Mushroom Colors & The Surprising Stories They Tell (new video!)

Anyone who has ever walked through the forest knows how colorful mushrooms can be.

Red, purple, blue, green, yellow, black, white… it seems that just about every color is represented in the fungal kingdom.

But have you ever asked yourself “Why?”

Why are mushrooms so colorful?  What’s the reasoning behind coloration within the fungal kingdom?  Why are some mushrooms highly pigmented while others are seemingly drab?

Fortunately, a new study has given us some answers based on trends spanning 40 years and over 3 million observations of mushrooms.

Needless to say, the results of this study are quite fascinating!

If you’re interested in hearing some surprising stories that the colors of mushrooms can tell, check out the brand new video!

 

I was a recent guest on the Awake Aware Alive⁣⁣⁣⁣⁣ Podcast hosted by Jacob Gossel.  In this interview, we discuss foraging for food, nature connection, my thoughts on hunting, and lots more!

 

Lastly (and this may pertain more to PA folks, though anyone can certainly help!), you can support a fantastic organization in Pennsylvania by voting for Pennsylvania’s River Of The Year and selecting “Buffalo Creek.”  This waterway is stewarded in part by the Audubon Society Of Western Pennsylvania and is designated an Important Bird Area due to species of concern that inhabit the area.  If Buffalo Creek receives the most votes, the Audubon Society will be awarded a grant to expand their conservation impact in this high-quality watershed.  To show your support, click this link and select “Buffalo Creek.”  It only takes a few seconds!

Thanks for reading and watching (and casting a vote if you did!), and as always, thank you for your continued support.

-Adam Haritan

Do Plants Scream When Stressed? A Brand New Study Has Some Answers

Noises associated with plants aren’t unfamiliar to those of us who spend time with plants.  We hear plants in the wind, in the rain, and even when fruit capsules explode to release seeds.

Generally, plant noises are considered to be the by-products of mechanical processes, rather than the ways in which plants intentionally communicate with other organisms.

In fact, it almost seems too esoteric to suggest that plants communicate using sounds, yet new research offers insights into the unique ways in which plants may do just that.

Interestingly, many news outlets have picked up on this story and are now reporting on the ability of plants to “scream” in stressful situations.  These situations include drought-like conditions and the physical cutting of stems.

But is that what plants are really doing?  “Screaming” when cut or deprived of water?

That’s the topic of this week’s video, so if you’re unfamiliar with the ability of plants to emit informative airborne sounds in stressful situations, check it out!

Mushrooms utilize all kinds of organic material for sustenance… including the stems and leaves of moss.  If you’re unfamiliar with this particular moss-loving fungus, check out the recent Instagram post!

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

-Adam Haritan

How to Grow and Use Hibiscus, Plus a Fire Cider Recipe

Written by Juliet Blankespoor with Meghan Gemma
Photographed by Juliet Blankespoor

How to Grow & Use Hibiscus Plus a Fire Cider Recipe

I try not to foster any regrets in life, but I must confess that I waited too many years to plant hibiscus, thinking the temperate climate unsuitable for its success—and for that, I am sorry. It is, in fact, easy to grow and harvest if you have the right variety and get a head start on the season.

The hibiscus we use medicinally—also called roselle—is made from the calyces (aka sepals) of Hibiscus sabdariffa in the Mallow family (Malvaceae). These deep red calyces are often mistaken for flowers, and may be sold as such. Other notable members of the mallow family include cotton (Gossypium spp.), okra (Abelmoschus esculentus), rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus), and marshmallow (Althaea officinalis).

There are other species of hibiscus with edible flowers, but no other species has a similar medicinal and edible calyx. When the petals fall off, the receptacle (flower base) and calyx (sepals) remain as fleshy red crowns. See the picture below of the flower with the petals intact (on the left) and the remaining calyx (on the right).

Ready to keep reading about hibiscus? We discuss its medicinal benefits (heart-healing!), culinary qualities, and cultivation below. We also divulge the recipe for our lusciously red Hibiscus Pomegranate Fire Cider. This is truly one of my must-have healing herbs!

Read complete article at: Chestnut School of Herbal Medicine ~ How To Grow and Use Hibiscus, Plus A Fire Cider Recipes

Two More Reasons To Add Mushrooms To Your Holiday Menus

Greetings!

If you’re looking for reasons to eat more mushrooms, read on.

Two new relevant studies were published in the scientific literature this past year, each one highlighting the importance of mushrooms in the human diet.

1. Mushroom consumption and mild cognitive impairment

As part of a recent study design, and to determine any association between mushroom consumption and mild cognitive impairment, researchers in Singapore analyzed diet and lifestyle factors of 663 participants over the age of 60.

After controlling for factors including age, education, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activities, meat consumption, and vegetable consumption, participants who consumed greater than 2 portions of mushrooms per week had lower odds of having mild cognitive impairment compared to participants who consumed mushrooms less than once per week.

Findings were similar in males and females, and results were published in the Journal Of Alzheimer’s Disease.  Researchers concluded:  “Mushroom  consumption could be a potential preventive measure to slow cognitive decline and neurodegeneration in aging.”

 2. Mushroom consumption and prostate cancer

A brand new study published in the International Journal Of Cancer looked at the association between mushroom consumption and prostate cancer in over 36,000 Japanese men between the ages of 40 and 79.

This was the first long-term cohort study ever published on the subject.  (A cohort study follows participants over time to determine the incidence of, or mortality from, a disease or other outcome.)

Results indicated that higher mushroom consumption in men over the age of 50 was related to a lower risk of incident prostate cancer.  Additionally, researchers found a beneficial effect of mushroom consumption on the prevention of prostate cancer regardless of clinical stage of tumor development (localized or advanced and metastatic).

Researchers in this study concluded that “habitual mushroom intake might help to reduce prostate cancer risk.”

So… if you needed yet another reason to eat more mushrooms, perhaps these two studies will influence your decision in a positive manner.

Lastly, today (Sunday) is the last day to enroll in Foraging Wild Mushrooms, as registration will close at midnight.  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.

Additionally, a portion of all proceeds derived from course sales will be donated to the Pennsylvania Parks & Forest Foundation — a nonprofit organization whose mission it is to inspire stewardship of Pennsylvania’s beautiful state parks and forests.

You can learn more about the course here.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you’ll consider adding more mushrooms to your holiday menus!

-Adam Haritan

Foraging Wild Mushrooms — Online Course Registration Open For Limited Time

Greetings!

In anticipation of the winter mushroom season, and at the request of those eager to pursue educational opportunities during the winter months, I decided to open the doors to Foraging Wild Mushrooms for the next 5 days.

This 4-season online course is designed to help you safely, successfully, and confidently forage wild mushrooms from the forest, from the field, and even from your own backyard!

Whether you’re interested in foraging for food, for medicine, for study, or just for fun, Foraging Wild Mushrooms covers the most important lessons to get you started.

In addition to over 70 step-by-step exclusive and instructional videos included within the course, you’ll also receive:

  • Supplemental handouts covering mushroom anatomy, terminology, and biology that you can download and print for easy viewing.
  • A 42-page guide to medicinal mushrooms that summarizes the latest research on the most popular medicinal fungi and features over 75 peer-reviewed references.
  • Immediate and lifetime access to all materials.

Additionally, I’m equally (if not more) excited to let you know that a portion of all proceeds derived from course sales will be donated to the Pennsylvania Parks & Forest Foundation — a nonprofit organization whose mission it is to inspire stewardship of Pennsylvania’s beautiful state parks and forests.

As you may or may not know, a good bit of Learn Your Land’s educational programming is filmed on-site within many of Pennsylvania’s state parks and forests.  To express gratitude, and to ensure that these wild places exist for generations to come, I find it imperative to support organizations that in turn directly support the forests.

Therefore, a portion of all proceeds derived from this enrollment period will be donated to the Pennsylvania Parks & Forest Foundation.

Please note that enrollment for Foraging Wild Mushrooms is open for 5 days only — from today until Sunday, December 15th at midnight.  After that, enrollment will be closed.

To learn more about the course, check out this video which gives an overview of what you can expect.

I hope to see you in there!
—Adam Haritan

The Curious Lives Of Carnivorous Mushrooms (New Video!)

 

Greetings!

Before I share this week’s brand new video with you, I’d like to mention that I’ll be sending out another email tomorrow — Wednesday, December 11th — with a special announcement inside.

If you’re interested in reading more about the announcement, be sure to check your inbox tomorrow!

Moving forward, let’s discuss something that sounds a bit more like science fiction than fact.

Carnivorous mushrooms.

Many people are unaware that fungi have the ability to capture and consume living members of the animal kingdom.  Interestingly, researchers have been studying the topic of carnivorous fungi for over a century.

More than just a quirk of nature, carnivorous fungi represent hundreds of species that commonly inhabit woods, forests, and fields.  They’re so common that, if you’re a fan of wild edible mushrooms, there’s a good chance you’ve eaten a carnivorous species on at least one occasion.

As is my habit, I decided to film a video in celebration of these accomplished hunters and trappers.

If you’re interested in learning more, check it out!

 

While recently spending some time in sunny San Diego, I had the unique opportunity to visit what is considered to be the rarest pine tree in the United States.  To learn more about this 5-needled, cliff-dwelling species, check out the recent Instagram post!

Thanks for reading and watching, and remember… be sure to check your inbox tomorrow for the special announcement!

-Adam Haritan

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

Sacred Tree Profile: Black Locust’s Medicine, Magic, Mythology and Meanings

The Druid's Garden

Black locust in bloom

Black Locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) is a spiny, scraggly tree that is found abundantly along the US East Coast. Very little is written about this tree from a magical or mythological perspective, although certainly, anyone who works wood or practices permaculture is aware of the more tangible benefits this tree provides. In today’s post, we explore this amazing tree and start building some more specific magical knowledge to incorporate this tree into local druidic or nature-spirituality practices.

My parents’ land in Western PA, land where I grew up, consisted primarily of old potato fields.  We had two sets of tree lines where the farmers had let the trees grow; these lines were full of huge cherry and maple trees grew.  In between those tree lines as the land sloped down the mountain were open areas populated with blackberry bushes, hawthorn, and black locusts–several acres of them…

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How to Make Elderberry Syrup for Immune Health

Good Witches Homestead

Each year as winter approaches, I reliably find my patients asking me about the best herbal remedies to use during the cold weather months. One of the most common questions I encounter is, “What nutritional preparations can I use to help keep my family strong and healthy throughout the sniffle season?”. There’s a wide array of herbs well-suited to addressing specific and general winter wellness goals, but one of my favorite, tried-and-true choices for general immune support is the elderberry.

And while there are lots of ways to enjoy the healthful benefits of elderberries, one of the best-loved is that longtime herbal apothecary staple, elderberry syrup.

Elderberry Syrup Benefits

The berries, flowers, and bark of the elder (Sambucus) plant have long been prized by herbalists across the globe, and modern studies have also substantiated the berries’ ability to help maintain normal, healthy functioning of our immune system*. This makes elderberry an…

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