Heyday of the year

hello again,

I’ve been quiet for a while only because I’m soooo busy, up at 7 to hunt out those late mushrooms and grab the last of the fat juicy Elderberries, then home to dry, juice, jam and pickle till the wee hours.

There’s not much use gathering stuff if you don’t use it.

Now the larder shelves are filling nicely, there are some “brews”bubbling and burping quietly in kitchen, the living room is festooned in drying mushrooms and my fabulous Fisher Paykel stove is fired up with big pots and 3ovens all going.

There is slow roasted venison with spiced Blackberry jelly for dinner, mushrooms on homemade toasted bread for lunch and Wild berry syrups to go with my Oaty crumble for breakfast.

Soon things outdoors will calm down as it gets colder and I can dig some Dandy roots for coffee, bottle some really good booze and begin thinking “Hampers”

Winter will I hope bring some Blewits which I love and for me it’s also time to make Elderflower Delight from Elderflower essence saved earlier and truffles with Vodka Damsons and fudge with chocolate or wild mint.

It’s been a great year so far, I’ve met lots of new people, traveled just enough, picking up recipes and ideas along the way and spent many many hours among friends and fellow foragers, thank you all and you will be in my thoughts as I pack and bottle, bless you all and keep in touch.

Basket of my favourite Damsons

Basket of my favourite Damsons

Transition Year workshop samples

Transition Year workshop samples

Martin will be glad to try the Damson Vodka soon

Martin will be glad to try the Damson Vodka soon

Transition Year workshop samples

Transition Year workshop samples

Basket of my favourite Damsons

Basket of my favourite Damsons

Field mushrooms October 12th and still going strong,

Field mushrooms October 12th and still going strong,

lovely Slieve bloom Ceps

lovely Slieve bloom Ceps

Hazelnuts and Blackberries gathered on late September stroll, thanks Eve Titi, Maja Martin for help and great day out

Hazelnuts and Blackberries gathered on late September stroll, thanks Eve Titi, Maja Martin for help and great day out

Rustle in your hedgerow

Plantain buds and St. George mushrooms ready for pan

Plantain buds and St. George mushrooms ready for pan

If there’s a rustle in your hedgerow, don’t be alarmed… get out and investigate.

Well May has been very busy so far, I’ve been away in Washington state among the stunning Cascade mountains and while there had the pleasure of accompanying a local mycologist and true gentleman, Jim on a mushroom hunt, we gathered a basket of Bohemian Morels,(Phytoverpa bohemica) delicious, thank you Jim.For sharing your knowledge and good company. I had some Jelly Fungus(Hirneola auricula-judea)   from my own Elder stumps in April.

I also picked up some plug spawn for Shitake(Lentinula edodes) and Blue Oyster (Pleurotus  ostreatus) which I’m very much hoping to grow in storm damaged hard wood logs, I will keep a diary of the process and seek others to join in the experiment.

I arrived home to a garden chock full of Dandelion Flowers just crying out to be used for syrup, jelly or wine.the Plantain is also flowering. A quick trip to my friendly farm neighbor yielded a nice scarf full of St.George Mushrooms (Calocybe gambosa) so dinner featured these lovely mushrooms cooked simply with butter and onion a handful of Plantain buds, a good grind of black pepper.

The Garlic-mustard is in flower and unmistakeable at the moment. It makes better pesto than Ramsons in my opinion being much easier to digest.

The Beech leaves are coming out and now is the time to lay down some booze for future gifts.

Diary dates Mar and Apr 2013

Sat Mar 16th, Terryglas Co Tipp. As part of the Terryglas  St. Patrick’s festival I will be giving a talk followed by foraging walk from village, expected start time 11am, but check closer to date. Come along and join in meet new friends and swop ideas, stories  and recipies.

Sat Mar 30th, Co Clare, seaweed talk and forage with Matthew O Toole, come along and see the sea in a new light, exact location to follow and start time 12 noon.

 

Mushrooms, Mycelia, and more

 

St. George's mushrooms in situ.

St. George’s mushrooms in situ.

Mary Bulfin - wild mushroom foragerIt may seem an odd time to be posting about mushrooms but there is a good reason for my writing at this time. I have been researching growing my own fungi and now seems a good time to get organised for the year ahead. Our first mushrooms, the highly prized Morels, will appear with luck in March, and I want to be ready.

Ready to pick if lucky enough to find them, but also ready to harvest spores and attempt to grow the mycelium at home – an ambitious project, but with the guidance of www.fungi.com and the years of experience of Paul Stamets and his team, it’s certainly worth a try.

If you have interest in fungi you will find Paul Stamets’ books and talks quite fascinating. In fact, if you are interested in environmental protection, remediation of pollution, forestry, or the general well-being of our planet then look him up. I was given Mycelium Running as a gift and it’s a book I refer to again and again.

To pick out one topic from the many, how would it be if we could charge our food with sunlight and store the Vitamin D to boost us in dull winter days? In my opinion our poor country is so sadly lacking in natural sunshine that this would be of huge benefit to us all and a lot more accessible to most than a foreign holiday.

We can do this with mushrooms – yes really! They can be shop bought, or even better, wild. Stamets’ method consists basically of exposing the mushrooms to sunlight, they then absorb vitamin D. The mushrooms are then dried and the vit D content remains high for at least a year.

  • For the full method and scientific analyses of content and absorption into body go to www.fungi.com.
  • See Paul Stamets give a TED talk here: http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_stamets_on_6_ways_mushrooms_can_save_the_world.html 

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