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.
A new bloom of Pleurotus (probably P. ostreatus). Currently spore printing to check which species.
Lots of edibles collected on the 13th as well as this afternoon. Both walks were abbreviated as were still recovering from colds.
About 6.5 pounds of mushrooms total.
This one was one of the freshest I’ve come across this season. The flesh was pure white, firm, and smelled wonderfully.
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The C. cyathiformis from earlier along with a mess of Oyster Mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus).
The patch of P. ostreatus.
This is the same log as before, whose base had the Hen of the Woods (Grifola frondosa). After last night’s rain, we looked a little further up the log and saw:
A *gorgeous* and *large* Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus).
The entire thing was so fresh that not even the inner-most parts were corky yet.
On our way out of the woods, we spotted a giant Black Oak tree (Quercus velutina) that had seven clusters of young Hen of the Woods (Grifola frondosa).
We took three. This one.
Not this one.
And this one.
Tomorrow we plan on coming back to see how the others have grown (or if other mycophiles helped themselves). 🙂
On the side of Ryder’s Lane, my wife spotted a downed tree with no less than 30 pounds of Chicken of the Woods growing on it. To my disappointment, I was only able to harvest 1/3 of the bounty as the other portion was growing through or far too close to poison ivy.
However, we found another bunch in the Livingston Ecological Preserve that more than made up for it.
After all was cleaned, we now have 10 pounds total of ready to eat Chickens in the fridge and freezer.
We also found some Oyster Mushrooms not too far from the second Chickens batch.
It’s been a good haul.