Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Novice Mycophagist #3 “The Oyster Tree”

Last year, while walking our southern property at Sand Creek Park, I found a dead, fallen Aspen tree that had a few oyster mushrooms growing on it. It was mid-August, I think, and the mushrooms were well beyond their prime. So, I made a mental note to check the tree, which I dubbed “Oyster Tree” (I have a habit of naming things on the land—there is Picnic Rock, Bart’s Creek, Dick the Tree, and so forth), the next year.

Rick and Lynne Robinson, Fort Collins, Colorado

We spent four days at the cabin in late July and on the second day we hiked to Oyster Tree.

Sure enough, it was covered in oyster mushrooms! Many were still quite small, but a few were just mature. A couple had small black beetles that were starting to make their gills home, but I got rid of them in a hurry. We harvested a few of the “just right” mushrooms and took them home for dinner.

Rick and Lynne Robinson, Fort Collins, Colorado

I cleaned them, removing all dirt and the few pesky beetles, and put them in the fridge for the afternoon. That evening we had an Asian-style pork dish for dinner and we figured the oyster mushrooms would go perfectly.

Rick and Lynne Robinson, Fort Collins, Colorado

I sliced them into thick chunks, heated a little canola oil in a cast iron pan till it was hot. Then, I added the mushrooms and sautéed them with a little salt and pepper until they just started to turn brown. We really enjoyed them with the pork dish.

Of course, we then sat around and waited to get sick. Well, not really that bad. But, whenever we eat mushrooms that we’ve found in the woods and identified ourselves, we always have that fear. We ate them on Saturday night. We both felt okay that night and all day Sunday. But, Sunday night and Monday, Lynne didn’t feel very good. She had a “sour” stomach that grumbled a lot. I was fine. I guess we’ll never know if it was the mushrooms, but I guess it could have been. Twenty-four hours seems like a long time to get symptoms from mushrooms, but I don’t have a lot of experience with this, so it may be entirely possible. We are positive in their identification, but, I guess a lot of people get a little sick anytime from even “safe” mushrooms.

We’ll have to see what happens in future tastings. We may not have the “stomach” for this mycophagist hobby!

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Posted under: Cabin NewsMushroom Articles • by Rick on 08/02/2005 at 05:44 PM
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  1. On the weekend of August 6th and 7th, we revisited the oyster tree. It had grown a whole new crop of large, fresh, wonderful oyster mushrooms. We harvested a good 2 pounds, still leaving more behind. We had them with this recipe on Sunday night when we got home. Delicious. And, no side effects.

    Even better, while hunting mushrooms in the valley just below the cabin, Lynne spotted another oyster tree—this one a standing live Aspen tree. It did not have quite as many mushrooms on it, but still a good meal’s worth. Of course, we did not harvest any of them since we did not have a plan for eating them. (I use the same philosophy for catching fish.)

    Posted by Rick  on  08/10/2005  at  01:57 PM
  2. We started growing oyster mushrooms a few weeks ago and picked the first ones yesterday. We are amazed how quickly they grow, from 1 cm to hand size in three days. They are very tasty.

    Does anyone know how to dry them and how to collect the sporn and use it to grow more oyster mushrooms?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/05/2007  at  07:36 PM
  3. You can dry them by spreading them out on a sheet pan (cookie sheet) and keeping them in a warm oven for 6-7 hours. Or, you can use a commercial food drier. I built my own by making a tall box with a light bulb in the bottom and a small fan that blows air out the top, then put some small racks in it.

    When I find oysters, I always eat them!

    I don’t think you will be successful collecting the spore and trying to row your own with anything other than a kit. I sure don’t know how to do it. There are some mushroom cultivation web sites, you can look for.

    Good luck!

    Posted by Rick  on  03/07/2007  at  12:37 PM

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