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Maritime Lobster Mushrooms

14 Aug

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Lobster Mushrooms are out in good numbers in the Maritimes now, so check out my catch of the day.

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This one is rather smooth with not much sign of gill ridges.

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I find most of my Lobster Mushroom usually near mature Eastern White Pine and an area with mixed woods with large Poplar trees can be prime spots to have a look also.

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These 3 photos show the weight divisions Lobster Mushrooms often fall into with the 1st photo 1/4 lb, 2nd 1/2 lb and last one weighed 1lb.

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The closest Lobster Mushrooms appears slightly over mature but look around as often there will be plenty of good ones near by, the white powder visible on the gill surface is not mold it is actually spores so this is not a sign the mushroom is not still good to eat. Two things to check concerning whether a Lobster Mushroom is still in good shape for eating is a light to slightly darker orange color, nothing in the red to purple range and when you squeeze the stem at ground level it is very firm. If there are soft spots or brown colored areas somewhere on the mushroom above the firm stem just cut them out and you should still have plenty of choice mushroom left.

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Here is what was in a 25 foot area of the above photo.

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Back home with a basketful of goodies which will soon be processed into a yummy Lobster Mushroom marinate thanks to Hank Shaw’s website honest-food.net › 2016 › July › 18

Ciao

Good Green Tidings

5 Jun

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A view of a sluice with the tide on the rise, I’ll walk along the edge of the salt marsh till the waters sway me dykeward.

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Here is the plant I’d like to show you today, Ligusticum scoticum (Scotch Lovage). They are recently making somewhat of a comeback as a food of interest.

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These plants seem to like it midway up these small dykes, the salt water will almost reach them by the looks of things today.

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Another photo from where the view of the sluice took place, here the sluice only appears to be gone and soon it will only appear to back, it is amazing what can appear to happen when you pick a few greens by the shore. ciao

Jack Pine Pollen Cones

21 May

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This is a new wild edible to me, one I’m quite interested in using in small quantities on a regular bases if it is agreeable to my body. Pine pollen allergies are uncommon though any new food needs to be gently introduced.

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The first 2 photos are of very young male Jack Pine pollen cones, these were tiny with a red tint and I suspect a bit too young to gather.

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The next 2 photos have slightly larger green cones and I’ll likely gather some similar to these this long weekend. I tried a sample of 4 little green cone balls and found them quite pleasant today so good reason to pursue on in this pine pollen cone adventure.

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Once they turn more yellowish and become softer I’ll gather a good supply hopefully just prior to their pollen release.

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzPedLPxwY8

Above are 2 embedded videos showing some interesting info on Pine Pollen by Arthur Haines from Maine, he chose Eastern White Pine for harvesting which is also available here in New Brunswick though at this point I’m finding Jack Pine even the young trees in open areas have ample easy to gather cones so these will be my first choice of Pine trees to start out with. If you’re a pine pollen cone gatherer and have some tips to share, please do. ciao

Good Old Maritime Fiddleheads

15 May

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The early spring growth of Matteuccia struthiopteris (Ostrich Fern) is by far the Maritimes most famous green wild food and I’m decided today to share with you why I enjoy seeing them in nature more than eating them at the table. Click on the photos to visit up close where Ostrich Fern fiddleheads have grow most comfortably for thousands of years here in Maritimes.

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ciao, off for more fiddling.

Marsh Woundwort

15 May

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Of course as the day began I had no intention of gathering a few of these very early to appear Stachys palustris (Marsh Woundwort) which I will transplant into my garden near some stinging nettle. The plants will produce plenty of tubers similar to what you see here by this Fall. These were gathered by just poking my fingers into the soil and feeling for the tubers if they were close by, I was actual looking for wild mushrooms today though these and a few other plants stole the show as I walked in the meadow and floodplain along the river including burdock, yellow nut-sedge and  the Maritime wild food favorite fiddleheads which I’ll also display in another short post today.

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Here is a plant growing from a small tuber running flat a 1/2 inch under the soil, also the tubers can run straight down. I planted one of these Marsh Woundwort tubers in a large pot a few years back and was pleasantly surprised with the numbers of long thin tubers and also rhizomes it produced.

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Come the fall the new tubers can be eaten raw or cooked in numerous ways, a very tasty food not often gathered in most of its range.

Cold fresh Oyster Mushrooms

13 Dec

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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.

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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

Mountain Ash

9 Dec

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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.

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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

Sweet Home Tricholoma

17 Oct

 

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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.

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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.

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A few Maritime Matsutake ( Tricholoma magnivelare ) possibly to be renamed down the road.

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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

 

Maritime Matsutake mix-upables

5 Oct

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Swamp things and Cattails

4 Jul

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In a large cattail swamp today, primarily to gather a few cattail male flower heads and of course to take in the surprises along the way.

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Here we see the dark green top section of the cattail which I will be gathering today. I have put of gathering foods from swamps for decades due to possible toxins in the stagnant waters from a variety of causes, it is wise to know the sources of the water your dealing with and also the area’s history as this type of wetland were popular places for folks to dump all kinds of stuff especially in the previous century. Many of the edible plants from these environments also tend to bioaccumulate heavy metals and other not so goodies usually to the highest degree in their roots but also in the leaves and stems less so. I do occasionally eat the tasty cattail shoots lightly cooked and there were many still today which were in excellent shape for that though I am only slightly comfortable with this collection site and will stick with the edible part of the plant least likely to accumulate toxins.

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This cattail area has almost entirely narrow leaf cattail Tyha angustifolia which is less common and usually grows in deeper water, key identifier for narrow leaf cattail is the visible space between the male and female flower heads (click on the side view ha photo) as the common cattail has no space between the 2. The male flowers heads are a very nutrient rich food and taste very good steamed, the green and yellow parts are scrapped off the thin woody core, so this is a top quality food if you can get over our common view of swamps and also take the extra step in doing our homework on the site we choose. I’m somewhat surprised cattail and some of the other swamp plants have not been altered into common crops here in North America.

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Here we see the early growth of another swamp plant known as bur-reed, not sure which member of the Sparganium this is but what a beauty. This plant will grow several feet high and its seedheads when mature become solid and resemble a medieval weapon head.

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Another look at the early developing plant, these plants have small edible spread out tubers. This may make an interesting edible potted plant for those with creative green thumbs.

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The red winged blackbirds who accompanied me all the time during my swamp visit didn’t want to be photographed but my also constant friends the darter dragonfly was more than agreeable to pose for a pic.

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update – This is now the following day with a photo of the dried male flower in the bowl and the small central glass has dried powdered flowers. I did need to sift the green and yellow flower material from a fair amount of woolly fluff so it took some time to come up with 40 oz jar of dried flowers. I was hoping for a higher volume of pollen in the flowers so when I gather the larger common cattail in coming weeks I’ll wait for the male flower heads to lighten in color slightly and become puffy in spots which should mean the pollen is a few days from maturity and probably will make up a larger part of the product. Interestingly the scent of these dried flowers is somewhere between corn and dried stinging nettle, quite pleasant. ciao