Starting To Find More Mushrooms

A trip into the forest showed some new varieties of mushrooms this time.

Lobster mushroom.This was the first lobster mushroom of the season, it was firm and delicious. They do have a hint of a seafood flavor.

The lobster mushrooms are very delicate and they will ‘melt’ when they get rained on so it is not always possible to find good ones to harvest.

Cauliflower mushroom next to my hat.Mike spotted a cauliflower mushroom as he started down the hillside. In order to see the size, I threw my hat into the picture.

This one is really small compared to ones we usually harvest so we left it to grow for another week.

Cauliflowers are a specialty that are used in Asian cooking after soaking in a light salt brine and slicing into thin strips.

The Chanterelles are still not profuse yet, barring any killing frosts, they should be coming up by the bucketful.

 

Looking For a Mushroom Bounty

A colorful shelf mushroom found in late summer.As you can see from the picture, this shelf mushroom dwarfs my work glove on the right.

This specimen is called Chicken of the Woods. The outer edges are rubbery and I have been told they are edible when very young and tender, and they do have a chicken-ish flavor. Since I have yet to speak to an actual person that has consumed this particular variety and will share an eating experience with me, this is one that I will stick to just photos for now.

This was the only mushroom I was able to find on my walk through the woods on this day even though we had some good rains roll through the area about 10 days ago. It appears that the woods were dry enough with the string of 100 degree days about a month ago that the showers were not enough to do any more than just dampen the surface. The woods feel dry and dusty as I walked along deer trails and through the understory of brush.

Now, I will have to wait for at least another week before edible wild mushrooms will pop up in the woods and I will begin to ‘hunt’ again.

After The Work

My last post made it sound like I am a workhorse. Quite the contrary, I find time to enjoy life by getting some play in once in a while. It seems that sometimes the play is just as hard or harder than actual work.

After I had trimmed up the last tree on the logging road, I went for a woodland foray. Mike had told me that when he was driving the bulldozer up the logging road to bring a turn of timber down off the hill, he saw a mushroom that was growing.

Now you have to understand a couple of things about Mike. First, he has an uncanny sense about finding certain things like mushrooms, deer, elk, lost cows, a single bolt that fell into a pile of hay, or a miss-placed tool. He also has a mind like a steel trap and can remember a spot in the woods 250 feet off a deer trail that has a curve before a steep pitch, a fallen cedar snag on a north slope with a small dip on the other side that in the fall, supports a patch of hedgehog mushrooms.

So when he tells me that he saw a mushroom off to the side of the logging road, I keep my doubts to myself and go look for the mushroom I am positive he imagined.

Small branches from fir trees grow toward sunlight and block logging road.He told me to follow this deer trail heading toward the head of the canyon off the left side of the road just past the 2 steep pitches.

From the beginning of the deer trail, I could not see any mushroom, I could barely see the deer trail. I fought my way through the tangle of branches, at about 100 feet in, under a clump of sword fern, I saw a mushroom, one mushroom. Old eagle eye spotted one mushroom as he was driving the skid road. Amazing!

Since dinner would be rather puny if I only added one mushroom, I continued the walk around the head of the canyon. It really was a pleasant day and my work was done, so I continued. After another half hour of searching, I did find a few more chanterelles to add to my collection.

It was a good day, and the mushroom, elk sausage pizza that night was wonderful!

 

Making the Most of the Garden

First red potatoes of the season.I could not wait for the first potato plant to die before digging in for some baby red potatoes. This was the haul from one tire that surrounds and separates my potato hills.

Some of the potatoes are not so baby, I was surprised by just how much growth there was under a plant that was still trying to produce the underground tubers.

I had just harvested a head of broccoli that weighed about a pound and a half. Since it all headed out at the same time, I needed to come up with a meal that would use up the proliferation. This is where the garden and my freezer come in handy.

A crockpot full of beef, broccoli and mushrooms from the farm.

Large Crockpot Beef Broccoli

Overnight slow cook the toughest cut roast you can find in 1/2 c. soy sauce and 1 cup pulped Yellow Transparent Apple, garlic, onion.

Around noon, remove roast from crockpot and chop into bite size chunks

Reserve a cup of the meat juice from the pot and return chunked roast to crockpot still on low

! 1/2 hours before dinner, raid the garden

I added chopped potatoes, summer squash, kale, tomatoes, the whole pound and a half of broccoli and the handful of Chanterelle Mushrooms that I had left from my walk in the woods.

I mixed the reserved meat juice with 3 Tablespoons of Corn Starch for thickening, a splash of rice vinegar and added it to the crockpot.

Dinner was ready right on time, and my day was not spent in the kitchen.

 

 

It Really is Lobster-ish

For those who have been reading along with my blog for a while. You know that I enjoy fall days and mushroom hunting. Although I cannot name every mushroom in the forest, I only harvest the ones that I am absolutely positive are edible species. If in doubt, throw it out; this is my motto with any question about edibility.

Since the heavy rains we had, the forest is popping with mushrooms. I decided to take a one-bucket hike to see what the woods had in store. I figure I’m about two days away from having a large amount both in volume and diversity to choose from. The ground beneath the larger fir trees is now damp enough to support the fungus growths.

I was looking for chanterelles for dinner, Mike had been hunting deer the day before and said that they were starting to show under the more dense areas in the woods. I did find a handful of chanterelles, but I also found three lobster mushrooms. Continue reading

An Evening of Mushrooms

A table of mushrooms are being identified and labeled for a mycological meeting.Even though the weather has been unusually dry this year, people around the area were still able to find mushrooms to bring into a meeting held at the World Forestry Center in Portland.

I had the opportunity to attend the meetingĀ  and listen to the speakers during this evening event held recently.

One speaker was Ranger Dane Osis. He is the Forest Ranger stationed at Fort Stevens State Park on the Oregon Coast.

I try to attend events where he is the speaker. A very knowledgeable and funny storyteller, he weaves his personal stories into his informative talks. He is known to pull a crowd out of the classroom and into the woods in order to walk the talk.

The evening was informative and interesting. A special thank you to the Oregon Mycological Society for allowing the meeting to be open to the public. The room was packed with people.

It reminded me that with the chance of rain in the forecast, mushroom season will not be far behind.