Black Trumpet Mushroom

Black Trumpet Mushroom

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Blewits have a mind of their own...

One thing about being a dog owner is that you find yourself walking in forests even when you have no real hope of finding any mushrooms. And so it was that Fred and I were out in the woods yesterday, after 8 days of no rain, getting our walk in and I spotted these fairly fresh light purple mushrooms. 'Corts' I assumed, but I grabbed one to do spore print (something you always want to do when ID'ing blewits) and sure enough they were blewits.

Not much of a haul but I was amazed that anything was fruiting. September was already dry and we just went through the driest period. Just goes to show you that some mushrooms have their own timetable. I guess the good early rains were enough for these blewits.

This is decidedly NOT the case for my beloved maitakes. Its October 1st and I've found zero maitakes. At this point we need an inch or more of rain to get things started and there's nothing like that in the forecast. Ah well...Last year I found my last one on Oct. 23rd so there's still hope.

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Big Three

Golden and Smooth Chanterelles with Black Trumpet. 8.2.14
From early to mid August was the peak of the 2014 gathering season and these are the mushrooms that made up 90% of my haul. Sure there was the occasional Chicken of the Woods or Oysters to be had but it was hard to get excited about gathering those when I already had a bag full of the choice edibles pictured on the left.

I'll always take Hedgehogs when I find them though, same with Lions Mane. Found my first Lions Mane yesterday, a nice reward on a day when there wasn't much else to be seen. But a lovely walk in the woods was had as always.

Sadly those heydays are over. The rains petered out in late August just like last year and I'm getting anxious about the effect this will have on the Maitake season. For now I think its safe to say that we're near the end of our 2nd epic Chanterelle season in a row. If anything I'd say this season was even better then last years because the rains were more spread out with periods of dry weather between so the chanties were less likely to get porous and waterlogged. I have several bags of sautéed chanties zipped locked in the freezer along with 3 bags of fresh ones in the fridge I still haven't found the time to deal with.

Chanterelles lookalike...

Not Chanterelles!
July 20th.

Oh my the rain just keeps coming. If I didn't have to work I'd have several pounds of golden Chanterelles by now. Hopefully this weekend I can make up for some lost time.

Chanterelles are some of the easiest mushrooms to spot and identify HOWEVER there are some lookalikes you should be aware of. The most notorious of which is the Jack O'Lantern mushroom pictured left.

The color and the gills might fool you a little. Also they have a sweet odor that you might mistake for the lovely scent of true chanties. But look at how they're growing - all in a clump with the stems all joined at the base. You'll never see a patch of chanterelles like this. They also have a more uniform deep orange color then the yellow to orange color of chanties.

If you're reading this with a growing sense of anxiety and an increasingly uncomfortable feeling in your stomach fear not, you won't die. You'll be in for a bad several hours but it'll pass. Just remember to keep yourself hydrated.

Edibility aside, Jack O' Lanterns have one very cool feature. They're bioluminescent. If you find a good patch come back at night, let your eyes completely adjust to the dark and you'll see an eerie glow coming from the underside of the mushrooms.