That fluffy light feeling

15 Nov

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The first snow landed gently last evening.

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Even the smaller branches will withstand snow of this nature.

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This morning the feelings is still here in the freshness of the obvious change.

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Another morning view and now as I write these words the snow has already left all the branches in the photos.

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Moving on in more of a wintergreen direction, a look at the largest Teaberry I’ve ever seen. ciao

Welcome to our world

8 Nov

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Here are a few not so foragery photos for you tonight. It was a cold one with a -11 Celsius wind chill and 40 km breeze, nevertheless some rosehips and mushrooms found their way into the basket. You may want to click on the photos for a closer look, this first one especially has a lot going on.

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You knew I’d find a way to slide a mushroom into this post somewhere. ciao

Marsh, mushrooms and the white stuff

7 Nov

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The white stuff I’m talking about here isn’t snow, it’s this nice blanket of lichen I noticed on this trail I’m exploring today. This area is covered with deep green moss and many white lichens beds.

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It looks almost like a white road in this photo though it to is lichen and I’m also noticing a few over-mature White Matsutake mushrooms and a few other interesting ones as well.

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Here is a bit of a hard mushroom to get to know as you need to become familiar with all the other local grey capped mushrooms in this family. This one has a sticky grey cap, plus a number of other features to work through before we can call this the very good edible Tricholoma portentosum.

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Since there is at least one serious poisoner which resembles this grey Tricholoma  mushroom I do not recommend anyone try gathering this late fall season mushroom without having it verified by an expert. This is a popular mushroom in central Europe, but it is rarely gathered for the table in the Maritimes.

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These very common looking Lactarius mushroom here in the Maritimes are quite a case, they are one of my favorite smelling things in nature. These mushrooms which can be numerous shades of brown and grey have a scent of sweetened coconut and can greatly vary in size.

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There are probably several different Lactarius mushrooms at play here that just haven’t been named yet, but for today since these ones are on a gravelly hillside with only Jack pine within a few hundred feet the most logically name I can find for them is Lactarius mammosus.

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In pausing a few minutes and miles away, It seems clear how much and also how little is known about this world and this can’t become a problem from a Tantramar marsh perspective, even with the fogginess being experienced on the banks of the LaPlanche. ciao

 

Time to forage a field

4 Nov

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It’s not to late to still find some good edible mushrooms even with the early morning temps hovering near the freezing point. Here is a nice Boletus to prove it. Today I’ve noticed a lot of activity near my usual gathering grounds as deer hunting season has recently started so it may be wise to make myself a lot more visible, so its time to appear out into some open fields. The key here is to select areas which are not sprayed and safe to walk around in, wear hunter orange just in case someone is where they shouldn’t be. Here are some of the mushrooms you may encounter this week in shore- line picnic parks, well travelled walking trails and open recreational areas in the Maritime provinces.

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Blewits

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Horse mushrooms

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Graylings are sometimes in open heath &  grassy areas as long as there is also hair-cap moss.

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You know it’s kind of nice out here in the sun on these cold ones. ciao

The Big Cats are here 2

2 Nov

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A rainy, windy day here in New Brunswick, Canada with a few large conifers snapping their trunks in the forest this afternoon close beside me, later on we have a very good chance of seeing some snow on the ground early tomorrow, but for now let’s look at this large fall mushroom.

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Here we see the mushroom basket with mostly Sheep polypore and the big mushroom I want to introduce here today, also to the right are some fading bunchberry plants and the tiny round leaf plant below which is sometimes called Creeping Snowberry (Gaultheria hispidula) and I must mention these leaves do make a nice wintergreen tasting tea. Click on the photo for a better look.

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Now back to a time when there wasn’t anything in the basket, with me starting out to notice why in some parts of Europe this mushroom is known as the potato mushroom, but until I removed the stem from the moss and soil I wasn’t quite sure what this mushroom was as the cap alone resembles a large version of both the White Matsutake and also the Swollen-stalked Cat.

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Oh, this one is the Imperial Cat, (Catathelasma imperiale) – quite striking isn’t it.

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I’ve been finding just a few of these mushrooms for the last month in this area which is new to me this year so it is interesting to piece together what this edible is known as in other areas of the world. In mountainous areas of Asia and Western N.A this mushroom is mostly known as the Big Cat or Imperial Cat. It is gathered and sold in Markets in Asia and also exported as a food and as a medicinal product, but in North America it is barely considered edible and rarely gathered with its close relative the Swollen-Stalked Cat considered the better edible, as for Europe where it is eaten usually pickled or preserved in oil before consuming. The texture is firmer than most edible mushrooms and I do see that in one very well known Hotel restaurant in Hong Kong it is a key ingredient in one of their Fall season soups.

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Here is a look at the Maritime’s 2 Catathelasma species, C imperiale on the left and C ventricosum on the right. As a rule they seem to be of similar size though the C imperiale I found today did weigh close to 1 lb which is much larger than the usual ones I find. As you can see there are a few differences in flesh, gill and cap colors, but for me the stem ring and the small area directly above it are very different especially in the young mushrooms, click on to see this. So keep an eye open for these not so rare big Maritime Cats many think only live in the mountains out in the western part of NA . ciao

Sheep Polypore

28 Oct

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Albatrellus ovinus is a mushroom I only started eating in recent years as finding good information on it wasn’t easy, this is a mushroom which may not agree with everyone who eats it, so sample a small quantity your first time if you decide to try it. There is very little North American info on how to prepare this mushroom and the N A recipes I’ve tried in the last few days which recommended pan frying a mix of onions and spices with Sheep Polypore tasted fine only I couldn’t taste any Sheep Polypore which previously I found tasted quite good just fried in oil & butter till it is crispy. I should mention once again that Albatrellus ovinus turns yellow while cooking and the similar Albatrellus confluens doesn’t yellow though it will turn peach, both mushrooms are edible and look alike. To add a little more confusion there is also another very rare family member Albatrellus subrubescens which is similar looking and it probably should cause temporary stomach problems though I can’t find any info on what color it turns when cooked, in the few spots it has been found in Canada it appears to have some black-grey to purple-grey cap fibrils so something to keep in mind, I can’t find any records of it being found in the Maritimes but this area’s rarer species are not well known at this time, so it could easily be here in small numbers.

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Back to the (not for the novice mushroom forager), Sheep Polypore, I did find one recipe from Finland where the flavour of the mushroom still shone through, there they remove the stem of the mushroom, trim the cap into a patty shape and then cook this in a light breadcrumb batter till well done, they refer to this as a Sheep Steaks. Here in the Maritime Provinces Sheep Polypore can grow in large numbers in a variety of mixed woods so this is one of only a few good edible mushrooms still available on these near freezing days.

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If you’re still interested in this mushroom as an edible or just in knowing something new that lives close to you here are a few of the European names you may want to do a little internet research on.
Swedish: fårticka—Czech: krásnoporka mlynárka— Finnish: lampaankääpä—German: schafporling—- Norse: fåresopp

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Sheep Polypore is a commercially gathered mushroom in a few northern and also mountainous areas in the world. Here in the Maritimes it may become another nourishing food to be aware of and another good reason to be conscious of what’s going on in our forest. Locally our nature needs our awareness now. ciao

Forager’s Mobiles

14 Oct

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There are 3 different types of Highbush Cranberries in the province of New Brunswick and these ones we see dangling above my head are the best edible one in my vicinity being Viburnum trilobum which grows usually near streams and river floodplains. These berry clusters are extremely easy to gather in nature’s nursery though the processing into juice can seem lengthy unless you really enjoy getting to know your food. Each berry has one large seed and it is best to juice these berries raw after freezing them.

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Back to a view of these berries hanging gently in the sky above, what I’ll be doing with them once juiced isn’t quite clear just yet though an apple cider -Highbush cranberry mix sounds good and possibly a ginger bug Highbush soda, though these are just little thought clouds appearing amongst the clusters at this point. ciao

Fall Jack Pine understory

8 Oct

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Huckleberries plants now with red leaves makes it real easy to also notice the blue to black fruit.

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Huckleberries really show their numbers in this Jack Pine forest come fall, click on the photo to see the numerous berries.

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Hucks and Matsutakes.

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Here we see our largest Maritime woodpecker who climbs backwards down the tree trunk to get low enough to reach back for some berries. These plants are usually waist high on humans so this is the easiest way for them to pick yet they really stretch their necks to get it done.

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This Pileated Woodpecker (click on my cybershot photo my friends) seems to be on the same visiting schedule as me as we met here last week in the evening. This one chooses to stay around 100 feet from me and circles around me for 10 minutes or so. You may have noticed there has been a clearcut on both sides of this 200 foot strip of Jack Pine so many of the fruiting plants, matsutake, birds and all the rest are dealing with the changes. ciao

White Matsutake photos

4 Oct

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Large White Matsutake mushroom.

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Another view.

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A nice group photo.

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A smaller one in deep moss.

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Now out of the moss and almost into the basket. ciao

 

Swollen-stalked Cat

2 Oct

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Usually find just one collection with enough Catathelasma ventricosum for a good basket full these last few years and tonight’s gatherings maybe the best of the lot as these are very freshly emerged mushrooms with only a few breaking their cap veils.

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This mushroom is not very common in most parts of North America and gets very little press as a good edible here though the folks from the Tibet homelands and other mountainous areas of Asia would know this mushroom very well, both as an ancient medicinal and welcomed food especially in soups and stews.  This mushroom is commercially harvested and froze or dried for export from Yunnan province China. good chance you may have already eaten some of these along your path unknowingly.  ciao

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