Foraging UpdateDecember 4th, 2018 at 7:19:32 am
*The plantain herb, known as the white man's footprint to those aggrieved by invasive species, or the driveway weed to yard poisoners, and on which I had promised an update, works great in canned mixed greens at least. I was a little doubtful since when it is raw it is a bit fibrous if older, and I didn't eat much that way. The canning process really takes care of that it seems.
*I've really come to appreciate foraging videos on you-tube. Previously I've only used books and field guides, and although the images in the newer such have gotten very good, videos using the modern very good camcorders that seem to be out there all over the place are really hard to beat. The better videos just keep showing the subject from different distances and angles, over and over again. I've decided this activates the same part of the brain that recognizes faces. Other images don't really do this, and after all sometimes in the old guides all they show is a drawing.
*In case I haven't said this before, in the case of the Hen of the Woods, anybody who spends time in the forest in the Fall and who wasn't looking for them has been missing the boat. They are absolutely delicious and must be the easiest of all mushrooms to identify nearly risk free - it is just so unique. I keep saying that if you pick something toxic thinking you had Hen of the Woods, you just aren't really trying.
*I was surprised to see what was in the grocery store the other day, bunches of dandelion greens on sale. Really? And something new to me, celery root. I didn't buy the latter, wanting to see how it is used first. Turns out it can be cooked or eaten raw. I'll report on that after trying it.
Another day in the woodsSeptember 30th, 2018 at 8:12:54 am
This time of year I get some motivation from foraging to get out there and stomp around, that's new - used to be only if I wanted to go small game hunting [larger game being out of season in Sept here]
I collected these mushrooms just to identify them, they all have gills which is still a bugaboo for me. According to guide book we have left to right Wooly Chroogomphus*, an Anamita of some kind, Oyster Mushroom, a Milky of some kind ... my confidence being 70%, 10%, 85%, 50%, resp., although the second and the last as you can see I don't try to get pegged down all the way as to species. The ones down to species are edible if I got them right. Not eating them though.
Also found more chick o. w. which I seeded about on other stumps and logs. It appears this will become an "all you can eat" thing if the seeding works, or even if it doesn't. I'm just finding it regularly. Some books discourage eating too many mushrooms at one sitting. They all build their cell walls out of the same indigestible stuff that constitute our fingernails, so if you don't cook them to break that up you get no nutrition. And in any case you are eating something that is to some degree going to pass through you unchanged. You don't want to stuff yourself with that i guess is what they are saying. So this is the kind of thing I am learning now.
oh, two old bottles there found in the woods too. I clean them up and use them for homebrew, I have about a case of them now I use. They usually are less than 12 ounces, and I like to make a batch that has various sizes for various servings ... sometimes 8 ounces or so is what I want!
* I would say somebody needs his butt kicked for coming up with that name, except that on the other hand it is fun to say it. The genus name is derived from the Greek χρω- chroo-, meaning 'skin' or 'colour', and 'γομφος' gomphos meaning 'plug' or 'large wedge-shaped nail' per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chroogomphus
Two different world views, you might sayAugust 12th, 2018 at 8:36:09 am
Just identified that I have wood sorrel growing in my unpoisoned yard. I thought it was a type of clover, but it has yellow flowers. Ran across two different ways to look at this:
"Woodsorrel can easily take over a lawn and it's important you remove it before it sets seed. Try to remove it in winter, when it's dormant. Mowing is ineffective because the plant can still grow and set seeds because it's low-growing. Pull dormant plants out of the ground and then dig or till the area to break up the roots. Repeat this whenever you see new seedlings. You will have to patch the lawn after you've removed the woodsorrel. If you mow a lawn with seeds from this plant, rinse your mower before using it on another piece of lawn that does not have the weed.
If you decide to use a chemical, [blah blah blah]"
"Wood sorrel is an incredible thirst quencher and is refreshing to eat. The leaves, flowers, and immature green seed pods are all edible having a mild sour flavour that some say resemble lemons. Wood sorrel can be added to salads, used in soups, sauces and it can also be used as a seasoning. Wood sorrel tea when cooled can make a refreshing beverage especially when sweetened with honey. In moderate dosages, wood sorrel is cooling (refrigerant, febrifuge), diuretic, stomachic (soothing to the stomach, relieves indigestion), astringent, and catalytic."
From my own perspective, I'd love for this plant to [nearly] take over my yard. For the height it currently is, I see no need to mow it. I usually don't mow clover patches, but they need to dominate so they aren't half filled with grass. This one really fits the bill for that. And guess what? I'm going with the ediblewildfood.com folks and their view of things.
first image from second link above
next image a picture I took with the cell phone
The White Man's Footprint - Delicious?June 25th, 2018 at 6:20:14 am
My successes as a forager are spotty, as my previous post about mushrooms admits. One area I've done pretty well with, though, is encouraging wild greens to grow in my unpoisoned yard. If you want to imitate that*, your first sign of success is a healthy proportion of dandelions. If you've got them coming on [and live in my general area], look next for wild onions, dock, and this white man's footprint, supposedly so-named by our aborigines because it sprang up wherever white settlers showed up.
Yes, it is an invasive plant, sometimes also called the 'driveway weed' and indeed I have a healthy patch of it on the edges of my driveway where it is gravel. I won't use it there, as some of the advice out there is to never forage near vehicle exhaust zones - plants pickup the bad stuff on roadsides etc.
If you want to promote it, it should be called 'the plantain herb' - I would have done that but it is more fun to run the other names past the reader. The above site makes some nice claims, "itís super nutritious, easy to identify, has no poisonous look-alikes and it is used as medicine"
For wild greens, I almost exclusively use them cooked. As I say, checking into this one is new for me. I'll let you know how it goes.
*as a percentage of readers, that probably rivals the chances of 18 yo's in a row
Morel FrustrationMay 10th, 2018 at 5:23:16 am
For years now I have hoped to be able to add Morel mushrooms to the list of things I forage for. But I am so far foiled again this year; one of the things "they" say is to look at a place that's had a forest fire. Bingo! one near me took place in a state wildlife management area. This is the second Spring since it burned so this year I was checking it out even more carefully, but 'no luck'. I did mistakenly think they would be coming out late this year due to a cold Spring - apparently they are unaffected by that - and so I looked most intensely after the season had already started. On the other hand, it is supposed to be still going on for a while, I'll still be looking .
Seems to me I should have had success by now. It seems to be one of those things you can't learn from articles etc., you have to find somebody who knows where to look and learn from them. Being a forager, I look constantly at what is growing everywhere I go outdoors, and I swear by now you'd think I would have spotted some just by accident if nothing else.
Here is a list of things about them:
*I fear eating wild mushrooms, and would never think it was safe to think you've identified *most* mushrooms correctly without an expert to confirm it. The scariest part is you can eat poison mushrooms and feel just fine ... till a few days later when you then get sick, and could die.
*Morels are an exception: they are distinctive enough that foragers, though warned, only need to be somewhat careful. There is such a thing as a False Morel that you are not supposed to eat, but it apparently is not as dangerous as all that. In some places they eat them apparently due to less toxicity locally and for the exact species. It doesn't really look all that close to the same, so just having a pamphlet or a look at an article is enough to avoid it.
*Additionally, the Morel seems to be the only mushroom that comes out that early in the year. As for my own experience, during the peak season I see no mushrooms at all, whatsoever, of any kind coming out of the ground; even the types growing on dead trees look like last year's remnants. The False Morel season might overlap a bit, being deemed a spring/summer grower while the Morel is early Spring mostly. In that early period it seems the real Morel will be what you see if you see any [I'm trying to confirm that]. I have come across False Morels later in Spring [yep I can find those].