This is a new wild edible to me, one I’m quite interested in using in small quantities on a regular bases if it is agreeable to my body. Pine pollen allergies are uncommon though any new food needs to be gently introduced.
The first 2 photos are of very young male Jack Pine pollen cones, these were tiny with a red tint and I suspect a bit too young to gather.
The next 2 photos have slightly larger green cones and I’ll likely gather some similar to these this long weekend. I tried a sample of 4 little green cone balls and found them quite pleasant today so good reason to pursue on in this pine pollen cone adventure.
Once they turn more yellowish and become softer I’ll gather a good supply hopefully just prior to their pollen release.
Above are 2 embedded videos showing some interesting info on Pine Pollen by Arthur Haines from Maine, he chose Eastern White Pine for harvesting which is also available here in New Brunswick though at this point I’m finding Jack Pine even the young trees in open areas have ample easy to gather cones so these will be my first choice of Pine trees to start out with. If you’re a pine pollen cone gatherer and have some tips to share, please do. ciao
The early spring growth of Matteuccia struthiopteris (Ostrich Fern) is by far the Maritimes most famous green wild food and I’m decided today to share with you why I enjoy seeing them in nature more than eating them at the table. Click on the photos to visit up close where Ostrich Fern fiddleheads have grow most comfortably for thousands of years here in Maritimes.
ciao, off for more fiddling.
Of course as the day began I had no intention of gathering a few of these very early to appear Stachys palustris (Marsh Woundwort) which I will transplant into my garden near some stinging nettle. The plants will produce plenty of tubers similar to what you see here by this Fall. These were gathered by just poking my fingers into the soil and feeling for the tubers if they were close by, I was actual looking for wild mushrooms today though these and a few other plants stole the show as I walked in the meadow and floodplain along the river including burdock, yellow nut-sedge and the Maritime wild food favorite fiddleheads which I’ll also display in another short post today.
Here is a plant growing from a small tuber running flat a 1/2 inch under the soil, also the tubers can run straight down. I planted one of these Marsh Woundwort tubers in a large pot a few years back and was pleasantly surprised with the numbers of long thin tubers and also rhizomes it produced.
Come the fall the new tubers can be eaten raw or cooked in numerous ways, a very tasty food not often gathered in most of its range.
Way back in the last days of 2015 I decided to go and harvest my winter chaga before the snow became to deep on a cool -12 C afternoon. It has been cold enough lately so all the main medicinal properties should be locked in tight in this chaga mushroom. With only 5 inches of snow on the ground this was quite easy walking through thick mostly conifers only 100 meters off a path to this paper birch tree which I found in the summer, at that time this tree was able to produce leaves in some of the top branches so the medicinal flow through the tree trunk is still fresh.
Summer view (July 24/2015) of same chaga mushroom.
A photo capturing some of the snowiness of the day.
Something new as I made a phone video which I thought I could upload directly here at wordpress but that turned into quite an adventure ending with me joining Yahoo-Flickr to stage any clips I’d like to embed here on this blog. I learnt a few little things along the way, like how to hold the phone on my next attempt, anyway a glitch or 2 in uploading but not to bad for a first try. ciao
Here in the Maritimes we’ve had a few days lately with the temps above zero at least during the afternoons and most of the snow has melted so as you can see in the pic this does occasionally produce some surprises.
Even into early January you may run into a sugar maple tree adorned with some fine wild oyster mushrooms if the temps are on the plus side for a few days, never found them in the Maritimes during the month of February yet, soups on the stove. ciao
I haven’t tried making anything with Mountain Ash berries for several years now, last attempt was a marmalade which I didn’t enjoy much. Seeing this snow covered tree has kind of rekindled my interest in these berries and this photo will be entered in my wild fruit page with a summer view of another type of Mountain Ash as we have many different types here in the Maritimes and to be fair to this fruit I really should start tasting the (cooked) fruits from several varieties as some of our friends in NFLD found out long ago when they discovered a sweet one they favor for gathering.
Maybe I’ll try making a beverage with ginger this time around as I’ve seen recipes for jams with ginger and citrus fruit combos, ideally an early harvest would provide a less mushy berry, but now is always the right time if you missed the best time. he he
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.
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
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
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.