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Foraging New Jersey – Late Summer Mushrooms!

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Despite sporadic rains the late summer mushroom harvest has been tremendously strong. I’ve been finding Hen of the Woods (Grifola frondosa) and Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) in great quantity. Others species have also been abundant including Oysters (Pleurotus ostreatus), Ringless Honey Mushrooms (Armillaria tabescens), Aborted Entoloma (Entoloma abortivum), Bears Tooth (Hericium) and Cauliflower (Sparassis) mushrooms.  Each of these when properly identified and if found fresh can be a primary ingredient in many a delicious meal.

 

 

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Wild Mushroom and Venison Meals

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Autumn has arrived and so has the excitement of finding delicious mushrooms on forest walks.

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Hen of the Woods & Chicken of the Woods

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Together my wife and I made Anthony Bourdain’s Mushroom Soup Recipe.

The same day I managed to harvest a doe from the forest and it being Saturday, we finally had the time to try butchering it ourselves. The process was very time consuming having not done it before but very much rewarding. We took our time scavenging all the meat including the smallest scraps that would be put into a grinder with a mix of bacon fat.

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Exhausted, I threw some in a pan with a few slices of mushrooms for a quick meal.

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But later after all was packaged, placed in the freezer and wiped clean multiple times… my wife made the most delicious venison meatballs with home grown tomato sauce.

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It was a rewarding day and felt like a culmination of skills recently learned put into the culture of our daily lives.

Making Oyster Mushroom Jerky

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If you follow my blog you may recall that I made some  Hen of the Woods Jerky that came out delicious.  Well, I tried the same recipe with Oyster mushrooms and it did come out tasty but Hen wins easy for texture and flavor.

To make the mushroom jerky, I boiled pieces for 10 minutes, strained and placed them in a marinade overnight.  The marinade was a mix of honey, chili powder and soy sauce.  The jerky went in the dehydrator the next day at a low temperature for about 8 hours until it felt right.

To learn all about oyster mushrooms check out this excellent article over at Epic Gardening!

https://www.epicgardening.com/how-to-grow-oyster-mushrooms/

Autumn Mushroom Foraging & Cooking

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I like to bushcraft, forage and cook. When I’m able to combine all of those interests that makes me a happy camper. So, with both rain and cool nights the autumn mushrooms begin to appear and I try and get out to find my share.

I’ve been lucky on my walkabouts to come across Laetiporus sulphureus: The Chicken of the Woods and Grifola frondosa: The Hen of the Woods.  Both tend to grow on decaying oaks and add great flavor to a cooked meal.

My wife and I made Jamie Oliver’s recipe for “Wild Mushroom and Venison Stroganoff for two lucky people”. It was delicious!

I also used a bunch of the Hen to make jerky.  To do so, I boiled larger pieces for 10 minutes, strained and placed them in the marinade overnight.  The marinade was a mix of honey, chili powder and soy sauce. The jerky went in the dehydrator the next day at a low temperature for about 8 hours until it felt right.

All the extra mushroom got diced and fried in butter and a splash of olive oil to be frozen for use another day.

To see more of my Mushroom posts check out:

Wild Foraged Mushroom Tempura

July Mushroom Foraging

Dehydrating Chanterelles

Nature’s Recyclers

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Recently, I’ve been visiting a lot of schools focusing on recycling education. We do many different activities depending on the time allowed and age taught.  We discuss what can be recycled and why, read a story about “the day the trash came out to play”, play litter bits by working together to clean up a mess and putting things in the proper container followed by hitting “the easy button”.We also play a Velcro “How Long Your Garbage Will Last” litter time line game, make recycled paper with blenders and screens, decide on the scenario best for the environment comparing paper and plastic bags (choose canvas), silverware vs. plasticware (choose the spork), paper towels vs. cloth towel (choose to shake dry), reusable coffee/water bottles versus disposable and so on.  We also look closely at green building materials (recycled plumber/etrex boards, recycled glass tiles, recycled tire shingles, recycled clothing carpeting and so on.) The most exciting moment is always focusing on nature’s recyclers and how we can compost food waste to make soil diverting even more waste from the landfill. Bringing out red wigglers and millipedes always makes for a memorable visit for any age classroom.

Visiting Hillside Elementary School, Livingston. West Essex Tribune.

Litter Timeline Game

Litter Timeline Game

How Long Your Litter Lasts Timeline

How Long Your Litter Lasts Timeline                           #Garbage Graveyard

Chytrid Swabbing

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Amphibians are threatened by a chytrid fungus that is causing a worldwide decline in populations.  As part of a research effort we went out to some local sites to swab species of concern to determine if they held the disease.

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