Black Trumpet Mushroom

Black Trumpet Mushroom

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The competition...

Just a few weeks ago I was happy to find just one large hedgehog mushroom, so imagine how amazing it was to find a whole bag full (2 or 3 lbs).

Granted, I had some competition...The slugs seems to love hedgehogs as much as I do! It was interesting to note that while the top was often pockmarked with slug munching the underside was always in very nice shape, fresh and clean.

I realize that seeing this will put some people off eating these mushrooms but hey, this isn't a hobby for the squeamish. It didn't bother me at all. I gave them a quick rinse and into the the saute pan they went. And they were delicious...Similar to chanterelles but with more meatiness. Truly an underrated mushroom.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Hedgehog Joy, Maitake Angst

Found this nice sized hedgehog today. Usually I just find the small ones with 1 inch caps and its hard to find enough of those to do much with them as far as cooking goes. But this one will make a nice addition to an omelet just by itself.

I thought I was looking at a bolete until I flipped it over. Those hanging quill-like spores are a dead giveaway and that's why the hedgehog is considered one of the 'unmistakable' edibles.

I usually find the small ones in moss btw. This large one was sitting by itself near conifers.

The maitake season started quite early this year. The one pictured there to the right was discovered on August 17th and harvested on the 24th. I've already had the heartbreak of finding a maitake gone bad and that was on Aug 30th(!), what a crazy year...Its the same problem we had 2 years ago: We had a couple cool nights in the low 50s in mid-late August but then it got hot and muggy again just like it is now. The maitakes like the cool nights and start fruiting, but they don't keep long in the hot weather so you have to move quickly. There are 3 nice young maitakes I'm keeping an eye on but if it doesn't cool off and rain a little soon I'm afraid they'll go bad also.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Sound the Trumpets

If you ever wondered what a patch of black trumpets look like overhead, well they look pretty much exactly the same color as the grey, brown, black dead leaves all around them. This patch was fairly easy to spot only because there were some large, fully formed trumpets in there that caught my eye.

I was finding only young, thin trumpets until I stumbled across this patch today. Its been interesting this year to monitor some of my known trumpets spawning grounds and gain an appreciation for how slowly they grow. I've been looking at one patch of them for over a week now and have only harvested a few. Morels and chanterelles seem to pop up overnight by comparison.

Monday, July 29, 2013

From Golden to Smooth...

An interesting thing has happened in this great mushrooming summer...Over the course of one week the Chanterelles have gone from 90% Golden to 90% Smooth. I still find the occasional Golden as shown in the photo but when I find a good patch they're all Smooth. The big patches of Golden's are gone.

If you take a look at the photo you can see a good example of the difference between the two...The Golden is more solid with bigger gills. The Smooth is thinner with a wavy cap but not exactly 'smooth'. The gills are still visible, they're just fainter.

The Golden's are generally considered to be better tasting but I believe that's simply because they offer a bigger bite. I'd never turn down a plate of smooth chanterelles.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Chanterelle Fairy Ring

Here's something I thought was quite unique - a fairy ring of chanterelles. I've seen fairy rings of other mushrooms before but not of chanterelles.

I searched on google for something similar and couldn't find anything. BUT being as this is the 3rd chanterelle circle I've found this year I think its safe to say they're fairly common under the right conditions. [edit: I just searched wiki and found a reference to mushroom fairy rings but chanterelles were not listed has one of the species so maybe they are a bit rare.]

Unfortunately many of these mushrooms were a little past their prime with the edges starting to dry out and the cores gone spongy from the rain. Had I found this 5 or so days ago I would have walked away with 4-5 lbs of prime chanties. As it was I came away with about 2 lbs, still not too shabby.

If you're curious about fairy rings the theory is that the spores and mycelia (mycelia can be considered mushroom roots) underground push outward in search of the nutrients they need to grow thus creating a ring. So next year when I come back here - and you better believe I will be back - the ring will be a little wider and should grow more each year.

Its was interesting to see that the pine tree inside ring didn't disturb the grow of the circle.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Chanterelle bonanza...

Sorry I haven't been posting lately but I've been busy foraging during this amazing chanterelle season we've been having here.

I'm relatively new at this game but from what I've been hearing 2013 is shaping up to be a great year for chanterelles here in upstate New York and in the northeast US in general.

Not only am I finding a lot of chanties but I'm finding a lot of large ones (see pic), about 4 lbs so far. They're so large that you might mistake them for smooth chanterelles. Smooth chanterelles usually show up later in the season in August but actually, after doing some reading, it turns out that the distinction between between them is more blurry then I realized.

The smooth chanterelle is larger, has a wavy cap, and is 'smooth' meaning no gills. But in my experience they do have gills, just not well defined ones. Meanwhile the ones I've found are quite large, have a wavy cap, but the clear gills indicate that they are golden chanties not smooth. What I've read is that the gills will run the whole spectrum from clearly defined to barely detectable.

Most importantly - from my point of view anyway - is that they are both equally delicious. That being the case I don't really spend too much time id'ing them one way or the other.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


...As in 'Lots Of Looking, Not Much Finding'. That pretty much sums up morel hunting here in central New York. But what the heck in the early season you need to have something to look for right? So it was with low expectations that Mike and I went to one of my 2 known morel spots today. All things considered I'm not disappointed with the 'haul'. Its been very dry lately and last year I found zero morels so I'll take it.

I sauteed them with wild ramps and broccoli and they were delicious.

I've read a lot about where to look for morels; old apple trees, dying elms, etc...But for me here in central New York the only place I've found them is by mature Ash trees by a stream.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Not Dead Yet...

This is pretty funny...An inoculated shiitake log that I gave up on fruited! I've had it 2.5 years and tried a few times to soak it and get it to fruit with no luck. The only reason it was still getting wet was because I was using it to put it on top of my other logs so they would be submerged for their winter soak. That's why there are only those mushrooms on the one side of it, the side that was in the water.

On a related note I've decided that I love shiitakes mushrooms! They have a delicious nutty, woodsy, tea flavor and a meaty texture. They also dry well, retaining a lot of their flavor. This spring I plan to increase my production of inoculated logs. 

Edit: Well this is interesting...What you see here is a log inoculated with Shaggy Mane spores that never fruited. Imagine my surprise seeing a shiitake there! So there must have been a mistake right? I put the wrong spores in one of the holes, but it was growing on the surface of the bark not in a spore hole. I'm fairly certain that what happened was that some spores from the shiitake log jumped over to this one. I often would lean them against each other. 

So score another point for those tenacious shiitakes.