The Ahh Haa Moments

To see the whole story with pictures and recipe, go to SchmidlinAngusFarms.com!

There are times in life when something comes along to make you wonder why. Why hadn’t I thought of this before, why hadn’t I heard of this, why hadn’t I thought of it???

I had one of those thoughts recently, it was one of those niggling little snippets of a conversation that had been rolling around in my noggin for several days. Now when I say a couple of days, that is a big fib. When I think back it wasn’t  just a couple of days ago when this all started, it has been more than a month since it was when Chanterelle season had begun to heat up. I was sharing some of the bounty with my Monday morning classmates when V. asked if I had ever had them pickled.

I said no I hadn’t, then went on to say that I had baked, stewed, marinated, dehydrated, froze, casseroled and souped. I have served them whole when roasted, sliced into mushroom steaks and grilled, broiled with marinara sauce and Parmesan for my own version of Parmigiana. I have made them with butter sauce and linguine, in spaghetti dinners, and as a side dish for nearly every occasion, but hadn’t tried pickling. It had never occurred to me and I couldn’t picture anything but the tiniest of buttons being firm enough to go through the cooking and pickling process without turning to mush. The subject was dropped when class was over and everyone took their little baggie of shared mushrooms home.

Thinking back on the conversation, I thought I should have asked for more information about the pickling process and was going to follow up during the next class but my friend V. was not there that day. So I sent a text. Ahh Haa, I said to myself, that was much easier than I thought, when V. sent a link to click. But my Ahh Haa was short lived because I was busy on the farm so I sent the link to one of my other friends who had canned some mushrooms for me earlier (by the way, Thank You S. for your time, effort and canning ability).

A few more days go by and S. says that she would have shared the pickled mushrooms with me but she ate them all. No biggie, I thought to myself and picked her a another bucketful to practice her kitchen craft.

It was about this time when the weather turned winter-like. So I picked the last of the mushrooms of the forest before our very cold week of low 20 degree weather destroyed the mushroom crop, and stowed away enough to fill the vegetable bin in the fridge. Days went by and time was running out since my refrigerated mushrooms would not last through the time I will be away from the farm. I did not want to dehydrate any more because my pantry is full, all the little baggies filled with the saute and freeze cubes are more than enough for several winters, and we had been having mushrooms in most meals with still some left. I broke down and went in search of that pickle recipe through the myriad of texts, I got the link for a website and realized that all one needs to do to find the answer for oneself is to type pickled Chanterelle mushrooms into the search bar and that exact information comes up, recipes and all for several versions!

Ahh Haa I said to myself, this looks pretty darn good and there are many recipes to chose from! Not willing to make things too easy for myself, I came up with my own recipe and it is DELICIOUS! Why had I not done this before? Why did I have to wait until the very last moment to try something new? How come I don’t have a fridge full of mushrooms to make batches and batches of deliciousness? Anyway, since I do not necessarily follow directions, I came up with my own recipe.

The Last Of Mushroom Season

The weather has turned colder and the temperature dipped into the 20’s at night. Fearing the cold will end the wild mushroom gathering season, I went out into the forest for a final mushroom foray.

The hunt began on the far west ravine of our forest. I walked/scrambled up the steep inclines with two buckets, my trusty mushroom knife on a lanyard around my neck, both dogs Jackson and Butler rushing through the wildlife trails, and my library audio book reading chapter after chapter to keep me company. It was a foggy morning when I had begun the trek at the bottom of the hill but by the time I was half-way to the top, the fog was gone and blue sky danced through breaks in the canopy above me. Continue reading

Overnight Delicacy

Susan’s note: This site is nearly out of data space, at last check less than .08%  is left even after deleting and downsizing. I will continue to post on this page as long as I can before I am blocked completely. If you would like to see the whole story including pictures, please visit the new farm blog at SchmidlinAngusFarms.com or simply click this link. The follow button is now working on the new site, even if you signed up before, the connection did not go through due to some very technical keystrokes that I failed to execute. By trying the follow button now, you will be prompted to insert your email address and will get an email to attest that you are indeed a human. If you see the words ‘Cowpies to Treetops’ below the heading of Schmidlin Angus Farms, you know that you are connected. Thank you for hanging in with me on this journey of switching.

You may have noticed that I like mushrooms from the amount of stories that I share. There are other things that I forage for about the farm but the mushrooms are by far some of my most favorite. Besides the variety of fall mushrooms that pop up in the forest, there are a couple of varieties that pop up right in my yard and garden. Continue reading

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 couples  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

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.