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Today in the Enchanted Mushroom Forest

I had planned to take the dogs out for our usual Sunday in the woods, but it was a grim and rainy morning, so I decided to do leave the dogs at home and do an abbreviated trip.

I know a forest that often gives up hedgehog mushrooms so I stopped there first. I very quickly found more hedgehogs than I ever have before, and moreover found them in a variety of spots. Last year I only found these delicious mushrooms in one very localized spot. While I was gathering them, I also picked quite a number of lobster mushrooms, and a few chanterelles. I considered staying in this forest for the morning, given that I was finding a lot of mushrooms, but I wanted to have a look at another forest further north. By the way, on the road into this particular forest, I saw a number of wild turkeys entering the forest from the side of the road.

It poured all the way up to the next forest but stopped again as I arrived. This forest was full of coral fungi, really a fantastic amount of it. First I checked for chanterelles in the usual spots but didn’t find any. I did end up finding a few here and there. The surprise of the morning was that I started finding hedgehog mushrooms, quite  a few of them, including a few very large ones. There were also a lot of boletes in the woods. I picked quite a number, mostly ornate stalked boletes, or Boletus ornatipes. I’ve read reports that these can be bitter but that hasn’t been my experience. The ones I’ve picked have been quite tasty.

The rain started again I walked back to the car and headed home. It poured and poured until I got to the outskirts of the city.

I’ve got the dehydrator set up and have some boletes, lobster mushrooms and hedgehogs drying. We’re going to eat the chanterelles and a pile of hedgehogs fresh and I have a nice bowl of hedgehogs for some friends. For tonight, I’m going to cook up some mushrooms with some shallots and garlic (courtesy of Salvelinas) and some Villager sausage and some Swiss Chard.

2 Comments

  1. I was quite surprised to find hedgehogs in the second forest I visited (Salvelinas, it was the teacher’s trail for your benefit). I’ve only found a couple there in the past. In the other place, it seems as if they grow in association with hemlock but not in this second forest. They were grouped in both cases, much like chanterelles are often grouped – find one and look closely in the immediate area for more.

  2. Salvelinas Fontinalis

    Swiss Chard is an absolute staple in our house. Not the imported stuff from California that cost $2.99 for 5 stalks and might be 6-7 days old when you buy them, but the garden fresh stuff that is picked young and tender. I think the flavor is much better and chard is likely the easiest and most reliable vegetable to grow. It is pretty healthy stuff as well. Since we have unlimited chard, unlimited shallots, piles of high quality hardneck garlic, and more mushrooms that you can shake a stick at we make similar dishes a couple of times a week from May until Halloween. Just change the meat and the sauce to get a different taste and maybe toss in some garden fresh asparagus or green beans and Bob’s your uncle. 3-4 thin slices of fresh ginger, slivered, will bring this sort of dish alive and I consider the ginger a must have.

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