Tag Archives: wild mushrooms

Russula mustelina, maybe

10 Aug

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As a group the Russula mushrooms are extremely difficult for foragers and mycologist to identify other than for a few standouts, so field characteristics and spore stuff equally tough to figure out, the red capped Russula mushrooms may have over 100 species to choose from. Usually unless I’m 100% sure of the ID I won’t try a new mushroom for the table but Russula mushrooms are the exception as without any deadly poisonous mushrooms in my area you can experiment with this group a tiny bit. All the mushroom photos on this post are the same mushroom type at different stages of growth.

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I started with this brown capped Russula last year as it is the most common Russula growing in the conifer forest I also gather my Chanterelle mushrooms in. The starting point for doing this is to be able to clearly know if you are picking a Russula mushroom, if you have any doubts do not try what I mention next. After getting some sound advise from a well seasoned forager on the rules for dealing with Russulas I decided to give it a go.

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In my area there are probably around 10 different brownish Russula, I was already familiar with 2 of these mushrooms as for decades I would often smell the (not to be eaten) almond scented Russula which appears in good numbers in many Maritimes mixed forest and the very common Russula compacta which smells of fish oil and blackens with age, although edible R compacta has a reputation of not agreeing with everyone so that is a good enough reason to leave it off my list.

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So with 2 brown Russula mushrooms off my edible list it was time to try at least one of the other common ones and to do this all I had to do was take a small piece of the raw mushroom and chew it for awhile, if my mouth gets hot or the taste is unpleasant I probably have found a Russula mushroom I would not want to eat, also I should add to spit out the piece you have chewed and it is probably best not to swallow while chewing even if you have found a nice nutty flavoured Russula, so if good fortune had come your way and the taste was mild during your sampling you will have found a safe Russula for cooking and the ones in these photos are one of the many very good edible mushrooms in the Russula family.

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Once you do find a good edible Russula you probably don’t want to taste it raw ever time you gather one so next it is prudent to get familiar with its characteristics in all stages of growth. This one I suspect is R mustelina which has some traits which are quite consistent, (1) bugs do not invade even mature mushroom stem which is rare for Russula mushrooms. (2) stem is deep in soil which is rare. (3) stem is long and often is bulgy which is rare. (4) stem firm, when mature still firm but will hollow or is softening in inner core. (5) cap color is dark brown usually with some yellow shades. (6) Cap when young is sticky and usually will hold some dirt on it, it will become dry as it flattens in maturity. (7) cap peels very easily at least halfway to center. (8) little scent. (9) When cap flattens at maturity there will be brown stains midway on the gills. (10) gills firm when young, crumbly brittle when mature. (11) Mature mushroom stains brown on stem and gills, but do not blacken. (12) taste always mild. (13) In groups under conifers starting close to 1000 ft above sea level. (14) One of the first Russula mushrooms to appear in the summer in New Brunswick. If you are familiar with Russula mushrooms you will notice this one is quite unique when you add these points up.

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One thing I didn’t find was much N.A information on folks eating this mushroom here. In Europe it seems it is enjoyed by some folks in the mountainous areas of Spain, France and Italy with some considering it an excellent edible. It has a common name in those countries which is the weasel mushroom, but I should mention again I just eat this mushroom and officially do not know its name other than it is definitely a brown capped Russula which matches up well with info I have on R mustelina, with most other wild mushroom families this type of experimenting would be dangerous so even with the Russula mushrooms this is something you should never try unless you are a very experienced wild mushroom forager and are receiving expert advise along the way. ciao

Back in the saddle again

22 May

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Here is a close up of a young Dryad’s saddle AKA pheasant’s back mushroom (Polyporus squamosus). It has a very unmushroomy scent something like watermelon rind.

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I originally tried Dryad’s saddle around 30 years ago and haven’t given it a second chance till I found a young mushroom last fall and decided to see if anyone had any recipes on the web for this mushroom as I usually during those days of old only tried new wild mushrooms fried in butter with a touch of salt and Dryad’s saddle at that time wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t in the same league as Cep or Chanterelle.

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As you can see I have my tent pole out again and these mushrooms are in around 13 feet of the ground. The recipe I did find last fall changed my mind completely on the quality of Dryad’s saddle as a wild edible mushroom though I didn’t follow the recipe fully as no pesto or cream were added to the mushrooms and onions, though I did cut the mushrooms into the small pieces as they suggested, instead of the pesto and cream  I added some sea salt and plain whole milk yogurt after the heat was turned of the mushrooms and it was one of the nicest wild mushroom surprises of the year for me. Here is the recipe from eatweeds.co.uk      www.youtube.com/watch?v=kc3ifsbQapo

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You may also find Dyrad’s saddle AKA Pheasant’s back mushroom on downed Elm trees which makes for easy pickings, but that wasn’t the case for me today, they are much harder to knock out of the trees than oyster mushrooms as you can see these came down in pieces from the outer edges which happens to be the most tender part of the mushroom. click on to have a look at the tops and under side of the mushroom. These are common along river floodplains where many old elms died off from dutch elm disease in recent decades.

Burly mountain memoirs

21 Aug

Some Burly Caledonia Mountain, Albert Co, NB Balsam fir trees.

A few mountain mushrooms.

Lobster mushroom

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Garlic Marasmius, these little mushrooms do smell quite garlicy and many of them appear to be growing on the end of just one decomposing Balsam fir needle. This is my first collection of this very common tiny mushroom in this area.

I never seen or talked to anyone out in this neck of the woods, though I get the message it is best to watch my Ps and Qs up here.

I’ve consumed enough for today, time to head home with a half tank left and 20 miles to go. Ciao for now

Selenite, chaga steaks and tea post

24 Mar

Just relaxing enjoying a chaga tea while viewing a blewit I entered in my image page last night.

Since a nice chunk of Selenite was already on our step, it seems only polite for it to share the spot light with the Chaga steaks I’ve sliced for drying today. If you are going to dry your own Chaga I suggest you keep your temperature around 120 degrees F or below.

Click on the photo below to see the many thin transparent  layer.

Here is a  close up of the Selenite, this particular piece I collected 25 years ago just under the water level of a steep banked sinkhole pond, I had a challenging time getting down to it as I noticed it shining from the opposite side of the pond and ended up laying head first from the bank feeling for it and eventually was able to bring it up. Travelling that area is interesting as many of the sinkholes are collapsed caves, one small lake in the area is over 200 ft deep. At the time of my Selenite collection it appeared to be freshly exposed earth with the transparent gypsum peeking out here and there.I wasn’t sure what it was then, other than it was unusual, I bought the audubon field guide for rocks and minerals soon after and this made my wild food  adventures even more enjoyable as it opened my eyes a little wider to things in general. Have a great weekend naturally.

Chaga and shelving tooth

22 Mar

Last evening I was out foraging for some wild Enoki mushrooms (Flammulina velutipes) when I noticed this very large group of Shelving tooth (climacodon septentrionale) as I approached a hundred feet closer I was pleasantly surprised to find a nice Chaga mushroom (Inonotus Obliquus) on the next tree beside it as my Chaga supply is getting a little low. You may need to click on the photo to see the Chaga.

This Shelving tooth was in exceptional shape as it would have come to fruit last Sept or Oct, so it hung in valiantly throughout the winter.

Here is the under side of the shelving tooth, some folks also call this mushroom Northern tooth, notice the teeth instead of gills or pores.

Here is the Chaga mushroom up close.

Here is the Chaga trimmed up and ready to be chopped and taken home for slicing and drying.

My boot is a size 12 so this Chaga is around 10 inches by  six inches across, probably weighs 3 lbs before drying. If you have health issues take my advise, do some internet research on Chaga, I’m not selling it here, lots of folks are doing so on Ebay check it out. Look for a supplier who only harvest Chaga from living birches which produce leaves during the growing season.

Today we had record temperatures over 77 degrees with the day starting off around 40 degrees, a bit warm for maple sugar weather for the folks a mile down the road from the chaga and the boot, though many were out enjoying a taste at the sugar camp. cheers for now