Backyard Wilderness Blog
September 2013
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Throughout the year, there are different seasons for a wide variety of wild edibles and medicinals. September is especially welcome as it usually brings an abundance of prized mushrooms and fungi for the savvy forager!
Last year, I took photo of a huge clinker of Chaga growing upon this same golden birch tree, (above,) on a remote, steep hillside in central Vermont. Returning the next day to take additional photos, I was saddened to find that someone had harvested the entire mass. Returning to the same spot this year in late September, I was thrilled to find it growing here again, although only a tenth the size of the original clinker... (See October 2012 blog page.)
Maitake! Maitake! Maitake! Prized throughout much of the world for its delicious flavor, Grifola frondosa, aka Hen-of-the-woods, grows near the base of dying and dead oak trees. Known as "Wishi" by the Cherokees of the southeastern United States, it was extensively utilized as an edible and medicinal fungus by them there for thousands of years..
Special note: Earlier in the year I found Chicken-of-the-Woods, (Laetiporus sulfureus,) growing upon fallen branches of this same tree, (see August 2013 blog page.) Returning a few days later with G. frondosa spore, I dusted it around the base of the tree hoping for the results above! This photo shows just one of five of the beachball-sized clusters I found upon my return!
Fruiting upon the branches of a large Boxelder tree were several Elm Oyster mushrooms, Hypsizygus ulmarius. Although called an oyster mushroom, this one is not a member of the Pleurotus family, and generally is disregarded by mycophages, because of its slightly bitter flavor.
Undeterred by this opinion, and knowing
the power of fresh butter and olive oil, I
combined one Elm Oyster with a few
Pear-Shaped Puffballs, some wild
apples, two tablespoons of butter and
one tablespoon of olive oil, and sauteed
them on medium heat until well browned.
While still a bit bitter at first, the sweet
flavor of the apples and butter eradicated
all unpleasantness as they darkened. Best
of all was the chewy, sea scallop-like
texture of the Elm Oyster! (See photos,