Month: October 2013

Chanterelles? No, Gomphus floccosus

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Gomphus ready for cooking

The “woolly chanterelle”  or Gomphus floccosus is a common look-alike for our yellow chanterelle.  Unfortunately, it is considered “not recommended.”  It looks like a chanterelle underneath the funnel cap, with veins running down the stem, but the vein-like structures on a yellow chanterelle are much more raised, almost blade-like.  This is hard for beginners to see at first.  Unlike the true chanterelle, the cap is deeply funneled and with large

‘woolly” pieces of scale all over the funnel cap. Thank goodness the wooly chanterelle is not toxic to most folks.  Some eat it with no problem, and, in fact, it is sold in Mexican markets as an edible. Our new fungal friend James says they tasted great with mahi mahi and no side effects. With all the strange mushrooms we have been eating lately, I don’t doubt what he says.  Still, I won’t collect them for the table. I am sure they aren’t near as tasty as the true chanterelles. Comments?

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Helvella crispa – Halloween treat

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Skeleton mushroom for Halloween! Helvella crispa

Lawrence sent me the perfect photo for Halloween. I call it the Skeleton Mushroom. Spooky looking and strange, so cool to find.  A pile of Helvellas were stacked on the display table at the Eugene mushroom show, mainly the gray-headed Helvella lacunosa.  Only a few were these beautiful white crispas.

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Albatrellus ellisii – another new edible

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Greening Goats Foot pores and thick stem

Wooly cap of Greening Goat's Foot mushroom

At the Mt. Pisgah Mushroom Show,  three different mushroom experts talked about this fungus as being delicious.   I have found it, but rarely.  These folks extolled it’s virtues, likening it to abalone when simmered slowly.   David Arora cooked this for the mushroom staff in Eugene in previous years.   With our success at eating and liking Hawk’s Wing (see other postings,) this  similar mushroom seems worth a try.  If I ever find it again, I will definitely cook it up.

When I arrived home, an email from Randy and Margie awaited me.  Yes, they had just found a strange mushroom and wanted it identified.  What a coincidence!   It’s Albatrellus ellisii!  Strange it is.  The large tuffted wooly, hoof-shaped cap, large pores underneath, short, fat stem, green staining spots, tough texture and growth in clusters on the ground, makes it unattractive for eating.  It looks like nothing else I have ever seen except itself, so beginners should be able to identify this easily if you can find it in your book.

Arora says to cook it slowly so it doesn’t get tough.  Cleaning and cutting it in thin bite-sized pieces, I simmered it in a little butter on low heat. When its juices came out (not much) I cooked it covered until dry, then added a little more water to keep simmering it for a least 1/2 hour. Tasty.  Chewy. Good. I can see how it must be similar to abalone with it’s meaty chew.

This fall I have eaten Hawk’s wing (Sarcodon imbricatus)  Beefsteak mushroom (Fistulina hepatica,) and now Greening Goat’s Foot (Albatrellus ellisii.)  All three are meaty, chewy mushrooms with good flavor. All need to be cooked 20+ minutes slowly.   I am amazed at the pleasant taste of these polypore-type, tough-fleshed,  mushrooms.  I think that the Hawk’s wing is the best of the three,  but I could change my mind.  The more Goat’s Foot I eat, the more I like it, especially with chicken!

Thank you Randy and Margie for the specimen and photos.  Perfect timing.

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My first Amanita

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We ate our first Amanita today, Amanita calyptrada, Casear’s mushroom. My friend Dale (thank you Dale) brought it over the house to share after buying it from a vendor at the Eugene mushroom show yesterday. I talked with the man at the vendor booth who found it (and several more) and he seemed very knowledgable about Amanitas. It fit the book and online descriptions perfecty. I cooked it thoroughly in butter and the three of us munched it down, enjoying every bite. It is very good, great texture, but not outstanding in flavor. Fine good eating but not outstanding.

I was a bit nervous about eating an Amanita, but I did my research yet one more time again. I really believe we can learn to tell the poisonous Amanitas from the edible with CAREFUL identification. Other mycologists I know eat this regularly, so why not try. It is a milestone for Ron and I, however. A little excitement in our life.

Have any of you eaten Amanitas before?

Amanita calyptrada a.k.a. Amanita laneii a.k.a. Cocorra

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Mt. Pisgah Mushroom Festival – Eugene- this Sunday

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This Sunday!

We are heading out to Eugene to hear some jazz (my son’s the druumer) and to take part in the Mt. Pisgah Mushroom Festival on Sunday, noon to 5 PM.   This mushroom show is one of the best in the NW, with many tables of mushrooms identified to species with edibility labels.  There is live music, a children’s area, incredible mushroom soup to try, mushroom books for sale, native plants for sale, wine tastings, scarecrow contest, etc!   All wonderful fun and very educational.  For directions and more info check the website below

http://www.mountpisgaharboretum.com/festivals-events/mushroom-festival/.

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Yachats Mushroom Festival and Beefsteak mushroom

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It was a beautiful weekend for the Yachats Mushroom Festival!  A smaller but enthusiastic crowd attended the talks and the 27 mushroom walks.  It is hard to stay inside to listen when the sun is shining at the coast!

I saw my first Fistulina hepatica (Beefsteak mushroom) on the identification table.  The next day my fun fungi friend, Joanne (pictured here with an Oyster mushroom hat) found a couple specimens fruiting on a chinquapin tree!  So bizarre looking with a thick deep- red glutinous layer.  I scraped off the slime and we took them all the way back home to Bend.  We haven’t eaten them yet, but maybe tomorrow. Stay tuned on how they taste!

The King boletes were supposedly fruiting in record numbers in the dunes area, so we headed that direction. We each found a few, but not rolling in them. On the way back to the car, we discovered why. Two different parties stopped us (both with European accents) and marveled at our baskets with the large older Kings in tow. They, too, had Kings we had missed on the trail.  So many people have discovered Porcini at the coast now. We need to find a spot away from the crowds!  What am I doing telling people about the delights of mushroom hunting?!!

Beefsteak mushroom, Fistulina hepatica. This photo looks like the one we found. It's the closest I could find on the internet. Taken from mykoweb website

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Mushroom field trip this Sunday!

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Julie H. has offered to lead a group of mushroom hunters this Sunday to find wonderful edibles. If interested, meet her at the JC Penny’s parking lot (furthest west as possible) at 10 am. Bring your books, too.

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It can happen here! A mushroom club!

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It was wonderful to see the 30-some folks attending our mushroom club meeting last night on such short notice!  Julie H., current president,  was very pleased that a number of people offered to help get things organized so that we can have regular club meetings, outings, etc.  Stay tuned for new changes in this blog site and maybe a future web page.

Another highlight for me was when Ky showed up with two big baskets of young Matsutakes for show and tell, challenging each of us to guess which was from the east side of the pass and which from the west. I never realized that there are very interesting and clear differences   Thanks, Ky.

Our tech person was ill and so our projected flash drive idea didn’t happen this time, but it is a great way to share your experiences.  Keep your photos with dates and even locations if you can (for yourself, of course.)  It helps you remember the next season and we can learn from your adventures. We will try flash drive stories again.

Each of us took turns sharing our seasonal experience hunting mushrooms, including last spring’s morel hunt.  Being unable to walk through the woods without stepping on mushrooms was a common statement made last night. In the end, no one would question this has been an incredible year.

Thanks to all who brought in mushrooms for the table. Several new folks lingered around the i.d. table asking questions of more seasoned hunters. I am delighted to see how many are really studying mushrooms.  Some I have never met before. We need more people willing to help id. and they have to study to get good enough to tell important differences between mushrooms.  Keep up the good work.

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Central Oregon Mushroom Club meeting

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We are planning to have a Meet and Greet meeting for all friends of fungi in Central Oregon this Weds. at 6:30 PM at the Rosie Baries Community Campus, 1010 NW 14th, Bend. Bring your mushrooms, your stories, struggles, questions, and maybe photos on a flash drive, hoping we can connect to a projector to show your treasures. Join us!!

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