Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Blue shrooms and other colors of summer

One of the most easily recognizable edibles out there is the lactarius indigo or blue milky. Usually they are rare and I only turn up five or six a year, but this summer in Mid-MO they seem to be more abundant than ever. While out hunting with Jon and Michael today, we came across a nice patch where they were growing in clusters of threes and fours. The blue gills and the blue juice they drip distinguish them from all of the other milkies. They also bruise green which makes them a very colorful mushroom in your basket.

I brought some home to eat and show the kids and my son proceeded to make me a very nice picture by breaking off small pieces of one and using it to smear on his creative images. A most ingeneous use for an indigo in my own very partial opinion.

We also found a good mess of chanterelles of all varieties, including a few fresh black trumpets. I really like it when I can find a nice variety of chants. Cooking them all together really adds a lot of color to a dish. Michael picked several nice chestnut boletes and a mess of fresh old man of woods. He seems to like those things even though I won't touch them. Says they cook up a nice jet black.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fairy rings and other things

Now I have seen fairy rings before, but I have never seen chanterelles growing that way until today. I was walking up a small draw between two hills and this is what I found just over the rise - an almost perfect circle of orange.

There were a few in the middle but the majority of them were growing around the edges in the classic mushroomy pattern. They were so pretty and my basket was already filled that I left them behind, well not all, I did pick a few giants like this one below. It was nearly 6 inches across.

Most of the chants I am picking are smooth chanterelles which I am finding in very large patches that I have been hunting for almost 7 years. Often times in between patches, I will find small groups of common yellow chanterelles, and I am seeing those again.

But what is new this year is that I am finding medium sized patches of chants that are very similar in stature and ridges to the yellows, except they are orange, more like the color of the smooth chants. And the patches I am finding them in are right next to the smooth patches I have hunted for years. Yet I have never seen these before. Someone suggested that they were the peach chanterelle, unfortunately the only way you can discern the peach from the yellow is by looking at the spores and I don't feel like dragging out a microscope quite yet. It's always good to have a little mystery.

Here are a couple photos of the potential peach chants. They are a little paler orange compared to the vibrant color of the smooth chants.

And here is a comparison shot so you can see the color difference compared to the common yellows.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sunshine and Chanterelles

The day started off a little stormy, but that only got me thinking about mushrooms even more and when the skies cleared and the sun started shining, I hit the woods. Glad I did, too, because they were up everywhere in large patches and nice and fresh with hardly any little varmints ruining the mix.

Found three different kinds of chants, well maybe only two. It is hard to tell. I found some small patches of the common yellow chant and large patches of the orange smooth chants (they were out in force). But in one area, I found a small patch of what looked liked smooth chants. They were smaller in stature and not as stocky and when I turned them over, they have well defined ridges just like the common yellow. I guess these were the same species c. cibarius but they were bright orange and nothing like the mustard yellow ones I normally find. I will have to research this a little more and see if there is a distinction or if this is just a color difference.

It is so easy to hunt chants as they their bright colors really make them stand out. Large patches become seas of orange amidst the green and browns of the forest floor. Just make sure that you are not picking the poisonous Jack-O-Lantern mushroom which can look an awful lot alike. They are bright orange as well, but have well defined gills and grow from wood not the ground. Check out Mushroom Expert for more information.

I find a lot of chants in areas between the hills where water drains off during rains. Often they are growing all along these gullies so if you find a patch follow where the water would go, both down and uphill and you're bound to find more.

If you do go chant hunting this weekend take a large basket because you are bound to do well. Mine is about 1 1/2 feet across by 2 feet long and today it got really, really heavy...but I didn't mind one bit.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Mushroom Movie

I noticed that a local theater, Ragtag, is showing a great mushroom hunting film this weekend. I have heard some good things about it and come on, it's not everyday that a documentary or movie about hunting mushrooms comes along, so you have to see them when you can. Here is the rundown from Ragtag's website.

Know Your Mushrooms

Know Your Mushrooms follows uber-myco visionaries Gary Lincoff and Larry Evans as they lead us on a hunt for the wild mushroom and the deeper cultural experiences attached to the mysterious fungi. Combining material filmed at the Telluride Mushroom Fest with animation and archival footage along with a neo-psychedelic soundtrack by the Flaming Lips, counterculture chronicler Ron Mann (Grass, Tales of the Rat Fink) explores how fungi might well guide humanity to a safer, saner place.
  • Director(s): Ron Mann
  • Year: 2008
  • Length: 74 min.


  • Friday, July 10: 4:45PM
  • Saturday, July 11: 4:30PM
  • Monday, July 13: 5:00PM
  • Tuesday, July 14: 5:00PM
For ticket and more information from Ragtag see their website.