Archive | November, 2012

around the garden

24 Nov

Here are a few semi wild plants producing fresh greens around the garden right now, at the top -cow parsley, clockwise next — common hedge mustard,– caraway at the bottom and then –shepherd’s purse at 9 o’clock and in the center are the tubers of a member of the mint family known as –woundwort (Stachys palustris) which I introduced to the edge of the garden a few years ago, at that time I drove an hour to one of the few areas in New Brunswick where this plant can be found in the wild which is along the St John River. Although in my local area of N.B. woundwort is rare, close by in neighboring Nova Scotia and also Maine, USA this plant has been designated a noxious weed, I’m a bit surprised this plant isn’t a more popular wild food as the tubers are tasty fresh or cooked, I’ve already enjoyed the 4 in photo simply eaten raw shortly after the photo was taken, I couldn’t resist their crunchyness any longer and I needed some energy to take the next step into the garden to dug up some Jerusalem artichokes to be placed in the slow cooker for supper, cooking Jchokes in this manner can make for a more pleasant atmosphere in the forecoming hour after the meal especially if you have a few guest over. ciao

Movember mushrooms

15 Nov

I’m not associated with the Movember campaign but it is drawing a lot of attention towards men’s health this month and tonight I would like to draw a little attention to some wild mushroom which may make a big difference in men’s and women’s health now and in the future.

I didn’t need to convince my young friend to dress up to help bring a little Movember awareness with a loud and wild oyster mushroom moustache and cap as he has already seen some things on TV concerning Movember moustaches and men’s health. Here tonight I am focusing on a few of my favorite wild mushrooms I use as food, teas and spices on a regular bases and are safe and powerful medicinals as well. These mushrooms are well worth doing a little internet research on.

Turkey tail

Interestingly enough some of the best medicinal mushrooms for good  prostate health happen to be growing wild in temperature regions in much of the northern hemisphere during November. Including –wild oyster mushroom, turkey tail, velvet foot and chaga.

velvet foot

Chaga for all round good mental and physical health.

Hen of the woods (maitake), another medicinal all-star which usually appears in September under oak trees.

There are plenty of other healthy local wild foods as well, enjoy the best nature so willingly gives itself. These are good, I’m not eating these just for my health you know. ciao

lots of mushroom, when friends drop in

14 Nov

Nature is being very generous with the wild oyster mushrooms today, normally I do not forage this close to a trail but this one receives no ATV traffic and is rarely travelled by anyone as it is a small 1/4 mile loop running off a country road.

I collected 2 large baskets of mushrooms from this tree and half the mushrooms are still on the tree I suspect as I’ve seen no signs of other foragers in this area besides deer and squirrels. Some of the largest mushrooms in the clusters weighted a half lb and measured 10 inches across the cap.

Here are a couple new friends I meet yesterday which may not enjoy my wild oyster mushroom soup though these black-capped chickadees certainly would relish any insects which may live around the clusters which are few and far between at this time of the year.

Black-capped chickadees are the provincial bird of New Brunswick and if they decide you are their friend look out. Usually they will fly in towards you in small groups singing as they work their way branch by branch closer to investigate, then they will often decide to fly down to you from 5 to 10 feet away if you remain comfortably still.  Rarely one may fly straight towards you from a tree a hundred feet away at eye level which can be quite a surprise the first time they greet you like this. They are very brave little birds, even the flash from my camera a foot away in my other hand didn’t spook them and 1 of the 1o or so who flew to me yesterday even gave me a peck on the finger for not having a proper gift for him, he quickly flew away though I think we are still friends. ciao

The fungi trees are blooming

10 Nov

It’s time once again for mushroom foragers to set their sights a little higher once the overnight temperatures consistently reach the freezing mark. This is when you’ll find the fungi trees naturally taking their turn in offering bountiful crops to the creatures in their surroundings. There are plenty of very good and choice edible mushrooms these decomposing trees put forth in the fall as I have mentioned one of these the wild oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) in recent post. Today I’ll show 2 more which I have noticed early this morning.

Here are some wild Velvet foot mushrooms (Flammulina velutipes), these mushrooms when grown commercially are called Enoki and do not look anything like the wild ones due to limiting the light exposure and increasing carbon dioxide levels in the growing area which results in a white small capped mushroom with a long thin white stem. The wild ones I gathered today on a decomposing elm tree will be dried and then powdered to be used as a spice.

This white mushroom seen halfway up the central tree is Hericinum americanum and is considered to be quite choice with a seafood flavor. It has a close relative who is commercially grown under the name Lion’s mane and besides its pleasant taste it also has impressive medicinal properties. This one will be enjoyed tonight. ciao

Wild oyster mushroom fishing

4 Nov

Here’s a new activity for you,The oyster mushrooms above were a little to easy and some folks may say, like fishing in a barrel, I could drive my car a bit closer to the tree and reach out the window and grab a cluster, which means on a frequently travelled road they would have taken up to much pollution to use for food, especially since a very active gravel pit is located across the road, so these mushrooms are best left here to participate in some mycoremediation to help out the environment.

This is more like it, now I am in an old hardwood forest a few miles away, here we see a newly fruiting mushroom cluster with some older but possibly good clusters further up. This tree almost looks like it is laying down on a bed of snow, but the white background is an overcast sky and a light mist is in the air, perfect fishing weather here in Atlantic Canada.

I got a bite, this will actually be my second cluster I attempt to catch from this sugar maple tree. This group of mushrooms is around 14 feet off the ground and my 8 foot fishing rod (tent pole {click on this photo  for better view}) is getting close to the limit of my casting range. I could have brought a fishing net, but trying to catch the falling oysters makes the sport even more fun.  Wild oyster mushrooms grow in most temperate and tropical climates throughout the world and make for easy dry land fishing providing you have a fishing pole (no strings attached) and can wait for the right time when they surface from their tree trunks. ciao