So today I took an inventory of our freezer to see which types of mushrooms survived deep freeze better than others. I was quite disappointed to see that the only species that really “made it” throughout the winter was Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sp.). In fact, 90% showed no signs of degradation at all, however I did note a trend that the fresher it was frozen the better it held up. This is very promising as Chickens don’t dehydrate well *at all* (they become papery and gritty when they’re rehydrated, no matter for how long). Chicken “ends,” i.e. the bits that are corky to begin with and are destined for making into broth, work well when they’re dehydrated and then boiled in water to make soup, however they need to be scooped out after they’ve imparted their flavor to the broth as they are simply inedible.
All of our Oysters (Pleurotus sp.), Honey Mushrooms (Armillaria sp., including E./A. abortivum), Meadow Mushrooms (Agaricus campestris), and Puffballs (Calvatia sp., Vacellum sp. etc) didn’t make it through the winter months without serious freezer burn or going stale, no matter how well-packed they were.
All of our Hen of the Woods (Maitake / Grifola frondosa) that was in the freezer didn’t do so well either, but the dried Hens are still great, sealed in airtight mason jars.
This upcoming year I’ll be experimenting with more dehydration.
Since my eldest daughter has come down with a cold, and the rest of us are fighting not to get sick, our planned mushroom hunt after last night’s heavy rain was greatly abbreviated.
Here are the mushrooms of note from our hike:
Very young Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus) growing from a downed oak tree.
Tomorrow, if we’re feeling up to it, we may be back to pick the rest when they mature. These guys were the so called “true” oysters as their sporeprint came back a very very faint lilac.
We found a *very* pleasant surprise when my wife looked into the standing, hollowed out trunk of the tree the Oysters were growing on and came upon a *perfect* specimen of Hen of the Woods (Grifola frondosa).
There were also two Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus variety) growing in Johnson Park.
The latter one was a second bloom, growing from a place we harvested earlier in the season.
Also, a number of other types of mushrooms we came across that I do not have pictures of (as I simply haven’t had the time to upload them yet) were a bunch of forest Marasmius, a stick full of Jelly Ears (Auricularia auricula-judae), one Deer Mushroom (Pluteus cervinis) and a half-dozen Meadow Mushrooms (Agaricus campestris). Out of all of those, we only picked the Meadows.
It was all worth it in the end. For dinner we had bacon, rarebit and Chicken of the Woods sandwiches on fresh home-made whole wheat bread.
That meal embodied the taste of Fall for me. 🙂
Today’s trek through the Helyar Woods and a few other places yielded a few fun culinary specimens.
A tiny Beefsteak Polypore. At this point I think that the literature needs updating. Beefsteaks seem to be naturalized in NJ.
Two good brackets of Chicken of the Woods. One in Helyar from a bigger cluster that was picked over by another mushroom hunter, another exceptionally young bracket from the log by Ryder’s Lane (much more grew, but sadly so did the poison ivy).
Lots of Meadow Mushrooms from a variety of places, including the largest specimen of the year so far.
In the next post I’ll have the inedibles and unidentifieds.
All above: Fistulina hepatica
All above: Laetiporus sulphureus
All above: Agaricus campestris
After two days of steady rain there was a huge bloom of mushrooms.
Here are some that we’ve pulled in so far. 🙂
Agaricus campestris and one C. cyathiformis
Another M. oreades
Two A. campestris
Two A. cyathiformis
Yesterday we all decided to take a trip into Colonial Park to search for mushrooms, and we were pleased to find a large bloom of Agaricus campestris (Meadow Mushrooms) and assorted Lycoperdon (Spiky Puffballs). I’ll have some images of them up as soon as I sync my phone.