Slippery Jacks (Suillus luteus), Fly agarics (Amanits mascaria) Bull Thistle roots (Cirsium vulgare) & some Crocus flowers

My mushroom history so far

Here I want to take a look back over the mushrooms I have been lucky enough to find in my area up until now.
Where I don’t have my own picture I have created link to wikipedia for information I will up date picture as I find them again.

The Field Mushroom (Agaricus campestris) This is a good flavored and versatile mushroom, I have only ever eaten them fresh or stewed them and frozen so far. I don’t see large amounts of these anymore compared to when I was a child, there seemed to be a never ending supply of these but now are a rare treat.

Field mushrooms (Agaricus campestris) & Evening primrose (Oenothera sp.) plants

 

Horse Mushrooms (Agaricus arvensis) These aren’t as nice in flavor as the field mushrooms, they look very similar but are bigger, have a slightly darker spore print and hold their ring a lot longer. I have only eaten these fresh but assume you could treat them same as field mushrooms.

Horse Mushrooms (Agaricus arvensis)

 

The Prince (Agaricus augustus) This was the first time I had eaten these and I didn’t like the taste at all, it tasted like bitter almonds but they has quite a high flavor rating in most books but I think it must an acquired taste.

The Prince mushroom (Agaricus augustus)

 

Saffron Milk Caps (Lactarius deliciosus) in the top right hand corner of the basket are the Saffrom milk caps I didnt take an individual picture sorry. These for a long time have been one of my favorite mushrooms but as I experience more different mushroom they are heading down my favorites list. They are a firm mushroom even after cooking almost squeeky if that makes sense! They do have their own flavor but it isn’t special compared to birch boletes (Leccinum scabrum) or shaggy ink caps (Coprinus comatus) in my opionion anyway. You have to be very gentle when picking them because they will stain blue where ever you touch them so don’t keep well if you are worried about looks but if not worried about the staining you can keep for three or four days.

Slippery Jacks (Suillus luteus) and Saffrom milk caps (Lactarius deliciosus)

 

Shaggy Ink Caps (Coprinus comatus) I love these if you had told me I would be eating these when I was younger I would have laugh at you Yuck!! But they are one of my favorites now, they are nice young or old I don’t care if they have started to degrade it just makes them more flavorful I recon. I haven’t preserved these in any way I’ve only eaten them fresh, I don’t think they would dry unless very young and their flesh is super delicate so I don’t think they would pickle well either but thats ok I never have enough to do any of those thing with them anyway Yum!

Shaggy ink caps (Coprinus comatus)


Brown Birch Bolete (Leccinum scabrum) So here on the left is the Cracked boletes and on the right are the Brown birch boletes. These were both amazing and for the first time I understood why people prefer these over Slippery jacks (Suillus luteus) they are so much more superior in flavor and texture but I have only seen these here once and not that close to me but I will be traveling to try to find these next season as they were just so superb!

Brown birch bolete mushrooms (Leccinum scabrum) & Cracked boletes (Boletus chrysenteron) They tasted amazing!!

 

Red Cracked Bolete (Boletus chrysenteron) See picture above.

Slippery Jack’s (Suillus luteus) Ok Slippery jack’s these are the most abundant mushroom close at hand to me and I use a lot of them they dont have what I would call a splendid flavor and the texture is a bit slimmy hence the name. I peel and dry these and this emhances their flavor and they keep well I use them in stews, omelets and stir fries etc. I also cook a few small ones fresh on the days I harvest them oh and I pickle the ones that are to small to peel just in a vinegar brine solution. I have put the ones that are to big and water logged into stews and then frozen the stew but drying is best. These are a pain in the ass to peel as they are very resiney and slimy but I think once dried they are worth the effort for sure.

Slippery Jacks (Suillus luteus) and Saffrom milk caps (Lactarius deliciosus)

Slippery jacks (Suillus luteus) dried


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jelly Fungi (Pseudohydnum gelatinosumam) I tried these a few different ways but just don’t like them it is a shame because they are quite abundant. The best way was cooked as a sweet with honey but I still don’t like them unfortunately but don’t be scared to try them I’m sure some would like them.

Jelly fungi (Pseudohydnum gelatinosumam)

 

Fly Agaric (Amantia muscaria) These are a bit controversial but they are edible is processed properly, they must be boiled in a LOT of water the poison in them is water soluble, I boil these for fifteen minutes change water and boil again in a LOT of water for five minutes then I vinegar pickle them and water bath for another 2o minute or so. See my other blogs, they are a pleasant mushroom with a good firm texture and nutty flavor even with all the cooking. You should not dry these as it intensifies the poison, they must be boiled! They are very abundant here and are a great resource for me. And I’m not dead yet so that is a bonus 🙂

Fly agarics (Amanita mascaria)


Wood Blewit (Lepista nuda)  I didn’t like these the first coupler times I tried them but now I like them strange, I just fried them and added salt and pepper.

Wood blewits (Lepista nuda)

Wood blewits (Lepista nuda)

Parasol Mushroom (Macrolepita procera) Sorry no picture, These are very nice mushroom they are very delicate and break easy so not sure if they would preserve well I’ve only eaten fresh.

Parasol mushrooms (Macrolepiota procera)

Parasol mushrooms (Macrolepiota procera)

 

Common Ink Caps (Coprinus atramentarius) Sorry no picture, I’ve only eaten these a coupler times, they weren’t bad tasting but not as nice as the Shaggy ink caps. A note these are not to be eaten with alcohol apparently it will give you a hangover like you have never had…… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coprinopsis_atramentaria

Common Puff Ball (Lycoperdon perlatum) Sorry no picture,  I have eaten these a coupler time you have to get them when they are young and still firmish. They taste ok but are hard to find enough of for a real meal and I’ve only eaten fresh. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lycoperdon_perlatum

Cauliflower Mushroom (Sparassis crispa) Sorry no picture, I only tried a little bit of this tempuraed and it was stunning,  so sweet.  There were only two of these plant and I can only hope they come back each year. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sparassis

Sheep Polypore (Albatrella ovinus) Sorry no picture, Wow this was a surprise find indeed, I was looking for slippery jack’s and I stumbled onto one, yes only one of these mushrooms but as soon as I seen it I remembered seeing it in a book so I picked it, it smelled like flowers and tasted amazing, very flowery. I looked again this year and didn’t find it but a GPS would help I’m sure, the pine forest is big. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albatrellus_ovinus

So my list in favorite order is-

  • Birch boletes(Leccinum scabrum)
  • Cracked bolete (Boletus chrysenteron)
  • Cauliflower fungi (Sparassis crispa)  
  • and Sheep polypore (Albatrella ovinus)

Then-

  • Shaggy ink caps (Coprinus comatus)
  • and Parasols (Macrolepita procera)

And then-

  • Fly agarics (Amantia muscaria)
  • Slippery jack’s (Suillus luteus)
  • Puff balls (Lycoperdon perlatum)
  • and Saffron milk caps (Lactarius deliciosus)

So there you have it, fungi are not only a great healthy edible resource and fascinatingly intriguing  they are an integral part of the life and dead cycles that allow the existence of all life on this precious planet we all share. 🙂

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Bad habits. :)

Ok this post is not specifically food related but then again it is the other end of the food cycle so not totally irrelevant I guess, you know the business end if you like! I mean number one’s and two’s, yes weez and poozzz!

Glad I got that off my chest, I want to share my attempts at taking full responsibility for not only what goes into my body but what comes out of it.

I will share here on my blogs every now and then some not so food related things as I go along because it isn’t all just about food for me it is about being more responsible and sustainable in my home and yard.

So back to the subject, for the last coupler years I have really become obsessed with lowering my ecological foot print to one planet as that in reality is all we have. A big part of that is foraging, growing my own foods, fermenting and buying local food stuffs but there is more to it than that, it is about your whole life style, home, yard and life choices.
I have been blogging about all the yummy free foods that mother nature provides us and the bounties grown in my own garden but there is a few bad habits I had to tackle as well and as I assume we mostly all have the same bad habits I hope it will inspire others to a least look at these things a bit differently and every bit counts!
Months ago I started using a bucket to poo in, I had done this living up a tree for 6 days years ago and figured I could just do it at home as well I can’t afford expensive composting toilet systems and it may even be illegal what I’m doing but it will be funny to explain it in court I guess, anyway it is working well so far I made a frame for the toilet seat out of a milk crate as the picture shows, there’s not to many picture in this bog, oh I mean blog!! hehe so many jokes here.
I have a big bucket of saw dust to cover each poo to prevent odor and to absorb any liquids, you have to be carful not to wee to much in this one or it smells and the worms wouldn’t like to much nitrogen, it’s not a big deal if you wee a bit once in a while it just means you have to empty more often that’s all. I have a worm farm set up in a bath tub specifically for composting my pooz, it is working really well it doesn’t smell at all! But I had to tell my father who collects worms for fishing in my yard and I’m sure my worm farms not to go into “that worm farm” when I told him why he screwed up his face and went, no not that one for sure!!

Bucket loo for number two'z

On to number one’s I started with a bucket and an old pot lid, I was way surprised that the bucket doesn’t smell anywhere near as much as when you don’t flush the loo it must be a chemical reaction with the water and urine that gives it that real public toilet block smell, the wee in the bucket smell completely different as well, much more bearable.

I empty my wee into the several compost bins I have around the yard.

I was planing on making nice wooden frames for these in winter which I will still do for the poo bucket but I found an old portable loo under the house here from the previous owner and I cleaned it up pulled out the interior plumbing and put my wee bucket inside, it is a perfect hight and has a lid that is reasonably air tight so keeps any odor in plus I put nice smelly essential oils and herbs in there too so when you open the lid you get a whiff of  lavender or eucalyptus oil very pleasant.
This is a much better hight than just the bucket which wasn’t much chop on the old back when it was giving me curry, so it has worked out just perfectly but I will line the out side with wood so it looks nicer though.
Up until know I have been using 100% post consumer toilet paper but have thought of using cloth or making my own for ages and I’m now using recycled cotton cloth for number ones, so far, I am still using the toilet paper for the number two’s this may change in the future.

I have a bucket near the loo that I put the cloth in after use and after the whole day I soak them in another bucket with tea tree or eucalyptus oil and vinegar, then hand wash weekly. It is just like the cloth menstrual pads I use, it is no different really.
And I can tell you it is so strange the change of mind set when you start doing all these things, I mean when you see something as an asset instead of a waste product just to get rid of any old how it changes lots of old thought patterns.
Hehe it is funny because I see my poo and wee as a precious resource now so when I go out or to someone else’s place and use the loo I’m like dam what a waste flushing that away!!!
Also still in the bathroom I only use eucalyptus, tea tree oil and vinegar in a spray bottle for cleaning, I don’t use shampoo, conditioner or soap until I make my own castile soap in winter, I use a Camomile, Calendula, Peppermint, Rosemary tea and vinegar diluted down to rinse my hair with every two weeks or if it gets dirty, I also rub coconut oil through my hair and scalp every month.

I clean my teeth with charcoal, salt and tea tree oil and rinse with tea tree oil and water, when this tooth brush is finished I will use willow sticks, this is all working well so far and just an observation since using this instead of tooth paste I don’t get anywhere near as much mold in the plug hole interesting indeed! I also intend to use an old fashioned metal razor when I’m finished my last lot of disposable heads and find blades for the old razors I scrounged up.

 
Moving into the kitchen now, I make my own washing cloths from old towels and I don’t use detergent unless I have a really greasy item and then I use a so called environmentally friendly detergent, until I find an alternative that doesn’t use bloody borax or washing sodas, which are not good to flush out into the yard or water ways either, I will fill you guys in when I find an oily items detergenty thingy.
I have a pump bottle on the sink with vinegar, citrus and essential oils in it for cleaning which works well on not so oliy items, benches and floors.
All my water will be going out into my yard shortly I’m in the process of making reed beds to treat the water that will then go to my fruit trees, all my duck ponds are filled with rain water and that water when dirty goes through Ag pipe to my friut trees too.
The other big obsession I have is to rid my life of plastics were possible I use no single use plastics and I have started freezing in glass mason jars I do use a bit of recycled plastic as lids for these until I get to town to buy some tightly woven canvas. Freezing in glass takes a bit more room and the racks are heavy but it is so worth it to me and when this gets to much to handle I will use the upright freezer instead of the chest freezer.
So I just wanted to share all my dirty little secrets, hehe well not so dirty when looked at differently…….

New root veggies.

Ok just a quick one, I planted Burdock and two different Salsify seeds, black salsify and a white root variety this year for the first time. I had foraged wild salsify last season and it was amazing so I bought some seeds from the Diggers seeds club and I also threw wild seeds I had collect in the garden too. Yesterday I dug up the roots plus some others I have grown before and roasted them all. Sorry no picture of finished meal it was to dark once I had finished.

Here I have Parsnip, Swede, White beets, Red beets, Burdock and black Salsify.

Well I loved the sasify but am a bit disappointed with the burdock, I may need to try it in a few different ways I think, it isn’t as nice as the Bull thistle (Crisium vulgare) root, the rest of the veggies as usual were superb. I will be letting some of the salsify self seed and hopefully it will come up everywhere in my yard YUM!

 

40th, foraging, camping, fire and fishing good times!

Well what a big weekend, totally not what was planed but we made the best of it and didn’t Alonnah Lunawanna/Brunny island turn on some gorgeous weather for us! My friend Jess came over for my 40th birthday and the “Nayri Niara” festival, the local aboriginal words for “Good Spirit”  festival, after the initial disappointment of finding no festival we realize we had more days to just relax, fish and forage, thank goodness the weather was absolutely stunning
Brunny island is a little island of the south east coast of trouwunna/Tasmania it is a gorgeous place with almost all the diversity of habitats that mainland Tasmania has just in miniature, I would definitely live there given half a chance!

On the way to the ferry our foraging had already began, I spotted some willow (Salix sp.) and was wanting to test it’s anti inflammatory effects and Jess spotted some gorgeous bright orange wild rose hips (Rosa rubiginosa) these would make a nice relaxing herbal tea before bed.

Jess cleaning the Willow and Rose hips ready for tea later!

It was my 40th and all I really wanted for that night was to be camped up by the sea with a camp fire, I wanted to fall asleep to the sounds of the ocean and I got it in spades, we set up camp and lit our fire and sat by it’s warm glow catching up and planing our now unexpected next three full days of foraging.
For some reason the festival wasn’t on but at least we had brilliant weather for the three days so we drove around the whole island and foraged and fished, the first thing we found was an amazing patch of Shaggy ink caps (Coprinus comatus) rite on the side of the road I hadn’t seen a patch like that since I was a youngen, haha I can say silly things like youngen now I’m 40!

Shaggy ink caps (Coprinus comatus)

Shaggy ink caps (Coprinus comatus)

The basket of Shaggy ink caps (Coprinus comatus)

The basket of Shaggy ink caps (Coprinus comatus)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We jumped out took picture and gentle picked them into a basket and kept on our way we ended up in a small pine forest that is also a camping ground and we found a basket full of Slippery jacks (Suillus luteus) so we were of to a great start on the first day, further around the island we dug pipis a small clam out of the sand flats at low tide we also got some oysters and muscles for what was looking like a mighty fine clam chowder for dinner.

Kelpies ready for the pot!

Yummy mushies!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Around at Adventure bay we caught some what we call kelpies, I think they are a Wrasse species of fish with a fine white flesh that not many people eat and if you don’t cook them just rite the flesh becomes mushy so they need to be under cooked, they are good baked or fried, so anyway we ended up with  Pipis, Oysters, Muscles and Mushrooms, we got everything back to camp lit the camp fire and cooked it all up, it looked and smelt fantastic!!

Our fully foraged clam chowder on the fire, it smelt amazing and tasted superb!

Looks amazing hay, but I tipped out the liquid before I took picture sorry, the liquid is a delicate green!

Our foraged herbal tea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day we explored more of the island we went fishing again early as the tide was going out and caught seven or eight fish we had them fried for lunch, dinner and breakfast, what a life! We collected Bull kelp to dry, enough to last me a couple years, I love kelp and I’m not buying it from Japanese waters anymore that’s for sure. We had a couple beers at a cafe rite on the beach front, we relaxed and dreamed about moving to Brunny and buying the cafe and selling only local and wild foods, arhhhhhhh well I can still dream even at 40!

Our second lot of beautiful kelpies.

Fried kelpies and free range eggs! Now thats what I call a good breakie….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On our last day on the island the weather started to turn and the skies were getting pretty black by the time we had finished digging another big bucket of pipis to take home and just as we got in the car it started raining so we were very lucky with the weather for sure, off to catch the ferry.

We decided to visit a friend south of the fairy port on the main land and on our way we spotted some mushroom under the silver birch (Betula sp.) trees around a school in a small hamlet before my friend place, I didn’t expect them to be anything edible but to my surprise they were definitely Bolete’s two different ones I was so exited, we ended up with another small basket of mushrooms I had never tried before I couldn’t wait to get home identify them and try them and OMG they were so superb I now understand why people aren’t so exited about Slippery Jacks  if they have these to compare them with,  we couldn’t believe how they tasted, I will definitely be looking for these next autumn.

Brown birch rough stalk mushrooms (Leccinum scabrum) & cracked bolete (Boletus chrysenteron) They tasted amazing!!

At home we settled in for the night by the fire and planned the next day before Jess had to fly back home, we baked the last two fish whole in the oven they were lovely so much food!

Baked fish, yum

The next day we went foraging in the pine forest next to my home and came home with three baskets of Slippery Jacks and a smaller basket of Fly agarics (Amanita muscaria) we also dug some thistle roots (Crisium valgare) for Jess to try she loved them, we ended up peeling and preparing mushroom until about 1 am in the morning whilst listening to Pink Flyod, it was fun but my friend didn’t get to have much of a holiday it was more like a working holiday!
Jess left the next day with a bag full of hard won goodies to share with her friends back on the bigger island, Auss.

So that was my 40th birthday celebration weekend, I wouldn’t have wanted to be or do anything else, I’m so lucky to live were I do and this is the most harmonious, happiest, and fulfilled I have ever been with my diet and life style despite the physical pain in my life, these days make it all worth while, I’m so grateful every day!

Jelly Fungi

I experimented with jelly fungi today, I’m  pretty sure this one is Pseudohydnum gelatinosumam and as there are no know deadly jelly fungi I thought I would try it, I was picking other mushrooms yesterday in the pine forest and came across these on an old fallen down tree trunk, they looked nice so I picked a little bowl full hoping they would be edible.

I looked up all the information I could find today and decided to try them just boiled in water and as a sweet dish, the texture reminded me of some of the strange gelatinous thingys that are in the hot, asian, coconut drinks I have had.  So I cooked one lot in honey & water I simmered them until the  liquid had reduced and thickened, I didn’t like either!

I think some people would like the sweet ones if any, they have a pine, woody taste with honey, I just can’t get past the texture though not to my liking.

Can’t say I didn’t try! 🙂

Fields of Mushies

On the way home the other day I spotted out the corner of my eye scatterings of something white in the paddock not far from home I stopped to investigate sure they were field mushrooms (Agaricus campestris) I grab a basket and my knife out of the back and headed for the field with fingers crossed!

Field mushrooms (Agaricus campestris) & Evening primrose (Oenothera sp.) plants

Yes they were and there were a lot of them to, I was a bit overwhelmed I hadn’t seen field mushrooms like this since I was a teenager, I think I had been looking to late in the season. A lot of them had been turned over by the cows and the wallaby’s were having great fun nibbling the tops of nearly every new button but that didn’t phase me a few grubs and bite marks don’t worry this mushroom hunter.

I filled the basket in no time flat and I was aways away from the car and didn’t want to walk back, there was nothing around to make a makeshift basket with so thinking thinking, oh I know I had thermal pants on I will use those, so I did a strip show for the cows tied off the legs and wallah instant mushroom carrying vessel.

After I finished all that were there I headed back to the car and home, I stewed these up and froze them to add to stews later in winter YUM! The mushroom gods are being very generous to me this season!
In the picture you can also see some evening primrose (Oenthera sp.) I had pulled some out earlier to plant at home as well, I hope they take!

Cheers 🙂

Fungi fun galore!

Ok an update on the Slippery jacks (Suillus luteus) and the Fly agarics (Amanita muscaria), I went out the day after I got my first hand full of mushies and I ended up with 2 large baskets of each and a bunch of Bull thistle roots (Cirsium vulgare), it was an amazingly beautiful day and I was quite proud of my harvest! Oh I got a little bunch of crocus flowers for the vase to, they are just beautiful.

Slippery jacks (Suillus luteus), Fly agarics (Amanits mascaria) Bull thistle roots (Cirsium vulgare) & some Crocus flowers

I dried most of the Slippery jacks just in my sun room with a fan running on them they took 3 days to dry, I vinegar pickled one small jar of the littlest buttons I found. The Slippery jacks are a pain to skin and clean up your hands and knife get a resiny black glue all over them that is quite hard to get off but it is all worth it in the end.

Slippery Jacks (Suillus luteus)

Slippery jacks (Suillus luteus) drying

Slippery jacks (Suillus luteus) dried

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Slippery jacks dried nicely, I love these on hand to rehydrate and use in omelets and stews etc.

Fly agarics (Amanita mascaria)

Now the process of making the Fly agarics edible, They must be parboiled for at least 20 minutes in a LOT of water I stress a lot of water I use three the time water to the  mushrooms, the toxin that makes the Fly agaric dangerous is water soluble!

Fly agarics (Amanita mascaria) washed

Fly agarics (Amanita mascaria) washed and sliced ready to parboil

Fly agarics (Amanita mascaria) after parboiling for 20 minutes

Fly agarics (Amanita mascaria) vinegar pickled + 1 Slippery Jack’s (Suillus luteus)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You will see that the red color comes out of the mushroom into the water they end up white and the water bright orange I hard boil mine in a lot of water for 15 minutes then I change the water and boil again for a further 5 minutes just to be sure. After this they are packed into jars and water bathed for another 15 minutes and stored in a dark cool cupboard.

They are a yummy mushroom that maintains its firm texture even after all the boiling so they are great for bottling,  with these I just use a mixture of salt, home made fruit vinegar, water and some spices you just make it to your own tastes, these mushies take on all the flavors of the pickling recipe used.

I love mine and am very happy that I have an abundant supply of these all most all year round, that is what makes them so valuable. I also think they are a great mushroom for foragers because they can’t be mistaken for any other mushroom, I am more sure about the identity of these than most others.
I mentioned before that I was fermenting a lot of these this is not to eat, this is for medical rub for back and joint pain, many cultures have used it this way and I am going to experiment with it for my pain. I wont say any more about this experiment until I have actually tried it ok, then I will share my experience with it!

Bull thistle(Cirsium vulgare) roots

Bull thistle(Cirsium vulgare) roots cleaned ready to cook

 

The Bull thistle roots were so good, I just scrapped them clean and boiled then until tender I had these with the Saffron milk caps (Lactarius deliciosus) from the day before I fried the Saffron milk caps in olive oil and tossed in the Bull thistle roots salt and pepper and served them on big hot potato chips with my fermented Zucchini & Chilly relish. YUM!

Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare) & Saffron milk caps (Lactarius deliciousus) & potato chips and fermented zucchini & chilly relish, Yummy!

Well back to it to see what other mushies I can find.

cheers 🙂

Autumn free food frenzy!

Wow what a day I went to town to do a bit of shopping and I didn’t get home until nearly dark and with a wagon full of free food!
It was very unexpected I wasn’t sure what was going to be ready I was hoping the acorns would be but I thought the rest wouldn’t be ready for another coupler weeks especially the fungi they are nearly a month early.

Acorns (Quercus sp.) wild Apples, wild Nashi Pears, Horse Chestnuts (Aesculus hippocastanum) Hawthorns (Crataegus sp) Slippery jacks (Suillus luteus) and Fly agarics (Amanita muscaria)

Ok so the first thing I foraged was the acorns (Quercus sp.) there are a few big trees outside the council chambers in the town where I was and I asked inside at the desk if I could have some of their acorns and with funny quizical looks they said yes, take as many as you want, what are you going to do with them? eat them I said and trotted out to rake the goodies up. Happy I finally got some as they are 2 month late and I didn’t think I was going to get any this year.

Acorns (Quercus sp.)

Hawthorns (Cataegus sp.)

Next was a trip down to the esplanade to check my favorite Hawthorns (Categus sp.) thought they may be a coupler weeks off but no they were ready for the picking, the birds were certainly into them so I picked about 5 kg before my back had had enough so I sat by the river and had a rest, I recon there will still be some around in a coupler weeks in other areas further up the valley so no hurry now I have my first batch.

Ok what was next oh that’s rite it was the nashi pears now they were definitely a surprise I was looking for a pear tree I got a glimpse of on my last trip out I found it but the wasps were at it and it was floury and dry, disappointing but as I went to turn away I seen the nashi, I don’t really love nashi’s but this one is beautiful firm and juicy. I had to beat my way through blackberries to get to the tree with a rake the only thing I had in the car! The tree itself was on the edge of a cliff to so had to be careful, I got a good basket full but payed for it with many scratches up and down my arms who said foraging was easy not me, but nothing truely good in life is easy is it!

I was stuffed after my battle with the blackberry but just up the road I seen a gorgeous apple tree and couldn’t pass it up the birds would have pollished them off by the next time I come out again so I picked a basket of them. a little way more down the road the Horse chestnuts were everywhere on the side of the road, they aren’t hard to get as they are on the ground so I racked up a bucket of them as well, when I was younger I used to come pick these up for money with my mum, I didn’t know what they were doing with them I heard make up from someone, but wasn’t sure. I have driven past them for years and thought what a waste but didn’t know what to do with them so never picked them up  until now. I’m going to have a go at making detergents from them and maybe eat them too but again they are a food that needs special preparation as they have toxins in them, I will share what I learn about them as I go ok, and finally I was finished home……

wild Nashi Pears

Horse chestnuts (Aesculus hippocastanum )

Mmmmmm not quite 1 kilometer from home I got a flash of bright red on the side of the road just on the edge of the pine forest surrounding my home I had to go investigate I just can’t help myself and it was a stunningly beautiful bright red fly agaric, now I know they are poisonous etc etc but that is a false statement and understanding of one of my favorite fungi, yes they contain toxins as a lot of foods do especially Australian bush foods if not prepared properly, fly agarics will make you sick and trip if eaten raw but there is a difference between deadly and toxic ok, it annoys me that all these years I just assumed they were deadly, I was told not to go near them as a kid but was fascinated with them I remember the drug squad came to town when when they first started appearing and kicked them all to scatter them, Only this year have I discovered that they are edible and have medicinal used too, I must stress they have to be prepared properly to be edible or they will make you sick! but I will not not share my experiences because the plant world PC crew don’t approve, I believe it is an injustice to blatantly lie about this valuable fungi.

Fly agarics (amanita muscaria) and Slippery Jacks (Suillus luteus)

I have eaten them now a few times and I love them, I will be utilizing them with pleasure for years to come.

I’m not suggesting people should copy me I am just sharing my experiences and thats all. I also hate fear mongers when it comes to wild foods and foraging as a life style I have been living off foraged foods for over 12 months now and intend to until I physically can’t so that is my rant on fungi and falsehoods and there will be more to come I’m sure.

I picked the first few that were out on the edge of the pine trees and was surprised when in a bit further next to the fly agarics where slippery jacks I haven’t seen them here this early before but wasn’t complaining but I was stuffed so I only grabbed a handfull of each and headed home finally, really, fully, tomorrow is another day.

I was really exhausted now but very satified at the same time, I just locked the car and dragged myself inside to eat and collapse into bed, I dreamt about all my goodies……… mmmmmmmmmm

In the morning I washed and froze the Hawthorns in two batches stuffed the fly agarics into a big bottle to ferment and then bagged the horse chestnuts and acorns, put them in the cupboard to deal with later.

Nearly mid day so time to visit my friend at her cafe and have a cuppa and share my goodies yah! I took B some of the apples and nashi pears she makes lovely cakes and really appreciates my little gifts in exchange for a cuppa here and there so we are both happy.

Back home I cooked up the slippery jacks for dinner and decided I had to go pick mushrooms tomorrow so with that I will I will end this post here and will post about the produce as I process them.
cheers

Autumn has arrived

Well Autumn has definitley arrived here in Tassie I love autumn it is my favorite season, I love the trees turning on thier show of assorted colors as they get ready to sleep for the winter from the brightest yellows through to the flame oranges to the richest port wine reds.

I love the crispness of the air and the gloreous bright blue skys of autumn, well when it isn’t ruined with smoke from burn offs every few days but I want go into that here.

Autumn always makes me reflect on death and the cycle of life and how fleeting and precious it  is for all and I love the anticipation and the certainty of the great renewal in spring.

I want to share four recipes today, see the yummy meal below, yes it was as good as it looks so lets go through the recipes and I do hope you give these a go they are scrumptious!

So here in this picture I have a fermented broad bean flat bread with sprouted mung beans my very special seaweed chilly beans topped with fermented curry carrots served with spontaneous crab apple cider!

First I will go through the broad bean bread-

  • 2 cups of rehydrated Broad Beans
  • 1/2 cup dried Nettles (Urtica dioica)
  • 2 cup Whole meals flour
  • 1/2 cup Besan flour
  • 1 cup Water kefir or kombucha
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Pepper, Paprika and Cumin powder
  • Extra water

 

 

 

 

 

 

I rehydrated the broad beans I dried from my garden last season over night I then boil them for about 6 minutes you want the skin loosened but the actual bean still firm not to soft you will have to experiment with this,doesn’t matter if you over cook it is just harder to skin them thats all, after they have cooled I pop the beans out of their skins I then cooked them for another 10 minutes or so until cooked, once cooled I added the salt and the kefir and squished it all through my fingers to mash it all up adding water until I get a smoothish sloppy batter, I then cover the the mixture up with a cloth and leave on the bench to ferment for about 5 days, stirring every day.

After this mixture is fermented I add the flours, spices, nettles and water to again make a smoothish sloppy batter I then ferment this for a further 3 days at least then I start to use it, I just cook this like a pancake and use as a bread to slop up other foods. My mixture sits in a crock next to my stove and I use everyday as I like until the mixture is gone doesn’t really matter how long I think it just gets better, I also keep adding flours, water or kefir to mine if I want to drag it out for longer.

 

Next to my special seaweed chilly beans, this is a more complicated time consuming recipe but it is so worth it I make enough to get me through the winter months.

  • 3 cups Kidney beans
  • 3 cups Black bean
  • 2 cups Pearl barley
  • 1/3 cup Hot chilly flakes
  • 5 cups Seaweed
  • 10 Onions
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 3 liters of home made Tomato Sauce
  • 1 table spoon Olive oil
  • 1 table spoon Salt and Pepper
  • 2 cups home made fruit Vinegar
  • Extra water

Soak the beans and barley for five days changing water everyday then cook until al dente so not to soft just remember there is still about 45 minutes of cooking to go.

Soak seaweed over night, I use three different types, I love seaweed! chop up to the size you like and put aside, grab the biggest pot you have and fry off the onion and garlic until translucent add the seaweed, chilly, salt, pepper and about 2 liters of water boil for about half an hour or until the liquid has reduced by about half. Add the tomato sauce, vinegar and beans and hard boil for 15 minutes.

I use my home made tomato sauce I blogged about this previously so go check out that recipe if you haven’t already.

Let cool a bit then bottle into hot bottles and water bath for about 30 minutes.

This is one of my favorite foods, I just open a bottle and keep in the fridge and use with everything it is so easy once it is made, so thats why I say make a big batch so you only have to do it once or twice a year.

Fermented curry carrots this is my first go at these and I love them and already have another bigger batch started, they will be on my to do regulary list for sure

  • 1 kg Carrots
  • 1 table Salt/brine
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin seed powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground Coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon of Chilly powder
  • Pepper to taste

Ok I used red carrots that I grew for the first time this year they look beautiful, so grate carrots add spices squish through your fingers, I love playing with my food! make a brine to your taste and add this to the carrots, push the carrot mixture into a large jar ideally you want about 2 cm of liquid above the carrots then weigh carrot down, I use pebbles you have to make sure all the bits of carrot are under the liquid cover with a cloth and let sit until it is to your taste of fermentation or as I say funkyness. Mine sat for about 3 weeks before I put in fridge to slow fermentation.

I take my pebbles out and stir every few days and repack just to get an even fermentation.

Last but not least the spontaneous crab apple cider I picked these gorgeous crab apples from down the road, I pick them every year and make this cider it is hard work as I have a crappy old juicer and at the end of the process you have little cider but it is so yummy it is totaly worth all the work.

This spontaneous cider is just that, spontaneous, all you do is juice the crab apples you can use other apples of course, put them in a crock or big pot and let spontaneously ferment into a mildly alcoholic cider, I just drink mine flat from the crock or jug I keep mine in but you could bottle and ferment a bit long to get some fizz happening all depends on what you like.

As it ferments it get a foam on top I skim this off in the mornings and stir the brew three times a day if you want it even more clarified you could strain it as well but I don’t mind it a bit cloudy, it naturally clears the longer it sits so if you want it clear after it is to the taste you like then let it sit for a few days without stirring and decant the clear top liquid off into another container and keep doing this until you are happy.

Well thats it for this one I hope you try some of these recipes and I will be blogging again soon as everything is ready and I’m flat out foraging and processing at present so until then cheers!