by Brady Raymond
“Things are looking good” and “Things are good” are two very different statements. As I stepped out of the car this year at the 2017 Ben Woo Memorial Foray my heart was filled with excitement. My brain, on the other hand, was much more suspicious of what awaited us in the forests skirting Mt. Rainier this year.
“What’s the scoop?” I asked Milton who was nearby as I hopped out of the car.
“Not good.” He replied.
My heart sank a bit, surely there had to be something. Once all the attendees arrive we’re bound to find mushrooms. Over a hundred sets of eyes will be searching these woods, zigzagging and crisscrossing each others path. My heart lifted a bit at the thought, but then froze as a few flakes of snow started to fall. It’s just not the year I guess, not like last year, at the Ben Woo All Sound Foray.
Hydnum repandum, the Hedgehog, one of the “toothed fungi.”
by Brady Raymond
So far this fall, things are looking good for the would-be mushroomer trudging around our neck of the woods although “looking” is the operative word. I can’t say I’ve had much luck with edibles this season but Phaeolus schweinitzii is fruiting very prolifically, at least in the places Erin and I have looked. We’ve found what I estimate to be right around twenty pounds over the last couple weekends, and a single specimen I found last Thursday while out dual sporting on some of my favorite forest service roads.
The edibles I’ve found thus far are limited to four Chanterelles, one Hedgehog, and some “past their prime” Sulfur Shelves. Overall, the past couple of weekends things have been fairly sparse yet there is a definite progression to the season and each outing we’ve spotted a few more species than the last. I expect this coming weekend to be spectacular as the temperature drops and precipitation moves in. The forest itself though seems ripe to burst with bouquets of fungi and is probably doing so as I write this article.
Laetiporus conifericola, the Sulfur Shelf or Chicken of the Woods. The mushroom formerly known as L. sulphureus. These were quite large, the column was about four feet tall. These were definitely past their prime.
by Brady and Erin Raymond
As the rains begin soaking in and temperatures start to drop don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled this fall for dye mushrooms. We often get so consumed with finding the consumables we forget that mushrooms have other uses too. If you are into cooking and you like crafting, specifically with animal fiber, dyeing with mushrooms may be right up your alley. Here’s a quick run down and if you’re interested check out the links at the end of the post for more info.
by Brady Raymond
This article is intended as a preseason metaphysical mushrooming warm up. As our summer edges closer to the inevitable rains of fall, I think it is important that we get our heads right. What follows is my attempt at explaining to myself something about mushrooms. What that is and if it is of any value to the reader is for them to decide.
You don’t have to put a name on a mushroom to understand a mushroom. Putting a name on it only identifies it, understanding a mushroom is a whole different thing. Names help when communicating with other people about a given mushroom, but if you’re trying to understand it from a name alone good luck.
Experience only comes with time, the more time you spend with mushrooms the more you will start to understand them. To fully grasp mushrooms takes time, and as your experience grows so too will your perception of the patterns which associate with fungi. However, many patterns as soon as they start to form become disrupted, but if you broaden the scope of your perception, you may see the same or similar patterns start to reemerge.
When you can instinctively calculate the patterns around you and benefit from understanding them to find more mushrooms, you know you have moved from a novice to a novice+1. It’s a long way to go to get to expert and there is a kind of scientific inflation if you want to get to pro. Though, for many of us being a novice+1 is sufficient enough for what we hope to achieve.
Having a hunch may just be your brain telling you it is recognizing a pattern. In a spot like this, what have you got to lose poking around a bit?
Tuesday, September 12th- 7:30PM
Doors open at 6:30 pm at the Center for Urban Horticulture. Come early and bring any mushrooms you want identified!
It has been nearly 50 years since the first publication on using wild mushrooms to produce dyes for textiles. What started as a curious discovery by a natural dyer caught like wildfire through the 1970’s but then smoldered for another 20 years… until the dawn of social media. Alissa Allen will take us on a journey through the past, present and future of mushroom dyeing. She is an avowed mushroom missionary, spreading enthusiasm for mycology by enticing unsuspecting fiber enthusiasts to the darkest corners of the forest, in quest for color. On this journey, curious adventurers can’t help but be enchanted by the colorful and charismatic fungi along the way, and become entangled in the web of mycology. You will see magical transformation of color born from seemingly mundane mushrooms and learn new ways to illuminate the hidden spectrum found in your own fungal wonderland. Whether you are a fiber artist, a forager or a citizen scientist, mushroom dyes can work for you.
Alissa Allen is an amateur mycologist and the founder of Mycopigments. She specializes in teaching about regional mushroom and lichen dye palettes to fiber artists and mushroom enthusiasts all over the country. Alissa got her start right here at PSMS in 1999 and has been sharing her passion for mushrooms for over 15 years. She has written articles for her website as well as Fungi Magazine and Fibershed. In 2015 she created the Mushroom and Lichen Dyers United discussion group and The Mushroom Dyers Trading Post. These groups have grown into a community of over 5000 members. Alissa uses brilliant colors found in mushroom dyes to entice people to take a closer look at mushrooms and their relationship within the ecosystem. To read more about her work, visit http://mycopigments.com.
The stems in the specimens at center and the caps in the specimens at left have changed color where the droplets were located before drying.
by Jeff Stallman
On a West Coast road trip in the summer of 2012, California was in the middle of one of its now-famous droughts. In dry Yosemite Valley, I joined a ranger-led walk to hear about the natural history of the area. Enjoying learning about unfamiliar trees and mammals, I was surprised when we happened along a large fruiting of chicken of the woods (Laetiporus sp.). Although the brown grass crinkled beneath our feet and many annual flowers were already deflated by the mid-summer heat, this fungus was fresh and covered with water droplets, nearly to the point where it was dripping on the ground.
This had always impressed me, and I occasionally shared the experience with others as one of those “aren’t fungi interesting and unexpected” stories, but did not think much of it again until years later when hunting in Hawaiʻi.
Thanks to Sweta Agrawal for sharing some snapshots of her success this season finding the “Spring King.” Persistence is key when trying to locate this mushroom. It seems that you have to check your spots regularly and catch them just at the right moment if you want to have any real success.
Keeping things simple like the salad pictured above is a great way to enjoy the more subtle flavors of this enigmatic mushroom. On the other hand, you can get quite decadent. If you were lucky enough to find as plentiful of patches as Sweta you can try all sorts of recipes.
Having not found any Boletus rex-veris myself I can’t comment much on distinguishing features. I have a feeling though, that if you have found Boletus edulis in the fall and saw one of these Ceps during spring growing in front of you, alarms would sound and the hunt would be on. Names and seasons aside a Porcini is a Porcini.
Some specimens grow quite large and will be enough for a few meals. But remember, the more you pick the more you’ll have to clean. Always clean your mushrooms in the field as best possible. Doing so makes kitchen chores much more enjoyable. Also, make sure to check for bugs in the field by cutting your mushrooms in half. Remove buggy areas immediately. The bugs will continue eating the mushroom, even after being picked and wreak havoc after a long ride home from the mountains.
If you didn’t find any Spring Kings don’t fret yet. The season is not over for Boletes and Boletus edulis the fall cousin of Boletus rex-veris will be fruiting later this year. So read up and scout some locations while out hiking this summer.
by Brady Raymond
How could you go wrong deep frying Morels? How could you go wrong stuffing them with jalapenos and cream cheese, coated with breadcrumbs? Well, maybe it’s just too much. Deep frying Morels is something I’ve wanted to try for a while now and with Erin’s help, we did our best. They weren’t really bad and I did enjoy eating them, the only problem was that the flavor of the Morel was kind of lost. How do you remedy flavor lost? It’s not like you can just add bacon and boom you’ve got the perfect recipe. And you can’t amplify the Morel flavor either, or can you? While I do recommend frying most foods, this idea needs some tinkering before I can say it’s a delicious way to eat Morels.
We are out of fresh Morels for the season and it seems like that is necessary for at least the vessel of this recipe, however, we have been thinking of a Morel sauce to drizzle over top and a little less breadcrumb and well, maybe some bacon too. I’ll let you know next year if it’s a keeper. Email me if you’ve had success deep frying Morels. email@example.com