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.
Another photo and 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 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.
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?
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.
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