Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Foraging

One of my little pleasures in life (besides growing a garden where I can grow vegetables without a bunch of pesticides and a long ride in some truck to get to my table) is to find edibles in the wild.

Some call it foraging.

Euell Gibbons wrote the classic book on the subject back in 1962, "Stalking the Wild Asparagus." Now that is one guy I would love to have for a neighbor.

From his book I have learned the right way to enjoy dandelions - when they are young and tender -- and about other nourishing goodies such as candied acorns, daylily pods and (non-poison) sumac berries. From other sources, I learned about the edible bulbs of spring beauty and how to chew the stem of a sweetgum leaf for, well, the sweetgum. But I am still a novice.

And until today, I had completely ignored the last half of his book, on wild mushrooms.

My parents are into wild mushrooms but they live thousands of miles away and so their knowledge is hard to share.

Ela suggested that I had photographed oyster mushrooms the other day. And after three other experts looked at the photos and agreed, including my parents, I took the chance. Like Trisia noted below, deadly mushrooms tend to grow out of the soil, not out of logs. And they don't tend to grow in huge clumps either.

So I dabbed the alleged oyster mushrooms with a wet paper towel -- you're never supposed to rinse or soak mushrooms in water, it makes them tough -- then sauteed them with a little butter. I took one careful, little bite.

Absolutely, utterly delicious! Not like the store-brand mushrooms at all. A little gamey and with just a hint of bitterness that only added to the flavor.

I couldn't help myself. I ate almost the whole pan full.,

Five hours have passed. I am not yet dead.

I have entered a wonderful new world.

12 comments:

Braveheart ( Ela) said...

hmm, never thought of picking other things in the woods, but I know of books that provide a lot of info. That is going to be my next buy.

I am hopefully going mushroom picking this saturday(Chanterelles mostly) If I spot a oyster mushroom I am sure going to pick it up.

...Kat said...

and y'all please be careful foraging

do you kow that Box Turtles eat mushrooms, even poisonous ones with no ill effect.

However People be cautious of dining on the turtles yourselves for the toxins remain in the flesh and can do you in.

of course we know no one here that would eat a Box Turtle

Lizza said...

The mushrooms in your earlier post look so cool. Enjoyed your other pics too.

Glad to hear the mushroom experiment went well! I love mushrooms too. :-)

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Oyster mushrooms are delicious. They can be grown using a mixture of sawdust and wheat. I would never have thought of trying to pick them from the wild. Wouldn't have the confidence that I would correctly identify it.

eastcoastdweller said...

Ela: I thank You for helping me to make this discovery.

Kat: I am very, very careful. I'm pretty confident with my plant knowledge, not so much with mushrooms.

I would NEVER, unless I was starving and had no other choice, eat a box turtle. They can live to be a hundred years old if people don't run them over or turn their homes into shopping centers.

Lizza: Thanks for the compliment!

LGS: Figuring out how to cultivate them will be my next step.

Braveheart ( Ela) said...

you're welcome

Open Grove Claudia said...

Well hurray!! and YUM! Good for you for being brave and trying a new treat!

Melanie said...

mushrooms... yummy. My sister and her hubby do the mushroom hunting thing a few times a year in No Cali.

Glad your foraging paid off!

PixieDust said...

Oh, this sounds so exciting! How wonderful to walk into nature's buffet, pluck, and enjoy...

:-)

eastcoastdweller said...

As Mr. G. notes in his book, one doesn't need access to a virgin wilderness to forage successfully -- edible plants grow in weedy fields, lawns, woods-edges, all kinds of places.

I just stay in the woods and in my own yard, because you don't know what pesticides people spray in other places.

Molly said...

Sounds delish! Glad you didn't keel over. I remember Euell Gibbons.....

leslie said...

I haven't heard Euell Gibbons mentioned in many years.
It wasn't too many years ago that people couldn't run to the local 7-11 for dinner...