Sunday, August 28, 2016

Magic Mushroom

Every summer, this huge, orange fungus springs up practically overnight underneath one of our oak trees.  It's pretty, but I had no idea what it was till I read an article written recently by a friend.  (I would link to the actual article, but it seems to have disappeared from her web site.  I will have to let her know about this.)

This thing is huge ... 3.6 pounds huge!


Chicken of the Woods.  A mushroom that sprouts from dead wood in the summer.  This was my first experience with mushroom foraging, so I was a bit nervous.  In our Facebook conversation, Marianne was positive about the ID, and she said, "FANTASTIC!!! And very edible.  Enjoy!"



All I had to do to ready this behemoth to cook and eat, after I harvested it from the yard, was to break it apart, discard the center woody bits, wash the pieces and let them dry.  I test tasted a few small pieces, after I cooked them thoroughly in a little bit of butter.  YUMMY!!!





The massive mushroom yielded four one-quart plastic bags full of pieces ... two for me, and two that I shared with friends.  For supper that night, I made steak and broccoli stir fry, with a good-sized helping of Chicken of the Woods mushrooms added to it.

Thin slices of mushroom cooked first ...


... then I added the steamed broccoli and grilled steak.


For breakfast this morning, I made mushroom and cheese omelettes.

16 comments:

  1. I'm not a fan of mushrooms, but my family loves them!

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    1. I'm in the other camp, obviously. I could eat mushrooms in just about everything. For that matter, there are very few foods that I don't like. Liver, for one ... though pate is to die for.

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  2. What a beautiful mushroom and it is edible too! Your stir fry looks delicious!

    Have a great week ~ FlowerLady

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    1. Delicious, and quick and easy!

      I have admired that huge mushroom thing every year since we moved here, having no idea that it was edible. No more admiring for me ... I will harvest and eat it from now on!

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  3. Beautiful: in the garden, on the table, fried and in the food. But I'm glad you are still alive, I have mushrooms in my garden too, but I'm afraid I dare not to eat them. Sounds stupid but I distrust all mushrooms except the ones from the greengrocer.
    Enjoy your week!
    Janneke

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    Replies
    1. Friends on FB were concerned for my safety. I will admit that I was a bit nervous about that first bite, even though I was assured that it was safe and delicious by people who know this stuff. As a general rule, being distrustful of mushrooms seems like a good way to be, since many of them are NOT edible.

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  4. Fascinating. Looks like I need to keep and eye out for theses treasures.

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    1. I figured that you would be adventurous and try this if given the chance. My only caution for you is to pay attention to what type of tree the treasure is growing on. Articles that I read warned that oils from cedar, eucalyptus, and some other host trees taint the mushroom and can make you sick. Oak, which seems to be a very common host, is perfectly fine.

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  5. I feel like I've seen that growing from a tree stump in my yard! Next time I'll look closer! I love mushrooms!

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  6. Connie, we have one that appears in our yard at least once a year, sometimes twice a year. Our Chicken of the Woods is not as variegated in color as yours is, but it's definitely a Chicken of the Woods as well. We have never eaten it--although I'd read earlier that it was edible--but we might now! Ours grows on the base of an oak tree. Thanks for sharing this info with us. :-)

    Shirley

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    Replies
    1. Sounds as if you definitely have Chicken of the Woods. I have been keeping an eye out for ours, knowing that I wanted to confirm its identity and give it a try.

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  7. Do you leave part of it in place, so it will grow back next year?

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    1. For every year that we have been here, before I realized that this is edible (and a delicacy, IMO), the mushroom appears, ages, dries out, then vanishes completely. Each year, it's in a slightly different spot, but still in the same vicinity near the trunk of the tree. I sawed this one off at ground level with my serrated bread knife. I have no doubt that it will reappear next year.

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  8. I'm with Janneke.
    I'd be too scared to eat them
    although I LOVE mushrooms!
    (glad you are ok!)
    xoxo

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