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…

View original post 2,037 more words

Comfort Food – Banana Bread

Hedgerow Vintage

I think fruit loaves are the perfect comfort food for Autumn. They are easy to make and are very forgiving when it comes to baking. This is a recipe I use for Banana Bread that never lets me down, and is ideal when you have a few bananas that are over ripe and you don’t want to throw them away. You can also tweak it really easily by adding additional fruits and spices, I sometimes add coconut, sultanas, carrots and will play around with cinnamon, ginger, mixed spice and nutmeg. There is also a lovely Pumpkin Loaf version of this, I will be posting a little nearer All Hallows.

Ingredients

  • 100g (4oz) butter, softened
  • 175g (6oz) brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 225g (8oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1 tbsp of cinnamon or mixed spice
  • You will need a 900g (2lb) loaf tin.

View original post 225 more words

On The Hunt For Autumn Mushrooms (new video)!

Greetings!

After spending a wonderful weekend teaching classes at the Midwest Wild Harvest Festival in Wisconsin, I’m back in Pennsylvania and excited to experience the transformations that accompany the autumn season.

Western Pennsylvania, unlike most of Wisconsin, has experienced very little rainfall during the past month.  Honey holes and hen houses have been awfully and uncharacteristically quiet in many parts of our woods, leading many dispirited foragers to wonder aloud (and especially on Facebook): “Is it time to hang up the basket?”

Fortunately, the claim that any mushroom season is “poor” is oftentimes one of opinion and conjecture.  As the notable mycologist Gary Lincoff would frequently say:  “Even if you don’t see the mushrooms, they’re there.”

In other words, keep looking.

Taking Gary’s advice to heart, I’m forever committed to finding fungi even in the most inhospitable of circumstances.  In this brand new video, I share with you a recent excursion into the (very dry) woods in search of autumn mushrooms.

More than just a mushroom hunt, however, this video features discussions on old growth trees, the ecological value of parasites, and nutty decomposers.

Enjoy!

I was a recent guest on the World Wild Podcast, hosted by internationally renowned wild foods expert, author, and public speaker Miles Irving.  In this interview, we discuss nature deficit disorder, societal barriers to nature connection, medicinal mushrooms, wild spring water, and more.   Check it out!

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

-Adam Haritan

Old-fashioned Baked Apple Roll

Can’t wait to try this

A Hundred Years Ago

Baked apple roll in baking dish

Fall is the season for apples, and the perfect time to make apple desserts. I recently found a lovely hundred-year-old recipe for Baked Apple Roll; however, it has one quirky characteristic. The recipe does not call for any cinnamon.

The Baked Apple Roll is smothered in a very simple sugar, water, and butter sauce. The roll looked beautiful, but (since I’m so used to apple dishes being spiced with cinnamon), the roll tasted bland to me. If I made this recipe again, I might add some cinnamon – though I recognize that wouldn’t hold true to the old recipe.

Here’s the original recipe:

Recipe for baked apple roll Source: The Old Reliable Farm and Home Cook Book (1919)

When I made the recipe, I halved it, and still had a large roll that made 4-5 servings. Here is the recipe updated for modern cooks.

    Unbaked apple roll in baking dish with sugar, water, and pats of butter

View original post

A New Study Supports The Claim That This Mushroom Can Stave Off Dementia

Greetings!

I’m constantly scanning the scientific literature in search of new studies that document the healing potential of mushrooms.  Recently, I encountered a study whose results lend even more support to the use of one particular mushroom for cognitive health.

Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus) is an edible mushroom whose fruiting body consists of an unbranched, cushiony mass of icicle-like spines.  This fungus is a common decomposer of hardwood trees and can often be found late summer through early winter in eastern North America.

In addition to its culinary use, Lion’s Mane is valued for its potential therapeutic applications.  More specifically, extracts from this fungus have been shown to offer support for the treatment of cognitive impairment and depression.

A brand new study published in the journal Biomedical Research revealed that ingestion of Lion’s Mane fruiting bodies significantly improved cognitive function in human participants.

This double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial utilized 31 humans over the age of 50.  Participants in the experimental group ingested 4 supplements — each containing 0.8 grams of powdered Lion’s Mane — every day for 12 weeks.

After 12 weeks of ingestion, the participants in the experimental group significantly outperformed those in the control group (participants who received a placebo) on tests that are commonly used in medicine to screen for dementia.

Researchers concluded that compounds within Lion’s Mane known as hericenones potentially have the ability to influence “brain neural networks and improve cognitive functions” (Biomedical Research, 2019).

Even better, Lion’s Mane is currently fruiting in eastern North America and will continue to make appearances throughout the next few months.  In other words, you have the ability to forage your own wild medicine right now.

If you’re interested in learning how to forage Lion’s Mane and dozens of other wild fungi, don’t forget to check out what Foraging Wild Mushrooms has to offer.

This online course is designed to teach you the skills necessary to safely and confidently harvest wild fungi for food, for medicine, for study, and for fun.

Today (Monday) is the last day to enroll, as registration will close at midnight.

To learn more, you can follow this link:  Foraging Wild Mushrooms

In the meantime, consider delving deeper into the fascinating world of Lion’s Mane and its ability to protect the human brain against cognitive decline.  The research seems promising!

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

-Adam Haritan

Damson Jam

Hedgerow Vintage

We spent a wonderful day picking fruit at a Pick Your Own fruit farm. We had baskets full of damsons, strawberries and a few green beans. The site that we visit, is old and quiet, lots of trees and birds. It has a gentle, stillness.

Last year I burnt my damson jam, so this year I was determined to get it right….and I did!

Here is the recipe I used, it has a much reduced sugar content from many jam recipes you will see, but the jam has ended up being much more tart, which I really like. We did stone all the fruit beforehand, manually – there is just no easy way around it.

Ingredients

  • 1.5kg Damsons (stoned)
  • 900kg Sugar
  • 400ml Water
  • A good sprinkling of cinnamon

Method

  • Cook the damsons in a preserving pan with the water gently for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Then add the sugar slowly…

View original post 171 more words

Praise of the Pumpkin

Good Witches Homestead

The pumpkin is a fall fruit with a rich heritage and flexible flavor that has been used for centuries.

If the tomato is the queen of garden vegetables, the pumpkin may well be the king. In fact, in some parts of China, it is called “Emperor of the garden.” And why not? No plant produces a larger edible fruit, and what other plants can yield tens (or even hundreds) of pounds of healthful, delicious eating from a single seed in only a few months’ time? Pumpkins are known and loved around the world, for their beauty as well as for the gifts they bestow so generously, asking so little in return.

What’s In A Name?

A pumpkin is a winter squash, but not all winter squash are pumpkins. Confused? So is everyone else. The Oxford English Dictionary defines pumpkin as the large fruit of Cucurbita pepo, “egg-shaped or nearly…

View original post 3,989 more words

The Small Mushrooms We’re All Overlooking (new video!)

Greetings!

Just a reminder that on Monday, September 16th, I’ll be opening registration for my online course Foraging Wild Mushrooms.  This course is designed for beginner-level mushroom enthusiasts who are looking to confidently and successfully harvest wild mushrooms for food, for medicine, for study, and for fun.

If you’re interested in signing up for Foraging Wild Mushrooms, mark your calendar for Monday, September 16th and visit this link.

And now on to this week’s brand new video!

I’ve never been one to judge a mushroom based on its size.  Teeny-tiny fungi can be equally as fascinating as big, beefy mushrooms.

During a recent walk through a beautiful forest, I encountered all kinds of small mushrooms whose roles were no less essential than those of the larger fungi.  Rather than keep these fungal encounters to myself, I thought I’d pull out my camera and document the fun.

If you’re interested in learning some neat things about a few of the smaller mushrooms that may be growing in your neck of the woods, check out the brand new video!

Speaking of fascinating fungi, have you ever met a blue mushroom that smelled strongly of anise?  Pictured here is one such fragrant fungus that commonly decomposes forest debris during the summer and autumn months.  To learn more about this mushroom, and to view more photographs, check out the recent Instagram post!

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

-Adam Haritan

Warm, Spicy Aroma of Cinnamon

Good Witches Homestead

The warm, spicy aroma of cinnamon wafting from baked goods and hot apple cider is one of the first and welcome signs of autumn. An ancient and beloved spice, we have long valued cinnamon to enliven cuisine, create exotic perfumes, and as a staple spice rack remedy.

Though many species of cinnamon exist, the most common is Cassia {cinnamomum cassia}, known also as Chinese cinnamon, and Ceylon {Cinnamomum zylanicum}, which is a related species of tropical evergreen trees in the Lauraceae family native to East and Southeast Asia. While Cassia is most familiar to the United States, its cousin Ceylon is considered “true” cinnamon and more popular in Europe and Mexico.

cinnamon two types

First appearing in Traditional Chinese Medical texts over 4,000 years ago, cinnamon was used to boost the immune system and unblock yang qi. The Egyptians prized it as food, perfume, and incense while Ayurvedic…

View original post 678 more words

Foraging Wild Mushrooms — Online Course Registration Opens Next Week!

Greetings!

I’m extremely excited to announce that, in anticipation of the upcoming autumn mushroom season, registration for my online course will be open next week on Monday, September 16th.  Since the course’s first launch in May, I’ve added several new videos and will continue to add them throughout the year.

Foraging Wild Mushrooms is a four-season course designed to help you confidently and successfully forage wild mushrooms.  Whether you’re interested in foraging for food, for medicine, for study, or just for fun, this online course covers the most important lessons to get you started and to keep you going!

This course is presented entirely online and it features over 70 exclusive videos that cover all the essentials for beginner-level mushroom hunters, including mushroom ecology; mushroom biology; common edible mushrooms; medicinal mushrooms; poisonous mushrooms; cooking techniques; medicine-making; and more.

Upon registration, you can watch the videos at your own pace and you will have access to the course forever.

Please note that Foraging Wild Mushrooms will only be open for registration for one week only, from midnight on September 16th to Monday, September 23rd.  After September 23rd, registration will be closed.

If you’re interested in signing up for Foraging Wild Mushrooms, mark your calendar for Monday, September 16th and visit this link.

I’ve derived so much enjoyment foraging wild food and medicine from the fungal kingdom over the years, and I’d love to help you experience the same life-changing thrills too!

I hope to see you on September 16th!
-Adam Haritan