A litter of Cats

18 Oct


Only found one small area of Catathelasma ventricosum today which was more than OK as I was on another mission, but with bright caps up to 20 cm across these mushrooms certainly stand out from a distance as you may notice above.



This was an unexpected find of Cats which will send me asap to some of my more familiar haunts of this large fall mushroom which I had already given up on this year as only a few appeared several weeks ago.


Although I usually dry most of what I gather of this mushroom, this has been the year of the pickle for me and these mushroom should be excellent for that process.


Sweet Home Tricholoma

17 Oct



Interesting den like structure which should provide sleeping space for 3 appears on this steep decline, the opening is facing straight up and shortly beyond it seems the hill drops straight down a few hundred feet, even though many conifers have managed to hang in there, not to far away on flat lowlands amongst the conifers I start to see some of my favorite Tricholoma mushrooms again, though unfortunately their season is coming to an end soon, maybe if all goes well some of these areas will not fall to a clear cut before my next visit in 2016.




Have a look at another mushroom which may be mistaken for a Matsutake, this one is Tricholoma focale which is not rated very highly as an edible in most countries, though I have seem claim that it is pretty good when preserved in certain ways, ( I’ll get back to you on this one shhh), I usually only see these in disturbed soils or thin moss, commonly seen here near the coast at a small size of 5 cm, though here are some big ones with 15 cm caps.





A few Maritime Matsutake ( Tricholoma magnivelare ) possibly to be renamed down the road.



and the long and slim one, Tricholoma dulciolens, well this is probably it for me and these Tricholoma mushrooms for this year, next up should be Honeys, Oysters and as usual, plenty of surprises. ciao


Tricholoma dulciolens

11 Oct


A few pics of T dulciolens which was my long skinny version of Matsutake for many a year.


Currently there is a question on whether these mushrooms have been exported from one of the Nordic countries to Japan as a Matsutake type produce, as Henrik in his comments below and other sources point out Tricholoma dulciolens is very rare in Scandinavia and probably in Finland as well so still curious on the link I added in comments below which makes the claim of T dulciolens being an imported item in Japan. I guess the good news for us folks here in the Maritimes is our mature spruce in a few different soil types usually in our near wetlands do produce some of these mushrooms, though here as well they seem a mushroom which would not be near common enough for a commercial harvest at least from what I have investigated thus far.



Usually when gathering you will only see the caps and then it is time to gently lift in agreement with the stem’s underground angle, notice a few are left as they are, very unwise to attempt to take all of anything.



In the deep moss there may be some of these and also the Matsutake below the green surface so walk soft, don’t walk directly to the mushroom you see, plan a path of least disturbance, all foods deserve our respect and this group almost seem to demand all your senses be fully awake and in tune.




Added photos of rare Maritime Lyophyllum  _____? in spruce forest

Maritime Matsutake mix-upables

5 Oct


Here is a look at the first Matsutake I found this year, a few folks at the NS Foray were curious about the Matsutake so here are some photos to help a bit. I myself need to catch up on what is going on and change the photos in my White Matsutake page as there have been some name changes with some more big ones not far off.


I for many years called this mushroom in the above photos also White Matsutake though I kinda suspected it was more likely a  Tricholoma Caligatum which was growing under spruce and smelled and tasted very much little Matsutake and made a great spicy tea when dried and boiled with Chaga and then cream added. This mushroom can sometimes have a very long slim stem which usually lifts easily from the moss or soil, unlike the Matsutake who puts up quite a battle. This mushroom seems to match an already named mushroom from the conifer forest of northern Europe know as Tricholoma dulciolens, so time to move some photos and change to the current names.


Next a mushroom most folks are unfamiliar with in the Maritimes though it is common in the western Canada and also parts of Asia. This big brown capped mushroom is often mistaken for a Matsutake so since I have one here, check out the Imperial Cat – Catathelasma imperiale which is not considered an edible mushroom in some NA field guides, though its close relative the grey capped Catathelasma ventricosum is know to be a good edible and far more common in the east than the Imperial Cat.


Here are the 3  brownish capped Matsutake-like mushrooms together which will give you Maritimers interested in gathering the Matsutake a better idea on what is out there. The real Matsutake is the middle mushroom in both photos.

Not to very sunny flowers

2 Oct


Usually I’m showing the Sunchoke’s tubers which grow below these plants, but now is the time to see up close their often not noticed fall flowers and to enter a pic in my wild flower page.


Jerusalem Artichoke is a plant which stands between 5 to 9 feet tall in patches along many Maritime brooks and rivers in the early fall season. Here is a look at a few bend down stems with flowers where you may start to see them in a slightly different light.


If you are fortunate enough to find a spot – even on an overcast day like this one where you can shine down on them at the same angle as the somewhat clouded sun behind you- then something like this will be seen.


I like this one the most for my (wild flower page), but a few folks in the house chose one of the other pics, which would you choose?



30 Sep


I do not see many good photos of this plant in the berry stage and still having green leaves above so decided to share this one of Arisaema triphyllum which I recently noticed along a small stream near home. This beautiful floodplain plant is known for having an edible root once it is thinly sliced and thoroughly dried for a long period. In my area it is not near common enough for me to try as a food, plus this plant as a whole is loaded with mouth stinging calcium oxylate crystals which limits its usability, sure is nice to see though.


Here is an old pic from my blog library taken in spring 2013 of this plant who has the common name of Jack-in-the-pulpit due to how it looks while flowering in the spring, click on the photo to notice the unique spathe and spadix under my thumb.

NS Mycological Society Foray 2015

17 Sep


The annual Nova Scotia mushroom foray is not far off, so here is small plug for the event and a chance to show a few of the many mushrooms you may find on one of the trails on Saturday Sept 26th during that weekend. There are usually a few surprises with new additions being placed on their species list every year and the pic above of some Slippery Jill ( Suillus salmonicolor ) which  I found recently in my area would make the list for the first time if found during one of the trail walks. Here is their website address if you’re a Maritimer and fancy a foray this early fall. – ns.mushroom.org


Another interesting mushroom I noticed in recent days were these tiny though oh so garlicky smelling little ones which may have been more out spoken due to the dampness that day as these had a strong and very pleasant fresh garlic scent. At first I thought they were Gymnopus perforans  though they in my experience are quite mild compared to what I’ve found here which maybe – or – are a close kin to Mycetinis scorodonius a mushroom I have some culinary interest in and it also would be a newbie on the NSMS species list and should catch many of guard long before you squint to see these bad boys on one of the identification tables folks will be viewing as each trail group will set up their own table for everyone to check out, not doubt this is a common Maritime mushroom which due to its tiny size doesn’t get gathered very often.


I should mention some of the pleasant visuals you will no doubt encounter along the way like this Reishi mushroom relative which being as beautiful and useful in nature as it is, naturally was given a common name  by man – here you see Artist Conk ( Ganoderma applanatum) with a nice shiny cap on a wet one a few days back.





Here are a couple more recent Maritime colorful mushroom pics of what you may find at the foray, don’t make me show or tell you anymore about the great things you’ll experience at the foray just go to their website and make plans for some new discoveries the weekend of Sept 25 -26-27 at the Deanery in Ship Harbour, Nova Scotia. ciao


Marinated Lobster mushrooms

16 Sep


My computer is on the blink it seems so here is my first attempt at a phone post, interested see how it will pan out. Above you see some Lobster mushrooms I’m salting which is one of the first steps in this Italian mushroom marinate recipe from ( honest-food.net — 17) check it out, I’ve tried this recipe with Russula mustelina and Lobster mushrooms last month and they both turned out great.


It is surprising more folks are not gathering Lobster mushrooms here on the east coast as they are quite common, usually in clusters of 3 to 5 mushrooms. You do seem to lose  some of the mushroom during cleaning as they have soil embedded in them though from this cluster after paring off what I didn’t want I still walked away with 2 lbs of choice wild mushrooms which I would usually dry and eat a small amount fresh though now I really like this mushroom pickled or in this recipe mentioned above from Hunter Anglar Gardener Cook where you salt, boil in vinegar, dry (which I’m going to check my dryer in a minute) then jar up and cover with spiced olive oil. Well I better go get’em.  Ciao

Bunchberries, the fastest slow food

8 Sep


A few pics and a couple links to some interesting stuff on a like known ground growing fruit, common throughout most of Canada, bunchberries – Cornus Canadensis.


The large seed in each drupe is the main reason this is not a popular fruit in this country today where we have many different types of berries which are much easier to eat in a social setting though bunchberries do have their charm, one is you can pick a large amount in no time, they also stay in good shape to pick for several weeks if not months.


The berries which I gathered here in the pics made a rather nice sauce, 8 cups of berries brought to a boil with a bit of water then simmered , seeds strained out, it takes some time to work the pulp away from the seeds but in the end with some sugar and cinnamon it turned into a smoky thick grape colored sauce.


The sauce quite tasty, but the most interesting thing I found was the soothing feeling I noticed on the mouth and throat, never experienced this in a sauce before, so something healthy in that pulp I suspect.  I also tried squeezing the pulp of the raw fruit, dripping it through a strainer to test if it would jell up some as I was hoping to dry it after jelling to use as a dry fruit candy but that didn’t pan out at all – as the pulp was in to small amounts per work and it stayed to liquidity.


Here is a photo of a bunchberry flower I took early on when I started this blog a few years ago and a couple links to some info on this older than the hills, little eaten today, fast moving smoothie. http://www.williams.edu/go/explodingflower

and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFR17bX0noI


Russula mustelina, maybe

10 Aug


As a group the Russula mushrooms are extremely difficult for foragers and mycologist to identify other than for a few standouts, so field characteristics and spore stuff equally tough to figure out, the red capped Russula mushrooms may have over 100 species to choose from. Usually unless I’m 100% sure of the ID I won’t try a new mushroom for the table but Russula mushrooms are the exception as without any deadly poisonous mushrooms in my area you can experiment with this group a tiny bit. All the mushroom photos on this post are the same mushroom type at different stages of growth.


I started with this brown capped Russula last year as it is the most common Russula growing in the conifer forest I also gather my Chanterelle mushrooms in. The starting point for doing this is to be able to clearly know if you are picking a Russula mushroom, if you have any doubts do not try what I mention next. After getting some sound advise from a well seasoned forager on the rules for dealing with Russulas I decided to give it a go.


In my area there are probably around 10 different brownish Russula, I was already familiar with 2 of these mushrooms as for decades I would often smell the (not to be eaten) almond scented Russula which appears in good numbers in many Maritimes mixed forest and the very common Russula compacta which smells of fish oil and blackens with age, although edible R compacta has a reputation of not agreeing with everyone so that is a good enough reason to leave it off my list.


So with 2 brown Russula mushrooms off my edible list it was time to try at least one of the other common ones and to do this all I had to do was take a small piece of the raw mushroom and chew it for awhile, if my mouth gets hot or the taste is unpleasant I probably have found a Russula mushroom I would not want to eat, also I should add to spit out the piece you have chewed and it is probably best not to swallow while chewing even if you have found a nice nutty flavoured Russula, so if good fortune had come your way and the taste was mild during your sampling you will have found a safe Russula for cooking and the ones in these photos are one of the many very good edible mushrooms in the Russula family.


Once you do find a good edible Russula you probably don’t want to taste it raw ever time you gather one so next it is prudent to get familiar with its characteristics in all stages of growth. This one I suspect is R mustelina which has some traits which are quite consistent, (1) bugs do not invade even mature mushroom stem which is rare for Russula mushrooms. (2) stem is deep in soil which is rare. (3) stem is long and often is bulgy which is rare. (4) stem firm, when mature still firm but will hollow or is softening in inner core. (5) cap color is dark brown usually with some yellow shades. (6) Cap when young is sticky and usually will hold some dirt on it, it will become dry as it flattens in maturity. (7) cap peels very easily at least halfway to center. (8) little scent. (9) When cap flattens at maturity there will be brown stains midway on the gills. (10) gills firm when young, crumbly brittle when mature. (11) Mature mushroom stains brown on stem and gills, but do not blacken. (12) taste always mild. (13) In groups under conifers starting close to 1000 ft above sea level. (14) One of the first Russula mushrooms to appear in the summer in New Brunswick. If you are familiar with Russula mushrooms you will notice this one is quite unique when you add these points up.


One thing I didn’t find was much N.A information on folks eating this mushroom here. In Europe it seems it is enjoyed by some folks in the mountainous areas of Spain, France and Italy with some considering it an excellent edible. It has a common name in those countries which is the weasel mushroom, but I should mention again I just eat this mushroom and officially do not know its name other than it is definitely a brown capped Russula which matches up well with info I have on R mustelina, with most other wild mushroom families this type of experimenting would be dangerous so even with the Russula mushrooms this is something you should never try unless you are a very experienced wild mushroom forager and are receiving expert advise along the way. ciao


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 235 other followers