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OldBear's Foraging


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#1 OldBear

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Posted 01 November 2018 - 12:20 PM

Got most of my firewood split over the past fortnight & was feeling a bit lazy this morning, so went through my pics from this year's foraging and picked out some to share together with some stories that go with them.

I was walking through the woods at our new place -- let's call it Bear Swamp -- and a bit of bright yellow on an old stump caught my eye. Looking closer, I saw the prettiest patch of yellow fairy cups, with some purple jelly drops nestled in the moss. My favorite pic in quite awhile.
Yellow fairy cups & purple jelly drops


This was our first spring at Bear Swamp, and we were fortunate to find yellow morels growing under an old ash tree. Thus began our feasting this year -- cuz Bear Swamp provides!
Morel 2018.04


After the morels were past, we were blessed with bountiful harvests of chicken of the woods, which we found growing in four separate locations at Bear Swamp this spring & early summer. For those of you that haven't had the good fortune to try chicken of the woods (Laetiporus sulphureus), it has the taste and texture of chicken & can be substituted for chicken in a recipe. We did ours primarily on the grill with various marinades. I was serving cold leftovers to folks & they loved it. I have bunch dried in mason jars for the winter.
Chicken 3

Chicken Of The woods medium


Chicken of the woods has been found to inhibit bacterial growth. We let a number of fruits stay in place, and they slowly decomposed over the course of the summer, but with no discernible bacterial or fungal growth on them. Good medicine.

We were also tickled to find maitake (Grifola frondosa) growing under a pair of old black cherry trees.

maitake tree

Maitake cluster

maitake wheelbarrow

We harvested about half the maitake we found -- a total of 16 pounds when cleaned & processed. Made tons of soup & have about 10 lbs (wet weight) dried in mason jars that we're tossing in various recipes.

The biggest edible surprise this year was a huge patch of mushrooms -- over 50 fruits with more sprouting -- growing under an evergreen.

rhacodes patch
I was unfamiliar with the species, but it looked at first blush like an amanita. That evening I was able to identify them as the shaggy parasol,
(Chlorophyllum rhacodes), which were listed as "choice, with caution".
Fortunately, there was a quick test to distinguish it from C. molybdites, a toxic relative for which it is often mistaken, apart from the green spore print characteristic of the molybdites -- the rhacodes, when freshly cut, changes color from white to saffron yellow to orange & finally to maroon.

C. rhacodes color change


In addition to being plentiful, the rhacodes were also delicious -- I'd compared them favorably for taste & texture to a morel.

I'm really impressed with this species as a choice edible, and distributed a number of the fruits to other locations on Bear Swamp in the hope that I can get them flourishing. I've also made a couple extra spore prints if anyone is interested. I'll be starting some MS cultures in the future when spring rolls around again. They grow on leaf debris & seem to me to be symbiotic with healthy trees.

rhacodes sprouts


The woods at Bear Swamp have a secret -- a foundation structure from abandoned railroad that we call the ruins. This year the ruins produced honey mushrooms with identified anti-tumor properties.
ruins honey

Here's a closeup of the honey mushrooms at the ruins.
honey ruins

Slug on honeys

honey slug



Crowned coral fungus -- edible & has a peppery taste.

Crown Tip coral


Local hericium -- tastes like lobster when sautéed -- start with olive oil & add butter when almost done. Best when young.

Comb Tooth

Comb tooth closeup



Yellow coral of an undetermined species
Yellow Coral


Wood chip imports --
Elegant stinkhorn emerging from "egg"
Stinkhorn

Stinky squids
stink squids


Orange Mycena
Orange Mycena



Scarlet Bee Balm a/k/a Oswego Tea. Contains bergamot oil & was used for tea by both the early colonists & old bears everywhere. Leaves can be crushed into a poultice & applied to insect stings, hence the name "bee balm".
Scarlet Bee Balm Patch


Each flower head is actually a sphere of individual flowers.
Scarlet Bee Balm flower



Ganoderma tsugae, our local reishi species
Reishi Swamp Tree

Reishi stump


Around the same time I found the rhacodes, I found some gorgeous amanita muscaria var. guessowii
A.muscaria


In addition to the one pictured here, there were 7 other large fruits that I was going to let grow & sporulate before harvesting. But when I went to check on them the next day, they were all gone!

I could see teeth marks at the base where the stipes used to be -- deer had eaten them all overnight. A little research confirmed that our four legged friends do in fact like to catch a buzz on these babies. Santa & his flying reindeer, eh?

I was more careful & placed pails over the fruits from the next flush, which have been dried for further experimentation.


A.muscaria In hand



But that's another story...

Edited by OldBear, 01 November 2018 - 01:06 PM.

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#2 onediadem

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Posted 01 November 2018 - 01:05 PM

Wow! What a fabulous plethora of mushroom species! Thank you for sharing. That is the ultimate treasure hunt for me.


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#3 PJammer24

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Posted 01 November 2018 - 01:12 PM

Are we sure that they "yellow coral" is a coral species? Typically coral doesn't grow up from the leave litter like that. There could be wood under the leaf litter... I am confident that you would not have made the assertion unless you were sure but I wanted to inquire for discussions sake.

 

I didn't find any maitake (hen of the woods) this season... I got a late start though since I was hemmed up with my movement restricted for a good while there... 

 

I am not a huge chicken of the woods fan... I think the texture is cool but I am of the opinion that it is a little bland... if any of you are trying it for the first time, tread lightly... Approximately 40% of people do not tolerate it very well and it can be rough on the stomach and also cause swelling of the lips etc... That being said, it is one of the easiest mushrooms to identify on a foraging expedition...

 

 

So... Mr. No Longer Young Bear, do you find a lot of shrimp of the woods in your area? Aborted Entoloma? The honey mushrooms spots are a good place to start looking. Shrimp of the woods is one of my FAVORITES... If cooked properly (browned) they are absolutely delicious... I am big on texture and they really do have the texture of shrimp....


Edited by PJammer24, 01 November 2018 - 01:17 PM.


#4 OldBear

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Posted 01 November 2018 - 01:32 PM

Are we sure that they "yellow coral" is a coral species? Typically coral doesn't grow up from the leave litter like that. There could be wood under the leaf litter... I am confident that you would not have made the assertion unless you were sure but I wanted to inquire for discussions sake.
 
I didn't find any maitake (hen of the woods) this season... I got a late start though since I was hemmed up with my movement restricted for a good while there... 
 
I am not a huge chicken of the woods fan... I think the texture is cool but I am of the opinion that it is a little bland... if any of you are trying it for the first time, tread lightly... Approximately 40% of people do not tolerate it very well and it can be rough on the stomach and also cause swelling of the lips etc... That being said, it is one of the easiest mushrooms to identify on a foraging expedition...
 
 
So... Mr. No Longer Young Bear, do you find a lot of shrimp of the woods in your area? Aborted Entoloma? The honey mushrooms spots are a good place to start looking. Shrimp of the woods is one of my FAVORITES... If cooked properly (browned) they are absolutely delicious... I am big on texture and they really do have the texture of shrimp....


So....

Not at all sure of the coral & probably should have said “coral-like”. Have run into it a couple times & will pay more attention the next time to see if we can get the species nailed down. I just liked the picture.

Shrimp of the woods you say? Your post was the first time I’ve heard the term & did some research online. Pretty sure I have seen them in my wanders & was wondering what they were. We’ve had a balmy past couple days & everything is still soaked from the constant rains. Will keep an eye open & see what I can find.

#5 PJammer24

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Posted 01 November 2018 - 02:35 PM

 

Are we sure that they "yellow coral" is a coral species? Typically coral doesn't grow up from the leave litter like that. There could be wood under the leaf litter... I am confident that you would not have made the assertion unless you were sure but I wanted to inquire for discussions sake.
 
I didn't find any maitake (hen of the woods) this season... I got a late start though since I was hemmed up with my movement restricted for a good while there... 
 
I am not a huge chicken of the woods fan... I think the texture is cool but I am of the opinion that it is a little bland... if any of you are trying it for the first time, tread lightly... Approximately 40% of people do not tolerate it very well and it can be rough on the stomach and also cause swelling of the lips etc... That being said, it is one of the easiest mushrooms to identify on a foraging expedition...
 
 
So... Mr. No Longer Young Bear, do you find a lot of shrimp of the woods in your area? Aborted Entoloma? The honey mushrooms spots are a good place to start looking. Shrimp of the woods is one of my FAVORITES... If cooked properly (browned) they are absolutely delicious... I am big on texture and they really do have the texture of shrimp....


So....

Not at all sure of the coral & probably should have said “coral-like”. Have run into it a couple times & will pay more attention the next time to see if we can get the species nailed down. I just liked the picture.

Shrimp of the woods you say? Your post was the first time I’ve heard the term & did some research online. Pretty sure I have seen them in my wanders & was wondering what they were. We’ve had a balmy past couple days & everything is still soaked from the constant rains. Will keep an eye open & see what I can find.

 

 

I have some photos of the shrimpy little buggers in my gallery... They really are one of my favorite finds... They have been EVERYWHERE this fall... The Entoloma and the Honey Fungus have a parasitic relationship that results in the aborted entoloma aka shrimp of the woods... There is some debate as to which of the mushrooms is actually being aborted, I have read speculation that goes both ways...


Edited by PJammer24, 01 November 2018 - 02:35 PM.

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#6 jkdeth

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Posted 01 November 2018 - 06:02 PM

The yellow coral like one may be spathularia flavida, yellow earth tongue.

#7 OldBear

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Posted 02 November 2018 - 08:09 AM

I thought the same thing, but was also wondering if it could be a yellow tuning fork variety, either Calocera viscosa or C. cornea.

Will pay closer attention next time. There’s been a lot to discover. We’ve had the wettest year on record for our neck of the woods and still have green leaves on some trees on Nov 2. Used to be leaves would all be down by Halloween.

btw -

I omitted our favorite foraging target: turkey tails! A cup of turkey tail tea before bed is a fine evening ritual.

 

Turkey Tail Horizontal

Edited by OldBear, 02 November 2018 - 09:33 AM.

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#8 Alan Rockefeller

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Posted 05 November 2018 - 11:43 AM

The yellow coral like one may be spathularia flavida, yellow earth tongue.

 

It's an undescribed species of Clavulinopsis which is currently going under the misapplied name Clavulinopsis fusiformis in North America.


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