My attention this season has focused on edible fungi. Recent rainy weather has brought forth a variety of mushrooms that present opportunities to learn identification of edibles vs. toxic species. I am fortunate to have a mentor that has verified my finds as well as shared some of his.
This week he discovered several “Hen of the woods” at the base of an oak tree. He explained that when they are harvested by cutting the base they can regenerate for multiple future harvests.
A few weeks ago he shared about “Chicken of the woods” and so now I can tell the difference between the “Chicken” and the “Hen” of the woods. The “Chicken” is very colorful with scalloped lobes whereas the “Hen” is a moderate brown with round lobes.
At the end of the day I was able to share the “Hen” with a group of friends who had gathered for a “Stone Soup” dinner. I presented the mushroom in it’s original form for display and educational purposes but also a portion was added to the soup. It was well received with bits and pieces being tasted off the display piece, and of course comments on it’s beauty too.
If you plan on exploring the world of mushrooms and fungi be sure to connect with an expert in the field who can positively identify your finds and teach you what is safe to eat and what is not.