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Chaga Mushrooms 2017

7 Jan

A phone post on some of the chaga mushrooms I’m seeing in this new year and also other wintery sights of interest from our Maritime forests. The above photo reminds me of a hidden puzzle game or a piece of art you can’t stop staring at it. 

Ice pans or ice disc, first time I witness these around here. I’ve read they can on occasion be quite large, these little ones stayed spinning around this pool for sometime, made for a good rest spot after leaving the birch woods, this was a few days ago and below we get to zone in on how you can usually tell from several hundred feet if a chaga mushroom is a good size for gathering.


 If from afar you see a snow cap on a dark hump on a tree trunk in a hardwood forest with lots of birch in the mix then this calls for a closer look, real simple. Here we see one near the center right of above photo.


Ah, this chaga horn appears to be not too high up the tree. I can chop it at eye level, notice the smaller one close by.

Looking down hill into the valley and mountain across, this chaga harvesting is quite pleasant.

I’m surprised this photo is not more blurry as my out stretched arm was trembling from the weight while I was trying to hold and take this phone photo with the other hand. The pains I will go through to show off my 2017 chaga.

Anyway, now back home it is fresh chaga and matsutake, rosehip tea time. Cheers

My Hydnellum suaveolens fascination

11 Nov

 

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I’m back again with Hydnellum suaveolens mainly to show the above photo which features a longer stemmed version which nicely highlights its below the cap colorfulness. I’ve also did a bit of snooping to see what others have to share on this one.

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I have dried and stored small amounts of this mushroom in glass jars for many years just to open the jar and enjoy the pleasant aroma which I find uplifting. This year I have a few dried H suaveolens wrapped in paper and tucked in small compartments in my car as an air freshener which I’m surprised my fellow carpoolers haven’t mentioned the improved scent of the old mushroomobile. I suspect these car mushrooms will only hold their pleasant fragrance for a short time though after a month mine are doing quite well.

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These ones above are large mushrooms nearly 20 cm across the cap, the closest one has a conifer twig running through it which always catches my imagination and the next large cap appears to have been a nice table for someone to enjoy a spruce cone brunch comfortably atop.  Although every mycological website and book I’ve checked on the edibility of Hydnellum suaveolens has listed this mushroom as inedible, nevertheless I’ll add this link (not to promote this mushroom as a food) but to acknowledge my own wonderment of what is and a nod to that which will appear on this planet. I suspect the world famous chef who uses H suaveolens does so in extremely small quantities and as an essence and he may also have a secret process involved in this?        https://dannygregorysblog.com/2015/12/28/faviken

 

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H suaveolens is a very solid mushroom which you may think would last several years like some polypores but some of these mushrooms which appeared in late Sept are already decomposing as shown in the top left corner above. I’ll include another link here as there are a few NA and European websites that list Hydnellum suaveolens as a mushroom for dye-makers. This is a subject I have little knowledge on, though I found the colors shown in the linked post well worth sharing with you.  Well that does it for this aromatic, colorful, large and somewhat little known mushroom – Hydnellum suaveolens – which tends to grow where there are still mature mossy conifer forest. ciao    riihivilla.blogspot.com/…/hydnellumsuaveolens-tuoksuorakasvrjys… 

Notice the aroma of fall (2)

7 Oct

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These Lactarius helvus mushrooms caught my eye today, unusual to see them up on a stump like this.  They are another wild mushroom with a sweet aroma which intensifies when dried. These mushrooms are noted for having a number of poisonings reported many decades ago in eastern Europe so best to enjoy their beauty and use them as a potpourri item only.

Kind of fitting as I approached to smell its sweetness, who do I imagine I see, well it sure looks like a green Mr Snuffleupagus to me. Haven’t thought about him in years. He he

Notice the aroma of fall

5 Oct

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Haven’t posted in while as I’ve been busy gathering many of my fall mushroom favorites and enjoying the surrounding. Here in the scent of the sea we see the Bay of Fundy and in the rear view mirror a tall conifer tree which are famous for having nice gifts under them.

Tonight I am showing some of surprises you may encounter while out foraging for the also very scentful Matsutake in thick moss under mature conifers. This one in the above photos is my first meeting with the edible Polyozellus multiplex, quite a showy mushroom with an unusual scent.

This mushroom above I didn’t think to take a photo of in its home in the moss as I was overwhelmed at the time by the sweet scent which filled the air above it. No  local plant or tree in flower can compare with this mushroom as you are apt to suspect someone has just broken a bottle of perfume near by. Next time you smell something like this in your local maritime woods look down and you might see a few of these Hydnellum sauveolens which are not edible but a sweet find just the same.Hope you get a chance to fill your senses with all fall has to offer especially in these mature  mossy conifer areas which unfortunately are becoming rarer as of late. Ciao

 

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

August Maritime Mushrooms

1 Aug

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Here I am going into a Chanterelle patch.

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Exiting the Chanty patch I turn around to see lots of orange untouched mushrooms on the ground where I’ve passed. Gently tip toeing through and reaching out is important to disturb the moss as little as possible, also leave plenty of mature and small mushrooms. This will benefit you for decades down the road as long as the forest isn’t harvested.

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Next a nice Lobster Mushroom.

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For adventurist Maritime mycophile there seems to be lots of Albatrellopsis confluens out in forest today. In Europe this mushroom is eaten but rated far lower than its common look alike Sheep Polypore. Some folks in Colorado on the other hand claim Albatrellopsis confluens is better than Sheep Polypore as an edible. I find Sheep Polypore is hard to beat though I’m going to give this A confluens another chance to sway me over.

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If you are interested in trying this sometimes common Maritime mushroom you must only sample a few bites the first time which is recommended for any new wild food and make sure you thinly slice and cook at medium heat for over 10 minutes.  The mushroom should turn pinkish while cooking, if it turns lemon yellow it will be a Sheep Polypore. Click on the 2nd photo to notice the smooth pore surface with tiny pin holes, this mushroom often bruises pink or light orange when handled. These are large mushrooms you will notice from afar.

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August shades of the colourful Russula mushrooms, these ones shown here are from mixed and conifer forest as I passed through both on my mile or so of foraging today. I won’t get into the edibility of the Russula mushrooms I’ve shown you here as I can’t even identify some of them, there are over a 100 different reddish Russula along so you can understand my dilemma, nevertheless Russula mushroom as a rule are one of the safer edible groups though there are a few very hot tasting ones you do not want chew on and a few which bruise black which people have had short term stomach issues with, of course seeing these lovely life forms is every bit as pleasant as the food some of them safely provide, with that in mind I hope you’re enjoying all the colors of your local August forest where ever you are. ciao

Awaken to a Chanterelle dream

27 Jul

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This photo was so magically hazy I had to find away to place it in the post. A few hundred chanterelle on this steep hillside made for some pleasant shady picking. Click on the photo to see all the little orange ones all over the place.

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A closer Chanterelle look but still a little groggy.

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Now in this Maritime dreamland there are more than just Chanterelles as here we see a bolete in the King Bolete clan.

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Check the bottom of the stem to see if it is still solid and no significant worm holes and this one as you can see is in good shape for eating.

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I’ve found this mushrooms conifer cousin before on mature eastern hemlock but here is my first run in with Chicken of the Woods, Laetiporus sulphureus which you will only find on hardwoods, usually the uncommon red oak in my area, unfortunately.

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Some may have a reaction to Laetiporus so start with a small amount the first time out. This is day 2 for me with this mushroom as an edible and really enjoyed it cooked in butter then made into a sandwich with lettuce and mayo, the initial try was a piece the size of a dried apricot sliced in 1/4″ strips and fried in olive oil for 10 minutes which was over cooked but I could see potential. So concludes this dreamy Maritime mushroomy post. ciao

Chaga in a winter hinterland

1 Jan

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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.

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Summer view (July 24/2015) of same chaga mushroom.

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A photo capturing some of the snowiness of the day.

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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 Yahoo-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

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

A litter of Cats

18 Oct

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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.

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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.

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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.