It was warm and wet the last few days so there was a small chance of some oyster mushrooms in a local sugar maple woods, but after a short look I was satisfied to move on, especially while seeing the early morning sun color these sturdy maples golden.
Interesting to walk into a familiar place which suddenly looks so new, never suspected this was a golden forest during a certain sun.
Back home it seemed a good time to unearth some Sunchoke tubers which is the variety I found in the early 90s from a vacant lot in a small town I was working in then, these ones have been in my indicator garden wherever I’m living ever since. That town was bordering a large fresh water marsh and I was finding many different types of Sunchokes in that area, most varieties grow between 6 to 9 feet tall and flower in the fall, there was one large tan colored tuber variety growing out in the marsh on heavy clay which had a stem only 3 feet high and blown even lower in the grass by the strong marsh winds, I should go back and gather that one some day to try in the garden. In the marsh they were extremely hard to dig in the compact clay though they were large tubered and smooth skinned and may grow the same in more workable soils?
Here is a closer look at these healthy tubers which people in the eastern part of Canada can harvest anytime during the winter that the ground isn’t frozen. This as many of you know is the one tuber bearing member of the Sunflower family Heliantus tuberosus, while the wild smaller tuber type is quite common on river floodplains and is native to North America, some of the other larger varieties like the ones in the photos which you will encounter at abandon farms, vacant lots and disturbed soils are possibly types developed in both Europe and NA. These ones in the photos I’ve moved to a few different areas as well, mostly places I know I may pass by in the fall to spring months, they don’t spread much and if I don’t harvest them the local voles or other rodents will have some good eating, I’ll try something different and lacto ferment a few of these ones I’ve collected today. ciao
It took over 100 mm of rain, but now most forest areas in my neck of the woods are soggy and snow free. There are a few edible mushrooms I’ve gathered this late in the year before, being mostly oyster types and Hygrophorus mushrooms, but none of those around today.
I’ve heard that the Tree-ear mushrooms may appear anytime there is a good amount of rain so I revisited an area I found this summer and yes here they are on the same downed balsam fir trees from earlier in the year.
These are Auricularia americana which are a new edible to me and I have only tried them a few ways so far, usually these mushrooms are always cut into thin strips, stewed slowly in milk they were quite good. These mushroom dry and reconstitute very well and some of its relatives are commercially grown in large numbers for use as an edible and medicinal mushroom. Auricularia americana probably does not possess the same blood thinning properties as Auricularia polytricha used in Szechwan cooking and is considered more akin to Auricularia auricularia used in Cantonese cooking. These mushrooms absorb other flavours and their crunchy texture is very appealing.
Here is a nicely covered conifer tree from this summer which I should have marked down its location. It would have been a nice place to look today.
Now this is a common mushroom found on conifers from late fall through the winter, Orange Jelly mushroom (Darcymyces chrysospermus).
These are a colorful edible which I’ll be tinkering with in the kitchen this winter. Anyone have any suggestions?
I know he doesn’t look to awe inspiring in the photo, but this is a large hawk who let me walk within 40 feet to take a phone pic on the way back to town. Click the photo to enlarge and check out the tree branches along the way. ciao
The first snow landed gently last evening.
Even the smaller branches will withstand snow of this nature.
This morning the feelings is still here in the freshness of the obvious change.
Another morning view and now as I write these words the snow has already left all the branches in the photos.
Moving on in more of a wintergreen direction, a look at the largest Teaberry I’ve ever seen. ciao
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.
You knew I’d find a way to slide a mushroom into this post somewhere. ciao
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Graylings are sometimes in open heath & grassy areas as long as there is also hair-cap moss.
You know it’s kind of nice out here in the sun on these cold ones. ciao
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.
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.
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.
Oh, this one is the Imperial Cat, (Catathelasma imperiale) – quite striking isn’t it.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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