Archive | October, 2012

Up on the roof

30 Oct

A few photos of wild oyster mushrooms I recently gathered from sugar maple trees.

The oyster mushrooms which appear in the fall in eastern Canada have a much darker cap color than the spring oyster mushroom which grows on poplar trees 4 or 5 months earlier. I have an example of some spring oyster mushrooms on a tree trunk in my (image page) if your interested in checking them out.

Cutting the mushrooms flush at the tree trunk you could not notice the starting point of the separate mushrooms, here in the above photo I have sliced a few inches closer to the caps which shows the stems beginnings, a clear view of nature naturally doing its thing. ciao

White Matsutake shrine

26 Oct

This is my last trip this year into my favorite white matsutake grounds. Years ago I noticed there was little man-made debris in these woods except for this rather unusual piece which has filled up with conifer cone pieces as the squirrels are eating at the top of the bowl and the little shrubby plant is a new addition to the bowl this year. The white matsutake shrine is around 500 feet from the woods path in a very dark woods where you can only notice a meandering line of light by looking back to the path you have entered from. I have never even meet another person on the woods path itself over the last 20 years though I only walk this area 5 or 6 times per year.  Usually I choose a new spot or 2 to rest and enjoy nature along with a stop at the shrine for a more traditional moment of thankfulness and contentment of being. ciao for now

Found the wild Oyster mushrooms hang out

23 Oct

The fall version of the oyster mushroom which fruit on sugar maples and beech trees are now starting to appear.

I only found this one tree producing so far but it did supply close to 3 pounds of fresh mushrooms in excellent shape.

While I prepared the oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) for the fridge, I was also cooking some White Matsutake stems peeled into ribbony strips which can be eaten pan fried with soya sauce or added to soups.

A few of the fresh Oyster mushrooms also eventually entered the pan which were quite good as well, though I find battered and deep-fried Oyster mushrooms are my prefered choice for enjoying these wild mushroom which may appear in the Maritime provinces of Canada well into Dec, in fact I found some freshly fruiting on Jan 02/12 which was quite extraordinary and a tasty surprise to start the year.

Chaga helps handle things

14 Oct

There are probably many very useful adaptogens available in nature to help folks regulate their metabolism no matter where you live in this world.  Chaga has been exceptionally beneficial in my particular case so naturally I will mention this fungus as the opportunities arising.  Since I supply a few folks I usually gather 3 to 5 chaga per year depending on the size of them which ranges between 1 to 10 lbs and I enjoy collecting them in different areas I happen to be travelling in, which these photos today are from Colchester County NS as I was returning from a (NS Mycological society) mushroom walk held at Victoria Park, Truro NS. This area was an excellent spot for an afternoon walk and plenty of interesting folks & a great variety of fall mushrooms as well.

I was rather fortunate as the area I decided to stop at on my return trip was a hillside of primarily birches with both yellow and white birch there. I walked around for 5 minutes then started see a few trees with some small chaga on them and then this chaga with a handle on it, which made for easy harvesting and carrying and I though of  chaga’s ability to help folks handle the different body stressers due to the adaptogenic properties present. If you have a few hours some day to check out some of the info on the net for the medicinal properties of chaga mushroom and if you live in an area where birch trees grow you are very likely to be able to gather your own supply of the fascinating mushroom for a great medicinal tea. cheers

White Matsutake appear quite magical

12 Oct

Here are the first ones I noticed on my walk after work this evening.

This is the above 2 mushrooms lifted from the soil.

A nice cluster.

Again we see them removed from the soil, you may have noticed the majority of the stem is deep in the soil.

A couple more. These 2 mushrooms will be cooked tonight and enjoyed with vinegar and soya sauce. White Matsutake are also my favorite dried mushroom to add to chaga tea for a unique spicy flavor along with almond or soya milk.

Sometimes the complete mushrooms will be a few inches under the moss, these ones fortunately had long enough stem for me to see the caps as you can see by this one standing by the tree.  Occasionally I will notice the shape of the cap under the moss and gently poke around for them.

Look the white matsutake mushroom in the basket appear to have a halo above them, yes it was a magical evening. ciao

Cat purring in the pines

11 Oct

Peeling and preparing a few mushrooms for the drier and thought it may be fun to show you how much Catathelasma ventricosum (swollen stalk cat) and White matsutake (pine mushroom) look-alike.  Check out the 5 mushrooms to the left of the bowl.

So here is a the close up, click on to see better——a sniff test would make it to easy,—– which mushroom of these 5 is the Cat?

Catathelasma ventricosum

7 Oct

Here is another great edible mushroom I gathered yesterday. Catathelasma ventricosum is often in Atlantic Canada mistaken for the white matsutake as there are some similarities except the big difference is the clean complex smoky, spicy aroma of white matsutake vs the fresh somewhat cucumbery odor of Catathelasma ventricosum. Both are great edible mushrooms in their own right. Catathelasma ventricosum is common on the east coast from new england north, but it is known to appear in Colorado and Califorina and it is a commonly gathered mushroom in Asia as well.

Catathelasma ventricosum is very firm fleshed  mushroom and is a good addition to the stew pot, they hold their shape well when fried and look great on the plate. They are firm and chewy so sometimes I cut them into thin strings and cook them in soups or slow cook them in BBQ type sauces.

The  grey patterns which form on the top of the caps a day after the mushroom emerges are quite striking.

I was pleased to see a company in Quebec is now selling Catathelasma ventricosum in dried form and pickled. I’m drying a good supply myself to be mainly used for teas and flavoring rice as this mushroom is gaining popularity in N.A. as a safe medicinal mushroom.

Although everything seems to stick to the outer skin of this mushroom the skin on the stem and cap quickly peels away for easy cleaning. ciao for now

Gypsy mushrooms

6 Oct

I collected a lot of choice edible mushrooms today and here is the last one I found on the way back home. Most years Gypsy mushrooms are around in August and early September, but this year is different as they are fruiting heavily right now under eastern white pine trees, as long as poplar, birch or beech trees are also close by.

Tom Volk of I believe the state of Oregon in the USA made the Gypsy mushroom his fungus of the month on his website back in Nov 1999 with interesting info on possible antiviral properties in this mushroom. It is a well liked edible in europe and though I personally find the stem hard to digest and only use the caps as food which I find are very good eating.  I do use all parts of the mushroom in teas, especially during flu season.

Which photo has the most number of Gypsy mushrooms in it. Photo 4 will need to be clicked on or you will definitely miss a few. ciao

Spruce bolete amongst the white matsutake woods

6 Oct

Here are a few photos of Spruce boletes (Leccinum piceinum). I usually can not ID orange/red cap scaber-caps with many different staining colors and cap and stem scabers, but these were in a strictly conifer only woods where I was gathering white matsutake, these boletes are considered to be a good edible that is especially flavorful in dried form.

Click on photo to notice the spruce bolete on the rolling mossy terrain.

Off in the back section of this photo are 5  or so white mutsutake mushrooms in dark conifer forest these mushroom can be noticed hundreds of feet away. Actually any mushroom can be seen well in the moss or needle duff with the absence of fallen hardwood leaves.

The 2 orange colored mushrooms picked  up in mixed woods of birch, poplar and conifers are quite noticeable at the back of this tray of mushrooms and are a different variety of Leccinum then the spruce bolete (Leccinum piceinum) and the stem texture, cap cuticle and mushroom flesh staining was very different then the other mushrooms when preparing them for the drier, but if I had 4 or 5 different varieties on this tray these differences would not have been noticed.  Orange/red capped Leccinum are a very common Northern Hemisphere & Atlantic Canadian  mushroom with some very good edibles in the group though IDing them is difficult with 6 to 10 varieties with a couple of possible rogues in the group, there have been some GI illnesses reported in the mid and western USA. Conifer forest narrows down your possible Leccinum species considerably and is a good place to start exploring orange/red cap Leccinums as a possible forageable food source. ciao

White Matsutake are starting to show

5 Oct

I stopped after work for a quick peek incase the white matsutake mushrooms were starting to fruit in my favorite spot.  There were a few boletes and gypsy mushrooms so I suspected this was still a bit early for white matsutake as gypsy mushrooms mostly are gone by the time white matsutake starts, but I was surprised to find a few small white matsutakes already up.

A deer must have nibbled the top of this young white matsutake but was unable to pull the deep stem out from the ground, I needed to patiently wiggle the stem free myself and the below photo is this mushroom removed from the soil.

I Should find some of the larger version of white matsutake arriving in these woods in coming weeks.

Here is a photo of the white matsutake part of my basket and the other half will be shown in a little while.

ciao