in a firm edible state on the ground for a much longer period of time than most of the choice edible mushrooms I gather so I feel no urgency to gather these at this point. If no further rain was to appear for a week to 10 days these little ones would dry out and not recover to expand out, though a new bunch may grow in the same area with future summer and fall rains especially if they continue for  a few days. Small Chanterelle are often consider the best to eat though these ones to me need at least one more rain.

These oldies are new to me

8 Jul

I haven’t posted in quite awhile so here are a few photos to show what has caught my attention recently. This year I am learning a bit about the ancient edible grasses and sedges which were commonly eaten before time was even created by man (he he), along also with other wild foods all new to me, so I can’t recommend anything I show here today as I am still in the process of growing comfortable with these foods. I am also having some fun with fermenting, especially with sour tonic beverages and should do some post on these in coming months.

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Here in my hand is a very common small bulrush in my area known as Scirpus microcarpus which will be easy gathering if its taste is to my liking, I’m interested in the interior stem bases cooked and seeds and possibly the sprouted seeds and flowers.

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Scirpus microcarpus flowers in June.

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Notice the red sections on the stems which makes this small bulrush S. microcarpus easy to identify from the many others in wet areas, this one will venture up on to drier areas like the edges of roads which is not a good gathering location, but it may make it a good plant to grow in marginal soils or in a soggy garden?

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Another fresh water marsh plant which is considered invasive in some parts on NA , Phragmites australis aka the Common Reed which is the largest grass in my area towering many feet above my head, here we see some young green shoots. This is a very useful plant with a 5 (which is the highest) edible rating at the PFAF website, check it out.

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The section at the top of the stem where the slight gold coloring is showing is what I’m after here, this is the male flowering section of the Cattail which is a good source of vitamin C and possibly antioxidants so I will tinker with drying some to use later on. It is a little tricky to harvest these and also select the right time as I’m a little late to start collecting for most of the Catttails in my area, I’ll be better prepared next year. Here is a link to a great video on harvesting this plant by Arthur Haines  –   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0XBlPROtz8

 chow for now

 

Tree of Lite, Eastern Hemlock

14 Jun

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Some of my favorite summer and fall mushrooms grow on or under this sometimes large and long living conifer known as Eastern Hemlock (Tsuga Canadensis). Today as I walked along this country road I was taken by the light of the freshly emerging needle tips at end of all the Hemlock twigs in this dark forest.

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The new needle growth are actually close to an inch long at this point and are a very light green in color. Time to gather a few tips to bring home for tea as Eastern Hemlock is another one of the conifer trees with leaf needles rich in vitamin C though I can’t recall the taste of this one.

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Well as you can see the heaping tablespoon of crushed needles for this tea doesn’t look much different from the boiling cup of water it was steeped in for 15 minutes and the flavour is subtly pleasant and the aroma is of a slight citrusyness. I didn’t add any sweetener or other herb today as I wanted to experience this tea on its own. I liked this tea enough to start the pursue on how other folks are preparing and storing it. cheers

 

Resting in Stinging Nettle bed

8 Jun

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This is my last stinging nettle gathering for 2014 and this field has been very good to me for a few decades now.  This particular area is around a 100 feet square and there are several similar beds in this old farm yard which was abandon probably in the 1950s. Click on the photo to notice the thickness of the plants here.

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Standing a little taller with a bit of red on its leaves is a Fireweed plant which is known nowadays as Chamerion angustifolium and is the only other serious competitor amongst the stinging nettle in this old field on the edge of a fresh water marsh. Since the fireweed leaves looked in ideal shape for gathering they to became part of the picking to be later used for tea and to be possibly tried as cooked greens as I did enjoy the young shoots a few weeks ago.

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It was warm in the sun so I moved into the shade under a few large red maples which had some very soft stemmed nettles with large health leaves under them, this made for some pleasant picking indeed, so after a few cool hours I had plenty of stinging nettle for drying and freezing to last the year.

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My current favorite use for stinging nettle is blitzing 2 or 3 fresh or frozen leaves in a blender with 6 ozs of orange or other citric juice for a very tasty cold drink. cheers

Goutweed finally dawned on me

30 May

 

DSC06747Been in a bit of a fog like the sky this morning over Goutweed as I often wondered if I just haven’t notice this plant around as it is well known for being an edible and medicinal, invasive plant. A recent wordpress post on (62nd Parallel North) really woke me up to what this plant looks like in its spring growth and since that post I’ve noticed Goutweed (Aegopodium  podagraria) in 2 recreational areas a short walk from my home. Unfortunately these locations were close to roads within the city and not a wise place to gather food.

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It is -2 degrees C this morning at 6.00 am and the Goutweed in this area has been touched by frost, though the good news is I pass by close to this country area most week days, so I’ve found a good source to gather later today and also in the future if I like this plant.

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Goutweed is a member of the Carrot family which has some of the most poisonous plants on the planet, so unless you are really familiar with the poisonous ones like Water Hemlock and others, you best have an expert verify this plant before trying it.

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I stopped by this guy’s place figuring he would know his carrots even better than me, but he wasn’t talking so I looked around the net some more to get as much info on this plant as possible and I ended up arriving at another wordpress blog along the way which was (Of Plums and Pignuts) where I received some valuable tips on harvesting and cooking.

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Work is over now and it is 19 degrees C at 5.00 pm, quite a change and the Goutweed has made a nice recovery.

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Here is a look at the young shiny growth I gathered for my initial encounter with Goutweed, tasting the young stems raw I found them better tasting than raw caraway and sweet cicely greens, 2 other members of the carrot family, so Goutweed’s first impression is good. Cooked in the frying pan this plant is very good and it appears new young shoots will keep rising for several months during the year, this hardy invasive has a lot of potential. No wonder this plant has a long history of usage throughout Europe and Asia for thousands of years. ciao

 

 

Springing up stream side

26 May

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An early evening walk looking for Morel mushrooms and again I’m not noticing any which makes for another opportunity to focus on some of the other things going on. Here is a small plant that caught my eye and at first I suspected it to be a Twisted Stalk (Streptopus amplexifolius), but after comparing my photo to other google images of that plant it seemed I better look at a few more images of other wild lily family members and the one which seemed the most probable match is called Little Merrybells (Uvularia sessilifolia). I must admit the long hanging flowers do appear quite joyous but that is not enough to say with certainty the identity of this little one.

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This one I do know well and I needed to place my camera on the ground for you to see the open flower under the large umbrella-like leaves of this Nodding Trillium (Trillium cernuum).

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Orpine this evening is starting to show why a few of us on the east coast consider it a prime wild lettuce.

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Here is a plant I decided to eat soon after this photo was taken as I couldn’t recall the taste of Blackberry shoots and I rarely see them at this stage, less than a foot tall. The outer stem surface needs to be peeled before sampling, the interior is light green, firm with a nice tart crunch.

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These 2 False Solomon Seal plants with their heads bend over and chewed up leaves looks like they just went toe to toe for 15 rounds, not a pretty sight, hopefully they will recover soon. ciao

After the fire Large-Leaf Aster

24 May

DSC06712 Today seemed like a good day to find out if any Morel mushrooms were going to appear in an area where a forest fire occurred  last summer and was within a reasonably close distance to travel from my home. Since Large-leaf Aster is known to expand with vigor after a forest fire I was somewhat certain I would at least arrive home with a nice bag of greens. DSC06700 Yes, the Large-leaf Aster greens were growing very well with plenty of young shiny leaves in excellent shape for gathering. DSC06718 The Morel mushroom part of the adventure was a bit of  false alarm though as the Black Morel mushroom was no where to be found, just some inedible False Morels which are considered potentially fatal to consume. DSC06721 These way to dangerous to eat False Morels were still an impressive sight to behold on the forest floor and were out in large numbers. DSC06724 Back home with a few medicinal plants which I’ll post on later and my collection of Large-leaf Aster leaves which you can see I am now preparing to boil, these mild tasting greens are rarely foraged for in my area, so I probably shouldn’t let the cat out of the bag and tell how easy to gather and tasty this post fire invader’s young greens are. ciao

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