Archive | April, 2013

Trailing Arbutus Jam

30 Apr

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Epigaea repens (Trailing Arbutus) is usually a common plant I find in  sandy forest which are quite acidity. I stumbled upon these ones in an old pasture while checking out some young bedstraw plants I have an interest in.

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Since some of the flowers were in good condition I decided to gather a few flower tubes to try as a simple jam.

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This small bowl of flowers took awhile to gather, though if you are in a patch of Trailing Arbutus you will probably not be in any rush to leave the pleasant scent this plant adds to its surroundings anyway.

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I made 3 small patches, (1) flower tubes and sugar, (2) flower tubes and honey and (3) flower tubes and maple syrup. The flower tubes in all 3 recipes were pressed into a paste with the other ingredient and the results were extremely good with the honey and flower tubes my personal favorite.

DSC05407I will probably try a few wild rose petal recipes and use Trailing Arbutus to replace the rose petals. This is not the type of product anyone could mass produce, but a couple small bottles of these flower tubes preserved each spring is going to be a new tradition at our house.

A walk down Chaga lane

15 Apr

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Actually this is one of my favorite locations for gathering chaga over the last few years and I usually travel between 500 and 1,000 feet distance parallel to this road which normally in the early evening has a car  drive by every 5 minutes or so. This is a chaga hot spot as I have collected some huge chaga on yellow birch just 1/4 mile away from where I’m walking tonight though this area here is primarily white birch.

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Most of the chaga here tonight are early in their development and I will not gather any of these though I will possible harvest some in the next 2 to 3 years.

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All of these birch trees are still able to produce leaves but probably within the next 5 years the chaga mycelium within the tree will have completed its cycle. A few years before a chaga begins to appear on a tree the mycelium has already sealed the tree’s fate so harvesting chaga while the tree is still mostly alive makes no difference to the tree’s lifespan and the best qualities in Chaga are most available while the tree is still sharing its nutrients. Older Chaga from already dead birch trees are not suitable for making tea, a good example of this is the large Chaga shaped like an angel in my (Chaga page) it was nice to look at but not a useful medicinal mushroom and I hope no one is gathering to use or selling old chaga collected of dead birch trees to anyone.

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Here is a tree I harvested 4 lbs from 2 years ago, it is still producing twigs with new buds and the chaga is also growing back as you can only see a little of the light brown area at the bottom of the Chaga where it was chopped.

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This photo is a couple new Chaga emeraging from this same tree.

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Here is the top section of this same tree with a couple of nice Chaga horns just under the top branches. A large birch like this one may produce many lbs of Chaga.

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Now I’m on my way back to my car travelling on the opposite side of the road a few hundred feet in the woods and I finally found my first one over on this side after check this area a few times over the last 3 years,  it is quite a nice one as well, as it will be easy to harvest being at ground level and should increase in size in a year or 2. The Chaga future is looking good as long as a clear-cut doesn’t roll down the lane. ciao