Mushroom Season Returns

By , July 23, 2013

Mushroom hunting season has begun!

Even without consulting the calendar, we could tell the season was upon us. We had a long stretch of hot, sunny days; obviously, the next good rain would bring mushrooms. If we doubted that, a few fungi jumping the gun here and there throughout the forest betrayed the coming bounty. I found a birch bolete on the trail a few days ago; that variety we eat with pleasure, others—mostly questionable russulas—showed up here and there. Another positive sign: slime molds began to appear on the forest floor (see Attack of the Slime Molds).

Who says dayglo orange is a color not found in Nature? I went back and picked the chicken of the woods (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

Who says dayglo orange is a color not found in Nature? I went back and picked the chicken of the woods (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

We got our “next good rain” on Sunday, just in time for the day on which volunteers gather to set up the Southeast Alaska Fair. Rain poured from occasional showers as we assembled the antique carousel, raising the brand new, multicolored awning, attaching the decorated panels, and placing the horses in position. On the hike out to his job, we saw an impressive explosion of the highly sought-after chicken of the woods, or sulphur shelf that graces our peninsula occasionally. We knew that our walk home would bring us more edible mushrooms.

As it happened, we took an alternate route home. I only picked one mushroom, another birch bolete (not our favorite, but an excellent start to the season while we wait for the King Boletes to appear—see Mushrooms!). We ate that in scrambled eggs the next morning.

We are firm believers in emergent curriculum—using whatever comes along as an educational opportunity—both from the days of Michelle’s childcare center in Juneau, and unschooling Aly (see Unschooling: Self-Directed Learning on the Homestead). We also advocate emergent culinary practices, the wilingness to make dinner out of whatever appears as we make our way through the woods! (See Foraging: Finding Food for Free). From now until the first serious frost, we’ll indulge in emergent culinarianism, as the mycological treasures of our forest reveal themselves to us.

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