Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Spring Mushroom Hunting, or Why I have been ignoring my blog.

Ever since the snow melted here in Minneapolis I have been roaming the woods looking for interesting and, with any luck, edible mushrooms.  As a result I have a lot of pictures to share with you all. These foraging trips have been put on hold for now as I have broken my foot. The excitement of combing the woods every moment of my free time was tragically and prematurely replaced by pain and restricted movement. I have totally failed you, my blog readers.  I have many things to share with you. I have been hoarding them. Now lets catch up, here are my early spring mushroom photos.

These first photos are from Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. Taken April 16! We were not sure if we would find anything alive this early, but we were pleasantly surprised.
These are dead hulks of last years mushrooms

I found this lively tree ear mushroom. It is actually edible! Maybe next time.

These startling red cup mushrooms were everywhere growing out of dead sticks buried in the ground
Dutchman's Britches, so cute!
According to mushroom lore, Dutchman's britches blooming is one of the signs of Morels! We didn't find any Morels on this excursion however.  When we talked to the park ranger, she suggested Lake Sakatah a nearby state forest as a prime morel hunting location. So of course the next week we made another excursion to beautiful Lake Sakatah.This is what we saw there over the next couple of hiking trips.
There were a lot of beautiful oaks.

Cool looking dead wood, and my thumb

Dryad's Saddle, ride away wood nymph.

The conciliatory Velvet Foot(Feet?)
We saw very few mushrooms around, but the Dryads Saddle is a spring edible, not choice but edible. If smells like watermelon when you cut it open, and of course it is a saddle for the dryads(wood nymphs).
The velvet foot is also an edible just make sure the spore print is white as it has a deadly look alike! The look alike has a brown spore print. If you are super nerdy like me you will be interested to know that the Velvet Foot mushroom is the same as the Enoki mushroom you can buy. The difference is the Enoki is cultivated in the dark so it never gets the orange slimy cap and brown velvety foot.  They grow on dead elm trees, as a consolation prize for unlucky morel hunters.

We were so sure we would find a morel, miracle, but alas we found none.
But we did learn this maybe true fact from wikipedia:  Another name for morels is
 merkels or miracles, based on a story of how a mountain family was saved from starvation by eating morels (the spelling of the word "merkel" reflects the pronunciation of the word "miracle" in the Appalachian dialect common to the south).


3 comments:

  1. Looks life fun! I haven't been to Nerstrand since childhood, I must go back soon!

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    Replies
    1. It is a beautiful woods, I need to go back too! I hear there are lobster mushrooms there later in the season.

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  2. We grew mushrooms a few years ago, and decided that it was a lot less trouble to buy them. And considering how many mushrooms we got, it was cheaper too. But it was still fun to harvest "our own" mushrooms.
    magic mushroom kits


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