Wild Things

Some of the food our farm gives us requires a lot of planning, work and effort on our part.

And some of it requires hardly any–like this beautiful chicken-of-the woods mushroom we found a few days ago.

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Some mushroom hunters spend long hours in the woods searching for these delicacies. But we have a trusty old oak right alongside one of our farm roads that sends up one or two of these beauties every year. All we have to do is notice it on our evening walk, cut it off at ground level, take it home, clean it, and, voila, we have an abundance of gourmet mushroom, free of charge.

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Prepped and ready for future meals. On Instagram someone commented that it looks like crab legs.

Last year wild edibles were a significant part of our summer diet. We especially enjoyed lambs quarters and we even sold a lot of them at the market. But it was Cherie who gathered the wild edibles, and this year she has a full-time non-farm job. So that responsibility fell on me and I didn’t do it very well. The cultivated food kept me busy and we had way more than we could possibly eat, so I neglected the wild greens. But I did bring home this mushroom and I’m looking forward to the great meals that will feature it.

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27 comments on “Wild Things

  1. In a perfect world, there would be enough time for everything. Unfortunately, that’s not the case…but at least you got one treasure this year. Enjoy!
    🙂

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  2. Laurie Graves says:

    As you grow so many greens, it makes more sense to focus on the mushrooms. What a find!

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    • Bill says:

      We definitely didn’t need any more greens this year. Lambs quarters are a great spinach substitute during the hot weather, and I would’ve picked some if we wanted/needed them. But we’re certainly not going to pass up one of these mushrooms if we see one!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. shoreacres says:

    What a beauty. I can well imagine you out in the woods, serenading your glorious find.

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  4. My Dad always took me mushrooming when I was a child, so I know a lot about many of our English Fungi family This one however is new to me.. and I would have avoided it had I seen it.. 🙂 I think you have to know exactly what you are doing with Fungi..
    This one looks to be very meaty Bill..
    Enjoy your Day and forthcoming weekend my friend
    Sue

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  5. avwalters says:

    There is only so much time. Sometimes we forget to take that walk in the woods. Someday, I’ll learn more about the wild edibles in our forest. Mushrooms both entice and terrify!

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    • Bill says:

      We’ve made it part of our evening routine to take a walk after supper. In fact, I’ve just come in from tonight’s stroll.

      We learned that the most desirable mushrooms (around here at least) don’t have any dangerous look-alikes. The riskier mushrooms also are those that don’t taste as good, so we just don’t bother with those. Even still, before we ate the first one we found we took it to a friend who is an expert and had him identify it for us. I’d recommend that.

      Liked by 1 person

      • avwalters says:

        We walk regularly at the end of the day–but often on the road. The hills in our back forty are too steep for an end of the day jaunt. In the spring we have morels–and they’re easy to identify. In time we’ll learn, and enjoy, more.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. NebraskaDave says:

    Bill, all the mushroom hunting in Nebraska is done in the Spring. Lots of Morel mushroom leave the woods along the rivers during the Spring. There’s just other time of the year when mushrooms grow in Nebraska. It’s just too hot and dry during the summer months. I never really acquired the desire to hunt for or cook with mushrooms. Foraging for them was more of an adventure when I spent spring weekends at my uncle’s house then a desire to eat them. I did eat some but it wasn’t a special treat like for others. I haven’t hunted for mushrooms in over 50 years but those memories with my uncle are good memories. I suspect those special mushrooms you find are not sold but kept for yourself.

    Have a great mushroom finding day.

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    • Bill says:

      You’re right. We sell some of the shiitakes we grow, but the chicken-of-the-woods we keep for ourselves. 🙂

      I’ve been looking for morels every spring for as long since we moved back here (we call them “hickory chickens” here) and I’ve never found a single one! Maybe next year…

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  7. This is making me hungry for crab-stuffed mushrooms! The restaurant who created that yummy supper is no longer in business. I love eating mushrooms, get a great deal of a huge pack from our local store. But I don’t have enough skill to pick wild ones.

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    • Bill says:

      Crab-stuffed mushrooms sound really delicious. I’ll have to try that someday.

      We eat a lot of mushrooms too and are fortunate that we don’t have to buy them. We raise our own shiitakes and we’ve been lucky enough to find chanterelles and chicken-of-the-woods growing here. We have puffballs here too and we’ve eaten them at times but we don’t like them as much as the others.

      As I mentioned above, once you learn what the good edible mushrooms look like you really don’t have to worry about picking the wrong kind. We stick to those that are distinctive and without dangerous look-alikes.

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  8. We have a lot of mushrooms here and I know that many are edible and many are not.. since I have never had anyone to teach me the difference I just enjoy finding them and photographing them and sometimes drawing and painting pictures of them .

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    • Bill says:

      We have lots of weird and beautiful mushrooms here and I enjoy seeing them. But I would never try eating any except the few we can positively identify as both edible and delicious. 🙂

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  9. Some of the happiest memories of my youth were of mushroom hunting with the family. We bring them home and dry them out on top of our wood stove. –Curt

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  10. Zambian Lady says:

    That mushroom must be tasty. I find wild food (except venison, for some reason) tastier that cultivated one.

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    • Bill says:

      Mushrooms like this one can’t be domesticated. So they’re both delicious and rare. That’s why the gourmet chefs pay so much money for them. In our case we get to eat gourmet meals without having to fork over piles of money. 🙂

      I know that many people don’t care for venison, but I really like it. In fact it’s the only red meat I’ve eaten for the past 10 years. And as with the mushrooms, it’s hard to beat the price.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Leigh says:

    As enthusiastic as I am on wild foods, I’ve never even considered learning about mushrooms. You’ve got me thinking!

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  12. Eileen Wise says:

    Hello, I can say how many times I passed by this mushroom during my walks. I would have never thought to pick it and bring it home for food. Maybe next time, I think it does look pretty. Happy Friday, have a great weekend!

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    • Bill says:

      Pretty, and delicious! I’d just recommend you take it to someone knowledgeable for a positive i.d. the first time. After that you should easily be able to spot them. The “chickens” are quite distinctive. 🙂

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