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Eat Local! Eat Free!

November 15, 2008

Hen of the woods

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bicolor bolete

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This summer I went mushroom foraging and even took a few Justseeds members on a couple of hikes! Mary Tremonte and Shaun Slifer both accompanied me on a few walks. We talked about blogging at the time, but lost track, so I am finally uploading photos from a couple of the sucessful hikes.


Why mushroom forage? It’s free local food if you live near some woods! After or during the revolution, what we gonna eat? Local free stuff!! Learning about what edible plants grow locally can help keep us healthy, and cut down on the massive use of oil used to transport food around the world! Eliminating our reliance on food transported from outside of our local eco- sphere is a simple way we can help transform our world.
If you find a mushroom that you know is edible, do not pull it from the ground. Cut it at the stem, so you don’t damage the root system. The mushroom is the flower to a large underground mushroom! So, if you don’t pull them from the ground they will grow again in the same place the next year!
Bicolor boletes are in the bolete family. Most boletes are either edible or too bitter to eat (only one known poisonous one– it stains blue immediately as soon as you cut it open). Bicolors stain slightly blue when you press their spores under the cap, but the mushroom flesh doesn’t turn blue when you cut them open. They are tasty, especially fried up with olive oil and a little salt. However, the treasures are the Hen of the woods.
Hen of The Woods mushrooms are found at the base of oak trees in the early fall before the frost. They sometimes hide in the leaves, but they are a rare sight to behold- there are no poisonous look alikes, so when you see one, as soon as you cook it, the sweet aroma fills the air. We found a couple look alikes that were yellowish and really tough instead of brown tops with white underneaths, that we think were slightly old chicken of the woods (also edible) but when we cooked them they were more bitter. But the hen of the woods are sooooooo great!
There are many rules of mushrooming, the most important of which is to never ever eat something you are unsure about, and to consult with local experts or folks with more knowledge than yourself. This is not a guide! Just a small blog! Meant for fun! Not meant to be an instruction!

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4 comments on “Eat Local! Eat Free!”

A ate a bunch of these this Fall!
A friend had been hunting for them all Fall,
and he shared a lot of his findings with me.
Mushrooms can have a really incredible consistency
and taste, and are the best meat substitute
for a lot of dishesm, over soy and gluten products.
He was even able to sell Hen of the woods in the Farmers Market, in NYC, for $25 a pound!
He harvested one that would have gone for over $300!
They were so effin delicious!

those morels look so perfect! what do they taste like? I haven’t ever eaten any!!
we also found some oyster mushrooms later this summer too!!! sooooooooooo tasty! hen of the woods are still my current fave.