A Group Of Hunters

A group of mushroom hunters in the woodsI have been mostly going solo into the woods for mushroom hunting expeditions, but recently I had the opportunity to guide two couplesĀ  into the forest to seek out the golden Chanterelles.

I had warned the group ahead of time that there are terrain issues if one isn’t prepared for the adventure. Sturdy, waterproof shoes, lightweight clothing (because it is work both going uphill and down), baseball caps to protect faces from vine maple, twigs and brush, and reflective vests being that we are currently in hunting season. The vest surprised my visitors since they believed that we would be on my own private property. I agreed that we would only be hunting on our farm but it is also rifle deer season and private property signs on the edges of the place to not assure that hunters would not wander in. Continue reading

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A New Fall Favorite

A crockpot full of mushroom coconut curry soupI am partial to filling up the crock pot by 5am with any vegetables I can scrounge out of the garden and forgetting about it until about 5pm. My fall go-to recipe is potato soup and adding milk or cream just before serving.

The basic potato soup goes to a whole new level with just a couple of added ingredients. Continue reading

Mushroom Season Heating Up

The wild Chanterelle crop last year was dismal, the weather patterns held dry when we needed moisture in the woods to get the conditions just right for the fungus to grow abundantly. Oh sure, we had enough meager gatherings to enjoy a few meals, get a smattering dehydrated for the winter months and freeze a couple quart bags full of cubes for stews, but we did not have the bounty we enjoyed a couple of years ago. Continue reading

Fake-a-Roo And The Real Thing

I was helping Mike fall a large hemlock tree by carrying the axe and four wedges to the base of the tree before the sawing commenced when a bit of yellow color caught my eye.

Whoopie! I thought to myself, the first Chanterelle had popped up. Mike noticed that I was not paying any attention to my duties and looked at the yellow spot. He knew instantly that it was not a delicious mushroom immediately and he was several yards away. The color just wasn’t right. I wanted to examine it closer just to make sure and when I pulled the foliage away saw a large specimen pretty close.

a false ChanterelleOnce I lifted it out of the Oregon Grape and wild blackberry vines, I too could see that not only was the color quite right, the fins did not run down the stem and the stem itself was not Chanterelle characteristics.

I broke it open to find a very spongy middle, another sure sign of a fake-a-roo. Disappointed but sure was glad that I confirmed the imposter before I tried making a meal out of it.

Within a couple days, I did find the gold of the forest that I have been on the lookout for. The first Chanterelle was hiding in the protected cuff of an old-growth fir tree stump and was just barely popping out of the duff.

The yellow was definitely the perfect color with the outside a lighter orange. The fins ran right down the stem and the root pulled away from the dirt and cast off needles perfectly.

A large amount of Chanterelle mushroomsWithin an hour, I had a bucketful of beautiful beauties.

Some are already so large they would not be considered prime or #1’s, but they are perfectly acceptable to cook and eat. The bounty has begun.

Note To Self

Many of you wonder why I write daily stories on the blog site. There are many, many reasons why with the big one being, why not? I have always loved stories, loved to share stories, I am forgetful and like to be able to look back and see what happened when, and I am practicing to be a grownup, to name just a few. Writing things seems to make information stick in my brain longer than if I were to just say I needed to remember something (it is a tactile spacial acuity thing), if I can type or write out directions or problems, they hang around longer than when I am running the tractor without pen or paper available. Continue reading

Enjoy A Little, Save A Little

Sauted mushrooms in cupcake pan for freezing. Out of the meager harvest from the woods walk the other day, I was able to enjoy half of the fresh chanterelles and hedgehogs, the other half was set aside for future use.

The mushrooms were cleaned, chopped and placed in a saute pan. A quick sear made the mushrooms start to release their moisture.

As soon as I could see the moisture, I removed the mushrooms from the heat. Half of the mushrooms were spooned with the liquid into a mini cupcake pan (the silicone rubbery pans make the process to release easy without the need for any added grease or oil).

The frozen mushroom pods are popped out and placed in a zip bag. The bags store well in the freezer for use throughout the winter and into the spring and summer months. One, two or three can be added to soups, stew and casseroles.

The other half of the sauteed mushrooms were added to a butter sauce and served over steamed rice for dinner.

 

Last Hurrah

It has not been a very productive mushroom season this year. First it was way too dry, then once the rains came it brought a cold front that hampered growing. Before the fungi could get growing again, very heavy rains beat the fragile stems to pulp.

With the forecast calling for freezing weather during the next week, I took one last foray into the woods for what will most likely be the last of the mushroom crop for this year.

Chanterelle mushrooms.Pickings were slim and the chanterelles that I did find were small and very water-logged. There is enough to make a good meal, but that is about all.

I did however, find a few hedgehog mushrooms during my search.

I found a clear picture on The Mushroom Forager webpage,

Hedgehog mushrooms.Hedgehogs are more rare to find than the chanterelle. They are usually found a little later in the season and they don’t seem to get as water-logged as the chanterelles.

Hedgehogs are not prolific and are very particular about where they grow. I know of three different patches on our property and they can usually be found in their patches each year, but I have never found more than ten in any particular patch.

Hedgehog mushrooms.The ones I found are dwarfed by the single chanterelle that is at the bottom of the picture.

They are a real treat and the only hedgehogs that I have found this year.