Is It Safe To Forage Frozen Mushrooms?

Greetings!

A wintry cold snap, even during the weeks of mid-autumn, can mean different things to different people.

To mushroom hunters, a cold snap any time of the year equates to one or more of the following:

—No mushrooms (Too cold to even bother checking.)
—Fewer mushrooms (Most of which are inedible.)
—Frozen mushrooms (Some of which are choice edible species.)

All three selections are valid, though it is the last option that I’d like to address in this email and in the following video.

You see, quite a few edible mushrooms survive and reproduce in cold temperatures.  It is therefore not uncommon to find edible fungi frozen solid to their substrates.

Recently, I’ve received numerous questions regarding the practice of foraging frozen mushrooms.

Is it safe to do so?  What if the mushroom has been on a tree for weeks?  Does the freeze/thaw cycle alter its texture?

These are all great questions that I address in the following video.  Additional topics discussed in the video include the ability of fungi to produce anti-freeze agents, the destructive effects of freezing on a cellular level, and lots more!

You can check out the brand new video here.

Also, I was recently invited to speak on the topic of mushrooms and gut health with Peggy Schirmer from Gut Feelings.

Fungi, as it turns out, aren’t just residents of forests, fields, parks, and lawns.  They also reside on and inside each and every one of us.

In this interview, we discuss — among many things — the gut mycobiome.  You can check out the interview here.

Thanks for reading and watching, and as always, thank you for your support!

-Adam Haritan

Wild & Slimy Edible Mushrooms (That Are Surprisingly Tasty!)

As the year draws to a close, the fungal kingdom participates in a kind of grand finale that is best experienced within a conifer forest.

Under dense canopies of pines, troops of ochre-colored mushrooms push their way through the soil.  These particular fungi characteristically wear slimy coats adorned with seasonal debris including pine needles, unlucky insects, and additional forest offerings.

Such a performance is not to be missed, as many of these mushrooms are edible and among the last of the mycorrhizal fungi to appear in temperate climates before temperatures plummet and the ground freezes.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve made several trips to conifer-rich woodlands in order to witness this end-of-the-year fungal grand finale.

And on almost every occasion, slimy mushrooms were in no short supply.

If you’re interested in learning more about these wild edible mushrooms whose golden days are numbered, check out the brand new video!

I was recently invited to speak with the hosts of The Survival Show Podcast on the topic of wild mushrooms.  In this episode, we cover the “foolproof four,” tips on getting started, whether or not mushrooms make great survival food, and lots more.  Here are 3 ways to listen to the interview:

Thanks for reading and watching, and as always, thank you for your support!

-Adam Haritan

Strawberry Tree Crumble Cake…The Magical Forgotten Fruit! — Gather Victoria

The Strawberry Tree (Arbutus unedo) is an ornamental shrub that grows all over Victoria but its abundant, plush, juicy fruits just end up littering sidewalks. Seems no one remembers we’ve been eating these succulent fruits for thousands of years! Right now in the PNW the fruits are bright red, ripe and sweet (up to 40% sugar!)…

via Strawberry Tree Crumble Cake…The Magical Forgotten Fruit! — Gather Victoria

All Hallows Eve ‘Soul Cakes’

Lion’s Mane Mushroom — Same Spot, 5 Years In A Row (new video!)

Greetings!

Many years ago, a large white oak tree succumbed to windsnap on a hillside located a few miles from my home.  The standing snag remains, though the rest of the tree lies scattered on the forest floor leading down to a creek.

Since its death, this tree has given life to various fungal species.  Crust fungi adorn bits and pieces of the bark all year round, while cap-and-stem mushrooms appear transiently after seasonal rains.

Among the dozens of fungi that inhabit this fallen oak tree is one species that cannot be ignored.  More than JAM (“just another mushroom”), this particular species is touted for its exquisite taste and medicinal potential.

For the past five years, I’ve paid special visits to the deceased oak tree in search of this delicious, late-season mushroom.  And for the past five years, I’ve never been let down… even during prolonged dry spells.

Check out the newest video to learn more!

I was a recent guest on the Bent Over Wellness Podcast hosted by Isidora Romantini.  In this interview, we discuss ecological roles of fungi, medicinal mushrooms, the importance of learning your land, and lots more.  Check it out!

Thanks for reading and watching, and as always, thank you for your support!

-Adam Haritan

October Herb of the Month, Safflower

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Safflower, Carthamus tinctorius

Did You Know?

• Safflower produces a thistle-like flower ranging in color from yellow to dark red.
• It is one of the oldest cultivated plants, originally grown to use the flowers as coloring agents for food,
cosmetics, and textiles.
• Safflower garlands were found in Tutankhamun’s tomb (around 1323 BCE).
• The pigment from the flower petals is known as carthamin and was used to dye Egyptian textiles dating back to the 12th dynasty.
• As a food additive, carthamin is known as Natural Red 26.
• The flower petals have been substituted for saffron since they do produce a similar color and flavor.
• Commercial production of safflower is primarily for oil pressed from the seeds. By-products of this process create livestock meal and are used in making soap.
• A small amount of commercially grown safflower is for birdseed.
• There are two types of safflower…

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Cake For The Priestesses Of The Dead — Gather Victoria

Halloween takes its roots in ancient festivals and feasts honouring the dead, like Samhain. Which makes it a perfect time for cake…not just any cake, but a cake in remembrance of the Haliorunna. Never heard of them? They were the oracular priestesses of the “underworld mysteries” whose rites of divination and ancestor veneration were demonized and…

via Cake For The Priestesses Of The Dead — Gather Victoria

Food as Medicine: Black Chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa, Rosaceae)

Crooked Bear Creek Organic Herbs

Black chokeberry (Aronia melanocarpa), also known as aronia berry, is a member of the economically important rose (Rosaceae) family, which includes other pome-producing plants like apple (Malus spp.), pear (Pyrus spp.), and quince (Cydonia oblonga). A pome is a fruit produced by the Malinae subtribe within Rosaceae. The genus Aronia includes two species of shrubs that are both native to North America: A. melanocarpa (black chokeberry) and A. arbutifolia (red chokeberry).1 Aronia melanocarpa grows to a height of 4-8 feet (1.2-2.4 meters) and is a cold-hardy, deciduous, thicket-forming shrub that prefers full sun and woodland edges.2,3 Black chokeberry’s natural range extends from the northeastern part of North America and the Great Lakes region to the Appalachian Mountains.1

In spring, black chokeberry shrubs produce clusters of white-to-pink flowers that are 2-2.5 inches long and each form 10-15 pea-sized, purple-black pomes after…

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Sacred Tree Profile: Chestnut’s Magic, Medicine, Mythology and Meaning (Castanea dentata)

The Druid's Garden

Basket of abundant chestnuts!

Just a few weeks ago, I went and checked the local chestnut trees that are in a field near where I live.  Ever since I moved to the new homestead, I have been eagerly visiting these trees.  Last year, they dropped plenty of husks but with only shriveled nuts inside. This year, I was extraordinarily pleased to find that both trees had produced a bumper crop of the delicious nuts–some almost 2″ across, but most smaller, almost all worm-free, and delicious. I eagerly filled my basket with the nuts, stepping carefully around the extremely prickly husks.  I sat with each of the trees and we conversed as I harvested the nuts. I took home 25 lbs of nuts that day, and these nuts will sustain myself, my geese (who love them), and my friends and family for many a Samhain, Thanksgiving, and Yule feast!  Chestnut trees…

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Comfort Food – Banana Bread