First Heavy Rain = Mushroom Hunt!

 

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Along a forest road, miles into the hills by Drift Creek Falls, we set out to see if we could find some edible mushrooms. Our guide had quite a bit of knowledge to share with the boys and a keen eye for spotting the newly emerging fungi. It was quite the on site Mycology Class! (mycological – the branch of biology dealing with fungi)

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Her little ones were super quick to spot fungi- her little daughter brought a telescope, newly decorated cardboard cylinder – (tissue paper roll). 

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We spent quite a bit of time chatting about the Destroying Angels – often mistaken for the delightful Matsutake Mushroom. The color, how it comes out of an egg type base, and just old fashioned observation were key. When in doubt – assume it is a Destroying Angel.

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So much to learn from the Chanterelles – gills, lines, color. Yum.

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My little hunting buddy. He was loving his bucket of finds. Coral, Lobster, Chanterelle, Oyster, Lil Buttons, So delightful. He’d point and get excited and put up his hand, STOP, Do not walk, Stay There!  Some times it would take us a while to find the tiny lil specimen he found:

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The big boys would hike a head with the older brother – they came back with a load of Oyster Mushrooms. Watch out when you cook these, little tiny white worms jumped out into our pan. Exciting!

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This is our “What is it” of the day. We can assume it is a Jely Fungi –  It was translucent like a Ghost Mushroom – those little folds (slime molds ) were cups holding lots of water, slimy, that poured out every time we moved the stick, it’s host. I  have narrowed it down to a Snow Fungus –

From : http://www.mushroomexpert.com/tremella_fuciformis.html – “Sometimes called the “snow fungus,” Tremella fuciformis is a tropical and subtropical jelly fungus found on hardwood logs after heavy rains. It is whitish or nearly transparent, and fairly large (up to about 7 cm across)–and it features graceful gelatinous lobes rather than the glob-like blobs that typify so many other jelly fungi.”

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Slimy Jacks were abundant.

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Below are the tiny (note the size compared to the needles) beginnings of a Chanterelle mushroom. We picked the one on the right for observation. Thick stem, white meat, VERY peppery at this tiny size.

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This little gal below is named “Questionable Stropharia” . We wondered what makes her so Questionable.  It was interesting that many of the names have a combination of Latin, SurNames, and well Questionable words.  Ha. Like – Phaeolus Schweinitzii. What? Found at the bottom of Sitka Spruce used to dye wools.

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Sulfur Tuft, probably the most abundant that we saw – or at least my little helper was partial to them so they were pointed out often. (Not Good Eats.)

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Sort of like Forest Trick or Treating in the Pacific Northwest. Trick? or Treat? The boys would forage up ahead and then come back with their finds. We could hear where they were by the shouts – – “I Found Something!!” and then the cracking of sticks and exclamations to follow.

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Our hosts treated us to warm loaves of fresh sour dough bread and a huge pot of Butternut Squash, Potato, Chicken Soup with a touch of Curry. Oh. The Joy. We brought along some Apple Cider to share. mmmmmmmm. Can’t even describe what this kitchen smelled like!

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The young daughter brought over flowers to put out for decoration,
then filled two bottles with colored water to enhance the view.

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Here is one basket of the dyed wool – it is seriously Beautiful! You may browse what is available to purchase on Etsy – Queen Bolete .

After our bowls were licked clean and the basket of bread emptied, we set to look up the mushrooms we had discovered:

So as we looked through our findings, some are fantastic for meals, some for dyes, one for an hallucinogenic, and one for poison (Destroying Angel). Many are OK to eat if you want to try to clean them up and process them. Many are insipid – lacking flavor. We’ve been having Chanterelles and Oyster Mushrooms on everything the last two days. Looking for ways to make the Lobster Mushroom and came across a pasta dish we’ll try this evening.

Fresh Salmon and Fresh Mushrooms – It’s Officially Fall in the Pacific Northwest!

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