Thursday, August 12, 2010

More Mushroom Gathering

Last weekend's wander into the wood was one of my most successful yet in terms of mushroom-gathering.  I had gone in search of the one lobster mushroom that hubby claimed to have seen and came back with a bounty of mushrooms.  I think I've said this before, but it is amazing what you see when you really stop to look.

Not only did I find the one lobster mushroom, but several pounds of his friends.  Pounds!  The last time I checked, fresh lobster mushrooms were selling for about $20 a pound, so we were feeling rather fancy that night with our lobster mushroom pasta, let me tell you.  There is such satisfaction in eating something you've gathered yourself, isn't there?


Sadly, (or not) about half of the lobsters were already past their prime.  I was able to save about 2 pounds for cooking and the other 3 pounds or so were used to make wool dye, something I've wanted to try for a while.  Those results will be coming tomorrow or this weekend, so stay tuned.  You can bet though that my calendar is marked for next year's harvest.  I don't plan to miss out on these anymore.

While I was out I also found black trumpets, chanterelles, coral mushrooms, old man of the woods, and more.
black trumpets
old man of the woods, the younger years

old man of the woods, the twilight years

I saw this mushroom and thought that it looked like a scoop of ice cream...

but when I went back out the next day it had sprouted up 4 inches and appeared to be a Destroying Angel.  Not so sweet anymore.  The Destroying Angel is considered deadly, hence the terrifically terrifying name. 
I think it's important to note here that unless I'm dealing with a mushroom that I'm completely comfortable with, I don't touch them with my hands. 
Also, I don't eat a mushroom unless I'm completely positive that it's edible. 
When in doubt, throw it out.

I saw a number of Indian Pipes too, which I've never noticed in our woods before.  While they're not a mushroom, they're often confused as such.  They too carry a creepy name...the Corpse Plant.  The Indian Pipe is parasitic and receives its nutrients from a fungus.  The fungus "feeds" on a tree, the Indian Pipe "feeds" on the cool is that?

As I was heading back to the house with my sweatshirt acting as a rucksack, stuffed with mushrooms, look what was on the horizon...

That, friends, is a Chicken Mushroom aka Sulphur Shelf mushroom.  Another choice edible for me!  It was about 10 feet up on a dead oak and I had to go back to the house to get a limb cutter to get it down.  This big guy weighed in at a little over 4 pounds, but they're known to get much, much bigger.  We had lobster mushrooms on the menu for that night so I prepped this guy for freezing.  I was able to cook and freeze 4 family-sized servings, and yes, it really does taste like chicken.  It will be terrific in soup this fall.
 The bits that weren't suitable for eating were once again used for dyeing.

a tiny specimen in my son's hand

 Well, now that I've probably bored you all to tears with my mushroom mania...

I promise that more crafting news will be coming soon.  I've been working on a few projects, some new, some re-visited and hope to have a shop update soon.  Perhaps there will even be some mushrooms involved.

Have a great day, all and thanks for stopping by. 
I hope you all find something incredible on your wanders today, too.


Kar said...

Those are so gorgeous! I love all the pics you share of the mushrooms. So awesome.

Marilyn said...

What an incredible wood you live in!! Such wonderful photos of things we don't get to see....unless someone like you shows us!!! I live in a wood and have never seen these things before, we have the boring everyday white mushrooms that grow in the grass and a couple of puff balls that I have learned to stay away from!!! The wood is smaller now and been taken over by houses and manicured lawns....I would much rather have it the other way!! Thank you for showing us these beauties, and how nice to know there is still such a place to go and learn.

Sue said...

You really live in a wonderful area.
I'm always so impressed by the pictures you show us .
Thank you also for all the info.

When I lived in Germany as a child my mom would take us to the woods for mushroom hunting. She knew all the mushrooms.She was a child during the war and they had to live of mushrooms and other things they could gather in the woods.
I always loved to see all the different kinds of mushrooms,see all the details and smell them .
In Canada we had lots of mushrooms too, but here in Florida ,in the city there are not many.

Again, thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures.

lynn bowes said...

Girl, mushrooms are your crack.

lynn bowes said...

I mean 'your addiction'.

Clearly I know nothing about your crack.

Christy on the Craggy Moor said...

wow, I'm so impressed at the mushroom knowledge you have. We dearly love mushrooms here but don't know much about local foraging, or what's here. Now I want to do some research!! I'm so fascinated that you can also dye with them. I can't wait to see your wool dying results! Thank you so very much for sharing my friend!

Christy on the Craggy Moor

Anonymous said...

Hi from a former Minnesotan! Your knowledge of mushrooms is wonderful. Are you self taught? My husband use to teach a mushroom course at the University of Mn so needless to say we love mushrooms. Love your felt Amanitas and the acorn mushrooms. Only probably we have very few mushrooms in this area so on trips back to Mn I pick them up and bring them back. JoAnn

Linz said...

arg! i got an error message when i tried posting a comment. now i forgot what i wrote. :(

Anonymous said...

oops, make that so few oaks in the area. JoAnn

Colleen said...

I know just about nothing about edible mushrooms. What would you recommend as a good book or website to learn about mushrooms? I've just moved to the Pacific Northwest and have plenty of trails and woods to explore.

Margie Oomen said...

how on earth could mushrooms and fungi be boring lisa
they are amazing and I never tire of hunting for them and photographing them
I want to try dyeing with them this fall too

Tiffany said...

Wow! so many amazing mushies! Thanks for the education and the really beautiful photos :)

Karen Larko said...

Wow! Your blog is outstanding and your knowledge of mushrooms is amazing! I look forward to seeing your beautiful photos here and on Flickr.

Summer said...

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeem! What a wonderful post on fungus! I'm not a fan of eating mushrooms (but I've only tried the few that are sold at grocery stores, so who knows?), but thank you for the beautiful images! I love fungus!'re dyeing with them? Be still, my heart!

Lisa at lil fish studios said...

Thank you all for your sweet comments! I can't even tell you how happy I was that I didn't bore you all with my mushroom madness. Lynn's right, it is my, addiction. :D

JoAnn - well, I'm truly a novice but what I have learned has been self-taught. I pore over my mushroom guides and the internet whenever I find something new, take spore samples, and just try to satisfy my curiosity. I just think it's fascinating stuff. Thanks for stopping by and saying hi!

Linz - :D lol

Colleen - I have a few books but the one I like most is The Audobon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms. Online I also frequent and

Thanks again, everybody!

traceyo said...

Saw a great film on Sundance channel called "Know Your Mushrooms". (I love documentaries)


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