Black Trumpet Mushroom

Black Trumpet Mushroom

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Return of the blewits

I was going for an xmas blewit harvest but I didn't want to risk tonight's cold destroying them. But still I'd say an edible mushroom harvest on Dec. 23rd in upstate New York is pretty remarkable.

I'll remember 2012 as the year of the blewit harvest that wouldn't quit. It started on Oct. 22nd and just kept going and going. The photo shows some that were gathered on Nov. 25th.

In the meantime there have been several nights that were in the 20s along with some snow and sleet but somehow they stayed alive and kept growing. I had to wait for the snow to melt off the top of the one's I gathered today.  I'm guessing that the decomposing mulch helped keep the temp up, that plus the fact that the mulch is on a slope that faces south.

I'll cook those last blewits with some string beans as a side dish for xmas dinner.

Happy holidays everyone. Let's all hope for a soggy summer and early fall in 2013.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Tasty Blewits

Its pretty ironic that this year, of the mushrooms I've actually harvested and eaten, about 90% were within 100 feet of my front door. Including these Blewits growing in the mulch in my side yard. There have also been many Shaggy Manes fruiting in my yard that make up the rest of the bulk of my skimpy 'haul' in this dry summer of 2012.

These are the first blewits that I've eaten and I must admit that I was a little hesitant. The young blewits didn't look very purple at all, in fact I never would have considered them except that they were growing close by the larger specimens you see in the photo. If you look at the large caps you can see a purple rim which is a good tell for blewits. However I still recommend you do a spore print to make sure you don't get a cort, a poisonous lookalike. There is no mistaking a spore print of a cort, it will be rust red. The print I took of my blewits was very light with a hint of yellow.

I cooked them up with fennel and a light cream sauce...Very good...Not on par with my beloved maitakes or chanterelles but definitely worth the effort.

We finally had a decent soaking rain yesterday. This weekend I'll make a last ditch effort to find some late season hens (maitakes) before calling it quits. Wish me luck.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Follow the rain...

Its not the prettiest specimen perhaps but what you see there is my first maitake for 2012. (It turned out to be my first and ONLY maitake find in '12). I've already cooked it up and eaten some and it's delicious.

We've finally had some rain around here but, except for a large patch of what I believe are honey mushrooms, there hasn't been much to speak of coming up locally. I think we need a lot of rain to overcome the very dry soil conditions from earlier in summer.

So I used the precipitation map here... find out where the most rain fell. I noticed that there's a National Forest just to the west of where I live that had an extra 1-2" of rain from a recent storm...So today I hopped in my car and a short drive later I was foraging around a park where the ground was noticeably wetter and there were quite a lot of mushrooms around.

Which goes to show you...You might have the perfect spot but if that spot hasn't had rain for 3 weeks you're not going to find many mushrooms. Sometimes you have to follow the rain.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Chicken of the Woods

Well its been a hot, dry summer and consequently not much to write about. But finally we had *some* rain here in central NY (not a lot) so I took a walk in the woods to see what I could find...

This is a chicken of the woods that fruits on a log not too far from my house. Last year I had a large fruiting in early July I believe. This year it finally showed up on Sept 7th, rather late in the year for this mushroom.

I left it there for now. We're supposed to get some rain tomorrow but if we don't I'm going to try and pour water on it to get it to grow. I'll let you know how it goes.

btw...I know Chicken of the Woods isn't a choice edible but I happen to think its pretty tasty if you harvest it while its still young. If it grows much beyond the size of your hand then it gets woody and loses its flavor. If you're going to eat an older Chicken of the Woods then save the outer 2-3 inches and toss the rest.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Rainy days...

We've had our share of rain around here lately, unfortunately its too early for chanterelles and too late for morels so its not doing us much good in the choice edibles department. Still its always fun to go out there and see what's popping....Like this newly fruited small reishi, a valued medicinal mushroom. I didn't harvest it since its close by but I'll keep an eye on it. It'll be interesting to see how much it continues growing.

This young reishi is easily identified by the white tip and glossy varnished look it has on the base. Later it will turn mostly brown but will retain the varnished look. To prepare it chop it up as best you can (its tough) and boil it for 1-2 hours in water. Filter and serve...Not very tasty but what good medicine is?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

First find...

May 2nd. First edible find for 2012. Winecaps or King Stropharia, and it was a nice patch too, but I won't be eating any of these. Why? Because I found them on some wood chips while playing golf and you should never eat any mushrooms found on or around golf courses since they are notorious for using all sorts of fertilizer and pesticides. Still it was an interesting find for me because I haven't foraged winecaps before, which is odd because they're fairly common. Note the cap of the one on the upper right...The distinctive wine color is washed out to the point where it looks like any common brown mushroom. These probably fruited during a heavy rain we had 10 days ago and were starting to get old.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Morels in Feb? Not so fast...

I was pretty sure I had put this blog to bed at least until late April when morel season starts, but we're having a very warm winter this year so today I went out for a little forage.

62 yesterday and in the 50s today, I was hoping I might come across a morel which would be rare and amazing find at this time of year.

Mike brought be back to earth by pointing out that the soil was still a good 10 degrees too cold for morels. So no morel fame for me today but not a total bust. I found many newly fruiting LBMs (little brown mushrooms) and a few tough black mushrooms (Hydnellum regium I believe) that had survived long into our mild winter.

As always, it was a great excuse for a lovely walk in the woods.