Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Mmm Lobster Mushrooms...

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?


Kar said...

Mushrooms are very pretty. I've just not ever heard of the lobster mushrooms. Very cool!

Linz said...

i love mushrooms! have, ever since i was a child. when i find mushrooms in the wild, i feel like there's magic about. i know, silly...but there's just *something* about mushrooms. it all started with my smurf obsession...

Unknown said...

how do you know the difference in all the mushrooms. ALl I remember from growing up is "mushrooms in nature = poison = you will die" they couldn't seem to stress that enough.

Lisa at lil fish studios said...

Kar - I hadn't heard of them either until last year when I found one in the yard. I showed a picture to my friend and she recognized it as a delicacy from a fancy restaurant. Lucky me!

Linz - It's all about the smurfs. :)

Twyla - I have a couple of good field guides and always err (well, OK, usually err) on the side of caution. I've taken spore prints from mushrooms before to help identify them but by and large if I can't positively identify it with my books, then I don't eat it or touch it. Some species like these lobsters, morels, and inky caps are delicious and pretty easy to ID. I've heard some pretty risky attitudes though, like the one person who thought that any white mushroom that grew in a field was edible. YIKES! Some of the most deadly mushrooms are white and pretty unassuming. So again, unless I can easily ID it, it's off-limits. That said though, ohhhh wild mushrooms are absolutely amazing and beat the pants off of any old button or portabella mushroom. No comparison.

Margie Oomen said...

not very many mushrooms in the woods this week
way to hot and dry
can't wait for another little rainy spell

Terriea Kwong said...

Cant' imagine there're true color of such beautiful mushrooms. I only read fairy tales the pink, red or yellow ones. How nice to see the live ones. In nature there's a saying "the most beautiful species are the most poisonous" but these aren't? Thanks for sharing.

Valerie said...

Oh my, you make mushrooms sound so interesting and yet glorious too. I'd be nervous to pick them and cook them up for eating, but you certainly sound like you know which end is up... in the mushroom department, that is. Enjoy your yummy mushroom season!
x, Val

joanie said...

Yes, nature is awesome. These photos are too! I wonder if they grow here - now I know what to look out for :)


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