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The many facets of mushroom hunting


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#1 solidago

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Posted 26 September 2020 - 01:15 AM

The quest for wild mushrooms can lead to so much more. I've found arrowheads, blueberries, pawpaws, medicinal/edible plants, often with seeds or rhizomes which I later incorperate into my gardening hobby. I've met big maple trees suitable for tapping, and made my first batch of maple syrup earlier this year. Only a couple ounces finished, but so delicious. Usually, these various discoveries also result in me geeking out on a new avenue of research to some degree.

Most recently, while looking with crossed fingers for some late season corrugated milk caps (they are pretty much done here, hence the crossed fingers), I kept hearing acorns dropping from the surrounding trees. They were the largest I'd ever seen, at least an inch, some even larger. I've been wanting to make acorn flour for several years, but only ever found small acorns, and it seemed like a lot of work for such a small morsel. But given the size of these, I figured a lot of work for a giant morsel would be acceptable. Now there's just over 2 pounds of de-shelled acorns in the kitchen, waiting to be milled and then leached of tannins.

So, what does all that have to do with mushrooms? Well, nothing. And everything.


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#2 TVCasualty

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Posted 26 September 2020 - 08:07 AM

Welcome to Mycotopia!

 

In the Farmer's Almanac it claims that a really heavy acorn drop means a harsh Winter is on the way. But the article claiming that was published in the 70's, so there's no telling what "harsh" means now. It might mean the place is on fire, or under water, and not necessarily cold at all.

 

And white oak acorns often don't need leaching as the tannin content is usually very low in that species. Saves a bunch of time and energy in prepping them to eat, which is very important in a real survival situation where hunting and gathering is not optional.


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#3 Coopdog

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Posted 26 September 2020 - 09:51 AM

The main thing I have discovered about mushroom hunting, is that it is indeed a lifelong learning curve. There are gazillions of different kinds and layers of subspecies and lookalikes that keeps me focused on a dozen or so main species that I am fairly confident in identifying. I have been in a serious study of mushrooms now for ten years and my ID skills are still so so outside of my comfort zone. I keep thinking I will join a real life study/gathering group but have not done it yet. Instead I follow 5-6 awesome mushroom ID groups. 

 

As to the acorns for sustenance, they might be edible but never had them prepared even remotely in a desirable way lol. Good to know how as a skill, but as far as sustenance goes, that is about it as far as I am concerned. My grampa showed me how to leach them of tannins, which he did by putting a bag of them in a creek with moving water for a few days. Not sure how you would go about leeching them after grinding but I am sure a couple of good boils would do it as well. It will make some bulk filler for you but it's barely edible at best and nearly to the "oh hell no" category. All depends on your level of need I reckon. 


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#4 Arathu

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Posted 26 September 2020 - 10:53 AM

Welcome to Mycotopia.....I've been hunting mushrooms since I was about four years old. That's over 50 years now....

 

I learned foraging, initially anyway, from the old timers that came to America from from the "old countries" in Europe.....

 

It's definitely a lifetime endeavor.....Searching for and studying the foundations of the eco system, which the fungal kingdom plays a major role in, will of necessity place at your fingertips many other things to discover IME's.

 

It's good to notice all of those things IMHO.......then again I'm a hunter too so..... 

 

When I'm hunting and harvesting choice edibles I'm sneaking into the habitat for several reasons, one is to be careful I'm not stepping on mushrooms and another is not give away my spots too easily..... :ph34r:

 

We have acorns falling like madness here....I'm expecting to fill my freezers with venison so I'll let the deer and squirrels eat the acorns....

 

I am planning on planting amaranth next year and getting a small flour mill......acorns and acorn flour, at least what I've had are really bitter, must be the tannin... 

 

A   


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#5 TVCasualty

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Posted 26 September 2020 - 05:24 PM

 

We have acorns falling like madness here....I'm expecting to fill my freezers with venison so I'll let the deer and squirrels eat the acorns....

 

 

That's my favorite way to prepare acorns, too. They taste MUCH better in the form of venison, or squirrels in a pinch.

 

 

 

The main thing I have discovered about mushroom hunting, is that it is indeed a lifelong learning curve. There are gazillions of different kinds and layers of subspecies and lookalikes that keeps me focused on a dozen or so main species that I am fairly confident in identifying. I have been in a serious study of mushrooms now for ten years and my ID skills are still so so outside of my comfort zone. I keep thinking I will join a real life study/gathering group but have not done it yet. Instead I follow 5-6 awesome mushroom ID groups. 

 

As to the acorns for sustenance, they might be edible but never had them prepared even remotely in a desirable way lol. Good to know how as a skill, but as far as sustenance goes, that is about it as far as I am concerned. My grampa showed me how to leach them of tannins, which he did by putting a bag of them in a creek with moving water for a few days. Not sure how you would go about leeching them after grinding but I am sure a couple of good boils would do it as well. It will make some bulk filler for you but it's barely edible at best and nearly to the "oh hell no" category. All depends on your level of need I reckon. 

 

Yeah, they're best reserved for when the choice is acorns or starvation. And even then it's a toss-up.


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#6 solidago

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 10:51 AM

Thanks for the welcomes. After this, I may never so much as glance at an acorn again, haha. Today I had an idea which circles back to mushrooms. PF tek with... acorn flour. Hmmm, I'd be super curious about that. However, not so curious as to spend the fruit of this labor on it. BRF has held its place in that realm pretty well, and is more affordable than commercially available acorn flour. But in this thought experiment, I suspect it would work.



#7 TVCasualty

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Posted 27 September 2020 - 11:58 AM

Whether acorn flour would work or not depends on their lipid/fat content. And the tannins would definitely have to be leached from them for that, too since tannins are antimicrobial.

 

Acorns are very nutritious and contain a little under 25% fat, which is almost certainly too high for growing mushrooms on by themselves (it's about the same as peanuts, while brown rice is ~3-5% fat). You could probably get away with using a blend of acorn and grain flour to grow, but probably not with 100% acorn flour.


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