You may have guessed already that I have a love of mushrooms. I do. I definitely do. Among my most favorite is the Lobster Mushroom, and we're lucky enough to have a few up here in my woods.
They're kind of complicated, these guys. See, they aren't actually a true mushroom...what happens is a mold attacks another mushroom, and turns it into a Lobster Mushroom. This mold likes to attack Russulas, which are very common in my yard, and Lactarius. Both of which are edible species, but not "choice" edibles. Mushrooms can be classified as edible but not exactly tasty... kind of like sand or Grandma's turkey, you could eat them but you probably don't want to.
This is a Russula.
This is a Russula that has been transformed into a Lobster Mushroom.
If you've never had one, let me assure you that these babies are delicious. When cooking they give off a slight seafood smell, and have an almost nutty flavor to me. The flesh is firm and not at all slimy, and they impart a beautiful orange color to sauces.
Think that's great? Hold on to your hats....you can also use them to dye wool!! I know! You can mordant with ammonia and supposedly the dye will look like a cinnamon pink color. If I could only resist eating them I might be able to test this.
This small specimen was clobbered on one side so I tore it up and sprinkled it around. I'm not sure it will help, but I'll keep watching the area for more mushrooms.
Isn't nature awesome?