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New England Mushroom Update


elrap
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Hi all;

Unlike the last two years, which were a bone-dry disappointment for mushroom hunters, this year the New England fungi are out early and in profusion. Chanterelles, black trumpets, milkmaids (lactarius hygrophoroides), oyster mushrooms, lobster mushrooms and many more are having by far the best growth seen in my brief (four year) but delicious picking career.

Chanterelles are going particularly nuts right now, to the point where I'm getting kind of sick of preserving them. I know this will drive a lot of you crazy if you don't know how to find and positively identify them, but believe me they're out there (try sparse grassy areas in the woods under oak or especially hickory).

Anyway - if individual members somewhere generally near the Newburyport area want to email me I'd be happy to either invite you on a personal foray, if that works out, or forward some news about the nicely organized local trips sponsored by the Boston Mycological Club.

Keep on pluckin',

L. Rap

Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow, great to hear, Elrap. I'd love to go on a foray, although I can only ID morels, puffballs, and sulphur shelf mushrooms. (Only one morel and one puffball this year!)

We have some interesting looking mushrooms in the land bordering our home ... a couple weeks ago, it looks like we had some fairy ring mushrooms, but I couldn't be 100 percent sure.

Diana Burrell, freelance writer/author

The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock (Marion Street Press, Nov. 2006)

DianaCooks.com

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I do indeed freeze chanterelles, that's the easiest way to rid of a large bunch of them. You have to at least par-saute them first in a little vegetable oil. I use my biggest fry pan, or a paella pan. They're terrific in stews in winter.

More effort, but also more fun is to cut them in half and string them up using needle and thread. They dry very well in a breezy window. If they get absolutely rock hard you can then put them in a plastic bag indefinitely but if they have the least bit of moisture left they'll mold if kept airtight. It's nicer anyway just to have them in a chain somewhere in the kitchen, so you can pop a few off as needed, reconstitute them in water or sherry, and put them in whatever.

I have a photo of a wonderfully full basket of chanterelles plus a recipe on my blog at eatingaway.com, if you're interested.

Also, Sunday August 27 at 10:30 AM I'm the official sponsor of a walk open to the public at Maudslay State Park in Newburyport. It's a beautiful park, and Newburyport's fun as well if you want to make a day of it. We'll meet at the parking lot (there's only one), scatter, and reform to identify what we find. I'd be very happy to greet egulleteers there.

Lately, chanterelles are starting to tail off but I've collected sulphur shelf (actually a similar one that is not yellow underneath and which I think is a little tastier, laetiporus cincinnatus, with a reddish rim).

Naturally, Mother Nature being what she is, as soon as I wrote about the profusion of mushrooms the rains dried up and so have the fungi, but worst case scenario you can go to the beach! :cool:

--L. Rap

Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just thought I'd update my own thread here with the news that an organized walk this past weekend at Maudslay in my extreme NE corner of Massachusetts turned up some very nice chicken mushrooms (aka sulfur shelf, Laetiporus Sulfureus, as well as the salmon-colored Laetiporus Cincinnatus for those who are interested), quite a few milkies (Laccaria Hygrophoroides and Lactarius Volemus, I think) and a scant handfull of very late chanterelles.

Plus some past-it puffballs. Next up - boletes (porcini)?

--L. Rap

Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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  • 2 weeks later...

Mushroom hunters & interested lurkers:

It continues to be a wierd but generally very productive year for NE mushrooms, with some emails flying around the foraging community regarding fungi either showing up unseasonably early (grifola frondosa, aka hen of the woods in several instances, this is usually an October arrival) or oddly late (small fruitings of chanterelles here and there, along with various milkies and even some black trumpets, which are usually just dried stalks by August).

In cetnral Vermont recently I tracked down quite a few chanterelles and hedgehogs, while back home here in Mass it seems like the boletes are getting underway, so hopefully porcini (boletus edulis) will start turning up.

Tons of suillus pictus around; this is a pretty spotted tan and red mushroom found near pines. Sources say it should be dried and then used in soups; if you fry it up fresh it's rather flopsy, though I"m sure it has its fans.

--L. Rap

Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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Wow, porcinis in New England? I had no idea such delights existed here.

Are you going to be doing another BMS gathering this month? I couldn't make the last one you hosted. And are children allowed? I have a five-year-old who's actually an amazing mushroom spotter (but not toucher ... that's mom's job), but I do realize not everyone likes children underfoot.

cheers,

di

Diana Burrell, freelance writer/author

The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock (Marion Street Press, Nov. 2006)

DianaCooks.com

My eGullet blog

The Renegade Writer Blog

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We took a walk today in the University of Minnesota Arboretum. We went off the main public and more formal arboretum and into the Forest walk area. In a short two mile walk we probably saw about 3 dozen large puffballs. Since it is University property we left them as is. This has been a great year for puffballs in Minnesota.

Davydd

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Quick question -

"I had heard"...

1. That lobster mushrooms can be poisonous when grown next to or grown on top of a poisonous mushroom.

AND

2. That lobster mushrooms can cause "alergies" or "reactions" on people who would not normally have an issue.

I searched the good old internet but didn't really come across anything that I could say "ah ha" (while pointing finger) "there it is"...

Again, it's just a "I had heard"... from other chefs over the course of my life while having a drink after work.

Apart from the normal answer "...anyone can have some kind of reaction to mushrooms..." is there any truth to this issue?

Thanks in advance,

Jason in Washington State

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Quick question -

"I had heard"...

1. That lobster mushrooms can be poisonous when grown next to or grown on top of a poisonous mushroom. 

AND

2. That lobster mushrooms can cause "alergies" or "reactions" on people who would not normally have an issue.

I searched the good old internet but didn't really come across anything that I could say "ah ha" (while pointing finger) "there it is"...

Again, it's just a "I had heard"... from other chefs over the course of my life while having a drink after work.

Apart from the normal answer "...anyone can have some kind of reaction to mushrooms..." is there any truth to this issue?

Thanks in advance,

Jason in Washington State

Hi Jason;

I've heard the same thing, and it has been discussed at a BMC meeting I happened to attend. The presenter, who was very knowledgeable, was all the same personally unaware of any problems with lobster mushrooms.

I guess I know 10 or 15 people who have eaten them with no ill effects. They have a nice texture and look amazing but not much taste, really. Almost as crispy as a water chestnut when fried up.

You hear these kinds of things a lot. For example, I've heard that chicken mushrooms (laetiporus sp.) can cause upset, particularly if gathered from a pine tree. I have to say it would be the better part of valor not to eat one that was growing on a hemlock, but I've never seen that. I have definitely eaten them from pines with no problem, and have fed them to maybe a couple dozen people (it was a big pizza party, and they were warned, but everyone wanted a piece anyway). Never ran into anyone in the BMC that mentioned a bad personal experience with them.

It's actually easy to find people that regularly eat mushrooms some book or other says are flat-out poisonous (not deadly, but causing gastric upset or other symptoms, which is way way more common).

I just eat a little bit of any mushroom species I try for the first time, to make sure I don't have any personal issues. I had a fairly mild but disturbing reaction once to honey mushrooms (armillarea mellea, very abundant right now!) but I'm going to try them again. They were thoroughly cooked, but my slavic friends say you need to boil them first. This sounds a lot like work, but I thought I'd give it a shot. They're very popular in East Europe, I want to see what's up.

Anyway - lobsters are kind of a special case, because they are really one species colonizing another, resulting in a bright orange-red mushroom with wierd folds instead of gills, and often pretty large. You can google tons of them, and latin name is hypomyces lactiflora, which kind of indicates it's a colonization of a lactarius or milky mushroom, some of which can cause upset (in milkies you look for white fluid that doesn't turn yellow, but of course you do need to know exactly what you're eating). I think I remember someone saying they can also colonize russulas. I think I remember one book saying to only eat them if they are growing among other mushrooms that are edible. But - for what it's worth - never had a problem with them, and eat everyone I find, as they're rather colorful and fun. Maybe the colonization process destroys any harmful substances. Let's hope so, for my sake!

--L. Rap

Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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Hi all;

A couple people have PM'd me about going on BMC (Boston Mycological Club) forays. The deal is, the forays are completely open to the public and often publicized locally but the mailing list with the schedule and so on only goes to members who pay the measly $20 to this very deserving organization.

It's only on paper, unfortunately, and is a pain to fax to everyone who asks about it, but -

I'm very happy to generally invite eGulleteers to a foray I'm personally hosting in Ipswich, MA, on behalf of the BMC at Appleton Farms on Sept. 24, 1:30 PM. We've never been there before as a club and I haven't even been there myself in fungus season yet, but it looks like great terrain.

We'll be gathering at the 'Grass Rides' area parking lot, which is a kind of spoke-shaped area where the original owners used to take carriage and sleigh rides. URL is right here. You want the Highland Street parking area.

The foray process is: anyone's invited, age doesn't matter, you walk around on trails or beat around in the woods, bring a wicker basket (seriously, BRING A WICKER BASKET) and maybe an old knife, and a fungus guidebook if you have one.

You spread out, pick mushrooms (instructions provided beforehand if you need them), follow more knowledgeable people if they welcome you or are moving too slowly to escape, gather back at the parking lot at 3 PM or so, I would say, to spread out all the findings and identify them with the help of various experts who will no doubt be there (members of the BMC's ID committee).

It's low key in the extreme, rather fun and geeky. It is also THE way to learn how to pick wild mushrooms, which is huge and delicious fun but does take learning and persistence - and you really just have to like walking around in the woods looking at things.

I hope to see some gulleteers there! Don't forget the wicker basket.

--L. Rap

Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just thought I'd keep updating this thread from time to time during mushroom season. . .

The foray mentioned above was a lot of fun. We had around 20 or 25 people and got maybe 40 or 50 species of mushroom, maybe more.

Not a lot of great edibles this go-round, but I noticed a couple of blewits, some wine caps, some mostly aged and woody hen of the woods, a big chicken mushroom with some edible parts. And a few handfuls of hedgehogs.

Almost no boletes, and certainly no porcini. Hopefully, it's just too early - not cold enough yet.

From the field, odd reports of a second coming of black trumpets here and there, and of hen of the woods.

Cheers & happy hunting,

-- L. Rap

Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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Dang! Missed seeing this thread again. Oh well, next spring. I am praying for more morels next spring.

Don't worry, ninetofive, plenty of mushrooms still to come. Boletes, including porcini, haven't even gotten started yet, and johnnyd's matsutakes are still a ways off.

My bear's head tooth fungus tree sprouted again this year; that's my big news of the week - wild looking thing and a good crab substitute.

This photo of a similar sprouting makes it look pretty pleasantly obscene.

Think I'm going to try and make empanadas.

L. Rap

Hmm, don't seem to have permission from here to follow that link, but if you paste it into a browser it works. Whatever. If you're interested, google on hericium images.

Edited by elrap (log)

Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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To my surprise, I saw a small box of Matsutake for sale at the Deering Oaks Farmer's Market on Saturday. They were $20/lb. Some were wide-open, a lower grade on the matsi market, but I saw three small ones with firm-closed caps (grade A) and covered with pine needles that I bought for $2!

I delivered them to my friend Chef Tak at Yosaku immediately. I think he was quite touched at the gesture. It was my good deed of the day.

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

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  • 2 weeks later...
Just curious, Elrap ... any luck with the boletes?

None whatsoever! Almost no boletes to be found, at least by me. It's a very strange late fall, almost like the earth gave up most of its mushrooms in July and August.

I think it's great johnnyd scored his matsutakes. I don't know how much more hunting I'll have time to do, but it ain't over till it's over. Maybe this Sunday. . .

--L. Rap

Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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Gah - I missed this whole thread. I'm up in Ontario and about a month ago we were quite literally DROWNING in porcini. It was obscene. I was invited to hunt on a friend's property where there is a history of these things. Well - unbelievable. For about two weeks, I could go every other day and pick 10 lbs. of them. We ate porcinis in everything, I made risottos and pastas and slow-cooked veal dishes. I made and outstanding mushroom soup and invented a really wonderful porcini, spinach and asiago strudel. When we got sick of eating them fresh, I sliced and dried what was left. I now have two big jars full of dried porcini for winter consumption. Amazing. I've never seen anything like it. But now they're done.

What's up these days is something called tricholoma terreum - small and grey-topped with white stem. They're quite delicate and not generally recommended because they're notoriously hard to ID. So I've become a little skittish about picking them, even though they're ridiculously abundant under pine trees. Also my husband reacts badly to them (I don't). So it kind of kills the fun. Anyone else eat these?

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Gah - I missed this whole thread. I'm up in Ontario and about a month ago we were quite literally DROWNING in porcini. It was obscene. I was invited to hunt on a friend's property where there is a history of these things. Well - unbelievable. For about two weeks, I could go every other day and pick 10 lbs. of them. We ate porcinis in everything, I made risottos and pastas and slow-cooked veal dishes. I made and outstanding mushroom soup and invented a really wonderful porcini, spinach and asiago strudel. When we got sick of eating them fresh, I sliced and dried what was left. I now have two big jars full of dried porcini for winter consumption. Amazing. I've never seen anything like it. But now they're done.

What's up these days is something called tricholoma terreum - small and grey-topped with white stem. They're quite delicate and not generally recommended because they're notoriously hard to ID. So I've become a little skittish about picking them, even though they're ridiculously abundant under pine trees. Also my husband reacts badly to them (I don't). So it kind of kills the fun. Anyone else eat these?

OK, I'm beyond jealous about the porcini. Amazing.

Tricholoma terreum, aka myomyces, never ate it, don't know if we've ever even seen it around here. I'll ask around the BMC. As you say, not a really solid edible (books showing it as unknown or be cautious, etc.), and a little easy to mix up. I wouldn't bother with them personally unless you really found them to be excellent.

What we HAVE found lately around here are shaggy manes, a nice vacant lot mushroom, coprinus comatus.

Bottoms up,

L. Rap

Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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What we HAVE found lately around here are shaggy manes, a nice vacant lot mushroom, coprinus comatus. 

Bottoms up,

L. Rap

Well, thanks but it's really all over now. I think that my reliable old oyster mushroom tree may still have a few left, but everything else is gone. My dog-walking partner picked 2 measly shaggy manes this morning but they were a fluke. It's getting cold.

The tricholomas are still there, though. Lots of them. I won't even go and look at them because I have a hard time not picking them when I see them.

Morel season is, what? Only 6 months away?

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Your porcini experiences are insane Nyleve! :raz:

We went out last weekend (a conservation area in Littleton, MA). We saw one mushroom we didn't recognize -- that's it.

I'm praying I'll get a few more morels next spring.

Diana Burrell, freelance writer/author

The Renegade Writer's Query Letters That Rock (Marion Street Press, Nov. 2006)

DianaCooks.com

My eGullet blog

The Renegade Writer Blog

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Your porcini experiences are insane Nyleve!  :raz:

Absolutely insane. Absolutely. Never - never ever - seen the like of it before. Never. I don't know if this was a particularly good year or if I just haven't been looking in the right place but it was incredible. Didn't think it would be possible to get tired of porcinis, but seriously, it is.

I'll start using my dried ones soon - I really look forward to that, actually.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Steady rains and warm weather over the past week mean the fat lady hasn't sung yet over the mycelia. I have reports of a couple pounds of blewits growing on a lawn around a spruce tree. That's something I'd love to see - only seen an occasional blewit in someone else's basket, and never eaten one. They're supposed to be excellent.

Saturday should be a good day to hunt around. All sorts of things could pop up. I'm actually looking at a few confused forsythia blossoms as I write.

Maybe keep a special eye out for oyster mushrooms growing on decaying tree trunks.

--L. Rap

Blog and recipes at: Eating Away

Let the lamp affix its beam.

The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

--Wallace Stevens

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