Posts Tagged With: Boletus

Fall Foraging and Quincely Woes

Well it’s creeping into fall once again. That lovely time of year following summer, where all kinds of harvest fruits are usually available for preservation and nomming.

To that end, there is a bumper crop on my quince tree this year. This would usually be cause for celebration here, as we pick, clean, slice, and freeze the fruit for use over the winter.

The problem is that the weather has been very odd all year. Whilst this has resulted in beautiful fruit up until now, it’s now hot when it should be cold.

It’s 83 degrees and very wet today, and will also be thus tomorrow. In October. In Pennsylvania.

Why is this a problem?

Because quince is a fall weather harvest fruit. The week plus of 80 degrees and extremely wet has meant that the ground is too soft to safely plant a ladder to harvest the fruit, and said fruit is rotting on the tree from the heat instead of being all nice and preserved as it should be by cooler temps. The first week of October is usually the first time I pick any fruit from this tree. I’ve had tons of fruit drop on their own over the last two weeks. And it’s ripening unevenly. One side will be shock green and the other side will be literally rotten. Not cool. Literally.

The next semi dry day here is forecast to be four days from now. At that time I’ll be harvesting all I can. They have to be hand picked. If they fall the impact bruises them very easily and ruins wherever it impacts.

The warm weather has also put the kabosh on fall mushrooms thus far. I’ve only found a half dozen mushrooms the past month. The only things that have been coming up have been either unknown or toxic varietals. No boletus. Well, there was ONE stray slippery pine boletus, but it was so bug eaten by the time I found it that I didn’t bother. Slippery pine boletus usually require shade of some kind to come up in any kind of proliferation, and it’s typically in the form of leaves that fall from other trees. When the leaves from the neighboring maple falls on the area of the roots of the scotch pine, is when these things will be popping up en masse. But the leaves haven’t fallen yet. The warmer temps mean that all the trees in my yard (save the barren walnut tree that got the clue early as usual…), haven’t dropped very many leaves at all yet. Two of my maples are still 100% green! The one closest to the house, the oldest one, has gotten the hint and the leaves are starting to slowly turn yellow.

So what’s it like in your neck of the woods, and has the weather been good or horrible for your local foraging preferences?

Categories: Foraging, Green, Mushrooms, Nature, Wild Cookery | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Soup, Glorious Soup!

Instead of listing a zillion soup recipes, I’ll just start with a base recipe that I use, along with some variants that I use depending upon the season.

Wild Cookery
WINTER: Winter is the heaviest soup season for me, living where I do in the frozen Northeast. In the winter I’ll typically leave a pot of soup on ‘warm’ heat all day long and then shut it off at night. Normally when it’s cold enough out I can just put the whole pot of soup in the breezeway and it keeps it below 40 degrees same as the fridge would. Hearty soups are the name of the game here. I tend to put some meat in every other pot I make. I put everything in one pot, except the rice, which I make and store separately, and add it to each soup bowl, and then ladle the soup on top of the rice. This keeps the rice fresh and doesn’t turn my soup into a starch-fest.

SPRING: Spring is still pretty good soup season. Especially once the wild garlic, garlic mustard, dandelions, and other spring greens start popping up. I still use meat in my soups in the spring, but to a lesser degree than in winter. I tend to switch from beans to lentils during this time period.

SUMMER: Summer is the least soup-y season for me. Though I do still make wild greens soup from time to time. When I do, I don’t usually add meat to it, and I make it into a much thinner soup. It’s typically pretty hot here during the summer, and I don’t like eating hot and warming foods like soup when it’s hot. Also soup doesn’t keep well on it’s own in hot weather, and spoils rapidly, and thus has to be independently refrigerated, taking up a large amount of room in my fridge.

FALL: Fall is when soup season starts to kick in again. Usually the end of September or the beginning of October. During this time-frame I switch back from lentils to beans, to make the soups thicker and heartier. I also start adding meat back into the soup on an increasing basis until eventually it’s every other pot or so.

Ingredients:

  • Water
  • Ancient Sea Salt. (Don’t skimp on this, and don’t use that white toxic iodized crap you find at the store. If you can’t find Ancient Sea Salt, use Celtic Sea Salt.)
  • Potatoes (or any other starch veggie you like. I’m on a budget, and it’s winter, so I use potatoes.)
  • Veggies. This can be anything you like, but should include at least one onion. I typically use an onion, 3 carrots, and 3 stalks of celery, as a base. Cabbage and wild greens are added when available or in season.
  • Rosemary. I use dried, though I suppose you can use fresh if you have it on hand. Nearly anything can be made tasty with enough rosemary.
  • Beans. I use pinto beans, kidney beans, or whatever is on hand. I buy bulk 20 pound bags.
  • Meat. Again, whatever you like. With bones is preferred, but any meat will do. Including and especially wild game. Deer, squirrel, rabbit, whatever. Toss it in there.

How to make real basic soup:

All of my soups start with a big soup pan. I like soup, and I make enough so that it lasts my family several days at a time. You can make less or more as you desire, but the method is identical. Start with cold water, and add the salt. (See below.)

Also, be sure to use a lid with your soups. It preserves your nutrients. With a lid the evaporate turns into condensation on the lid, and will slink back into the pan when the heat is shut off. So nothing is lost. It’s making the most out of a limited resource.

I then add 1/2 of a standard coffee cup of ancient sea salt directly to the water. I know how much salt I like in my soup. You can add more or less to taste. I’d start with less and see how you like it. You can always add MORE salt. You can’t un-salt something without adding more water to it however, and it’s easier to add more salt than to try to dilute something which is uber-salty. Heat the water to boiling. I typically put my pot on 6 on a scale of 10 to do this. Add the dried rosemary. I’d say about 2 tablespoons, though I just pinch it in myself. Don’t worry, it’s not overkill. Trust me. Rosemary is a good thing.

Now that the water is doing it’s thing, you can add some of the veggies. I add the potatoes first. I use 3 – 5 potatoes, cubed into small pieces. Probably 1/4th of an inch across. You can go larger if you like. Next add the onions, sliced and then cubed the same way. Then the carrots and celery. I cut the carrots in half lengthwise, and depending on size, half again lengthwise. Then chop as you did the onion and follow suit as you did with the potatoes and onion. Celery is done the same way, except that you don’t need to cleave it in half first, as it’s a stalk and not a root veggie. You can usually get three strips out of a large celery stalk. Chop semi-finely.

I then add wild greens if available. This can be anything you like. I typically use dock, dandelion, plantain, wild garlic, thistle if available, and sometimes a little bit of garlic mustard. I’ll throw in anything that’s in season though, from fiddleheads to violet blossoms and leaves. If it’s edible, it goes in the pot.

Next add the meat. Mine is usually frozen, so I add it last, as the soup will take a while to boil again after you add all those veggies. Once it’s going good again, just add the meat whole whilst still frozen. I get my meat bulk and then I re-wrap it in freezer paper so that I can add it to soup without messing with it. I just open the freezer paper, extract the meat from the waxy surface, and in the soup it goes. Ground meat works especially well for this. If you use ground meat, you’ll need to pull the meat out of the pot after a few minutes and chop it up fine with a knife on a cutting board.

If you use boned meat like chicken, or more solid meat, like a chunk or roast, once it’s cooked and falling apart or off the bones, you’ll need to pull it out of the soup and flake it with a fork. I use two forks. One to hold, one to flake. Then bones and meat all go back in the soup.

The last thing that goes in, is the beans. If you knew you were making soup the night before, you can soak your beans in a pot of water overnight, drain, rinse, and then add directly. Or you can speed-soak them. This involves boiling a pot of water, adding the beans, boiling them for a few minutes, shutting the pot off, and letting them sit for an hour or so. Then drain, rinse if desired, and add to soup. If you do it this way do it BEFORE you start your soup, so the beans will be on hand and you won’t have to wait an extra hour for nothing.

An hour or so later, it’ll be done and ready to go. I serve mine over rice. I make the rice separately though, that way the soup pot at large doesn’t get all ‘starchy’. I think it tastes much better this way.

Some additional soup ideas…

You can also sometimes take your leftovers and turn them into/add them to soup. This not only saves you a huge amount of time and effort in preparation, but makes the most of your resources in these economically shazzy times.

An example:

I visited a friend last year who was new to foraging. They were interested in seeing how it could be incorporated into their daily life, so I proposed a little game during our construction of dinner.

The game was that the meal could only contain ONE item that was store bought and not foraged for. The leftovers would then be made into soup the next day. Cooking oil and basic spices not included. (In other words the olive oil and salt and pepper didn’t count.) I buy my ancient sea salt in bulk in 20 pound bags, and I buy my peppercorns in bulk as well. You should have enough of both on hand to last you a year of daily cooking use, and you can acquire such for about $30 or less.

Day 1: The Meal

First I put some olive oil in a frying pan, cubed up three medium sized potatoes. The potatoes were grown from their garden, so they were an allowed ingredient. After the potatoes were almost done, I added some lovely boletus that I found growing on the property, chopped and cubed into small pieces. In a separate pan, also with some olive oil, I put in some frozen deer meat that my friend supplied from their hunt the prior year.

(Thankfully they had the sense and skill to clean their own deer. I had actually helped them with it, as they were going to take it to a butcher. I said… “Butcher? PFFT. C’mon son, it’s time you learned a thing or two…” And so I showed them how to cut up and package a whole deer into nice little freezer sized packages. It’s amazing what you can do with a sharp knife, masking tape, and some freezer paper. They were amazed that I didn’t need a saw and processed the whole deer with just a single knife, that I sharpened a few times as I went. Flabbergasted, even. Some people’s kids, I tell ya. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

Anyway, they had some of that left, so we took a little over 3/4 of a pound of neck meat strips, thawed them out, cut them up finer, and then added them to the pan.

This in turn, was served over a bed of rice. It was delicious. You carb conscious folks are probably going ‘Ay-yai-yai-yai-yai!’ right about now. Whatever, you eat what you eat, I’ll eat what I want to eat. It’s all about moderation what what your diet consists of. Different folks require different amounts of certain things. I used to think that I was a ‘protein’ type, but I later found that’s not the case with me at all. If I eat more than a certain amount of meat, I start to feel less than well and have difficulty digesting, and passing, said meat. So, I include meat in my diet, but as part of a balanced whole. Oh, I’ll nom a steak from time to time, no doubt. But I don’t eat meat products for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks like half of America does.

That being said, I do luvs mah bacon. ๐Ÿ˜€

I don’t have issues digesting bacon. Only denser, more solid meat. Like if I have meat for lunch, and then a big steak for dinner, digestive problems are in the forecast for the next morning, guaranteed. Maybe it has something to do with the fat content, or lack thereof. I always eat all the fat on all the meat I consume. It’s good for ya. Moreso than the meat, in fact.

But I digress…

Day 2: The Soup

What we had left over was probably one bowl’s worth of meat, potatoes, and mushrooms. Even with rice, that’s not enough to feed several people a second time around.

So, it was soup time. Also, as part of the rules, ‘leftovers’ do not apply. All leftovers are fair game, and any quantity may be used, as it is considered making the most of otherwise wasted resources. Feel free to mix and match if you have numerous leftovers available from numerous sources.

First off I went looking in their yard for what I could find. I came back in short order with a few big leaves of dock (Rumex obtusifolius), a big fistful of dandelion greens, some plantain, a small handful of violet leaves, a whole small thistle plant complete with root, and a few bulbs of wild garlic. This took a whole 5 minutes or so. They were shocked that all this food was just sitting there in their yard, and that they mowed it down, weekly.

It took longer to clean the stuff than it did to collect it.

It all got chopped up and added to the soup. Except the thistle root. That was put in whole as it was a bit woody, and later removed and discarded after the outer layer had turned smooshy and left only the woody core.

The leftovers from the prior day were then added directly to the soup. (This would be the deer, boletus, and potatoes)

I then took a half pound package of the toughest neck meat they had left in the freezer and put it in the soup. (Following the basic soup instructions above.) It cooked for about 3 hours total.

The deer meat came out more tender than the finest fillet mignon I have ever had. And this is from a ‘tough’ cut of meat that most would have ground into burger. It’s all in the preparation. It literally was so tender that it melted in your mouth. And the flavor was incredible.

As usual, I served it over a small bowl of rice. The folks I made it for proclaimed that it was the “Best GD soup I’ve ever had.” And GD didn’t stand for “Green Deane” in that instance. ๐Ÿ˜‰

It’s amazing what you can do with nature at your doorstep, and otherwise wasted leftovers.

Thus, I am a big proponent of soup. We could feed the world with soup. Or at least, all of our family and loved ones, no matter the economic circumstances.

It’s the difference between surviving and thriving during tough times. If you can thrive during the worst of times, you’ll do incredible during better times.

Categories: Nature, Preparedness, Recipes, Wild | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

For Lunch Today: Sauteed Wild Greens and Mushrooms over Rice

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve posted something substantial here at Wild Cookery! Since it IS named ‘Wild Cookery!’ I figured that I should probably take some pictures of a simple meal I like to make, even though there is a video that I made quite a while back with some of the same content.

This is quick, easy, and straightforward. (And with colorful new pictures!) ๐Ÿ™‚

Let’s just call this ‘Sauteed Wild Greens and Mushrooms over Rice’

Actually it’s sauteed dandelions, plantago, dock, wild garlic, and slippery pine boletus over white rice, but that’s just too darn long and boring sounding. ๐Ÿ˜›

You can substitute any mushroom you like for the boletus, and add or remove any wild greens you may desire for whatever is in season. The dandelions are pretty much a ‘must have’ for me though, as well as the garlic. The entire dish tastes very different without them, and not in a favorable way. (In my not so humble opinion.)

The ingredients:

Slippery Pine Bolete (Boletus luteus/Suillus luteus)

First, defrost the mushrooms if frozen. These had been in the bottom of the freezer for two years. Waste not want not, right?

They may not look so appetizing right now. But they’ll be delicious when cooked up.

Once it is defrosted, we can then slice it and then chop it up.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) The main greens volume-wise. These will be varying in bitter depending on the time of year you have gathered them, whether they were grown in the sun or the shade, and even what time of day you gathered them. I like to gather in early morning. As you can see, these were pretty darn big. Gather a good fistful.

And to give you an idea of how big some of these are…

Now that’s a dandelion, eh? I find ones this big every week in spring and early summer. There is a special patch I have in the shade of some trees that gets perfectly watered and is in nearly full shade. And this is the result. Yum!

Wild Garlic (Allium canadense) The secondary green, volume-wise. Also adds immense flavor. Who doesn’t love garlic? Also this particular garlic doesn’t leave you with that store bought trademark ‘garlic’ breath. Seriously. It’s great. The more the better!

Native North American Plantain (Plantago) This is the long thin variety that is native to North America, not the shorter ovate variety that is from Europe. (That is Plantago major) But they are both plantagos and taste very similar. I have both in my lawn. I just happen to have more of this one right now. I use a small handful. About half a dozen good sized leaves or so.

Broad Leaf Dock (Rumex obtusifolius) Rich in protein and Vitamin A. Chop up and saute with the other greens. If you are bitter-sensitive don’t use too many. One or two is fine. We like bitter, so I used four.

This is what it all looks like chopped up:

Then saute for a bit…

I also sliced up, or rather ‘cubed’ up, two very small baked potatoes that I had leftover from the other day. Yea, I know the anti-carb police will be screaming on this, but it added a nice flavor and bulk to the dish, as well as minimized waste, which I’m very big on. Waste not want not.

Serve over rice (which I’m assuming you can follow directions on the back of the package for…) And voila!

But *gasp* carbs are… ‘bad’!

Before I started eating greens every day and cutting the trash out of my diet, I was 60 pounds heavier than I am now. And I eat rice nearly every since day. I’m trim, and fit. So I kind of go toe to toe with the ‘carbs are bad’ kind of people. Respectfully, of course. Who am I to say some diet does or does not work for someone else?

All I know is that I can eat as much carbs as I want with zero real detriment. I can also eat loads of real natural fats. I’m in the best shape of my life, and went from a size 40 down to a size 32, slowly and naturally just by changing what I was eating, and with very real exercise other than a little bit of walking and some daily pushups.

But, if you are one of those folks who don’t eat carbs, then this recipe is most likely NOT for you, as the main ingredient is a bed of rice. The purpose here, other than of course to be a filling wholesome meal, is to be BALANCED.

Healthy wild greens paired with a carb is usually a good thing. Add a meat if you like, and you’ve got an even better meal. I didn’t want any meat today, so I made mine without. You can just as easily add any ground or cubed meat to this with outstanding results, and I do so quite frequently.

As I’ve said, a similar dish has been posted before, but I figured that in keeping with the concept of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’, I got to thinking of what dish I could make this afternoon for as low cost, and as high of a return, as possible. This is what I came up with, which is good, as it’s one of my favorite dishes! ๐Ÿ™‚

So, what did this all cost?

The boletus had been in the freezer for two years, and originally came from my yard. (And came out tasting fine by the way, especially once sauteed in the olive oil!) Cost: $0

The greens were freshly gathered from my yard. Cost: $0

The rice came in a one pound bag. Cost: $1

Olive oilโ€ $0.50 (I like to use a decent amount.)

Pinch of ancient sea salt. Cost: $0.25… if even that.

The only out of pocket cost for this dish is the rice, the little bit of olive oil, and the little bit of real ancient sea salt. I figure this entire meal, which fed three people, had an end TOTAL cost of about $1.75. Max. Add another $1.50 or so, and I could have added some kind of ground meat to it. But I didn’t feel like meat today. It would have been even less had I used only a tablespoon of olive oil. But I really like olive oil. And olive oil is expensive. Now, that’s total cost, not per person. And I still have 3 servings of rice left over for later too!

Ye can’t beat that with a stick!

And it was absolutely delicious. Probably the best tasting thing I’ve eaten all month. The wild garlic sauteed up in the olive oil with a little bit of real natural ancient sea salt is just to die for.

Give it a whirl with your local greens and let me know what you think!

All the best!

~Janos at Wild Cookery

Categories: Buying Local, Food Health, Green, Organic, Plant Photos | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Updates, Developments, and all that Good Stuff!

Hi everyone!

Work on the new site is going well, if a bit tedious. The early spring has put a bunch of things that don’t normally happen this early on my plate a month sooner than usual. (Who ever heard of cutting their grass in MARCH in the Northeast?) Strange days, these.

We’ll be going with a standard blog style format for the new website initially. This will allow us to work with a format that we are familiar with and focus on the content vs the technical side of things.

In other words, bring the good stuff to you instead of tweaking with the techno-gadgets on the back end. ๐Ÿ˜›

All of this development time has also seriously dipped into my normal foraging schedule. I’ve hardly had any time at all to go beyond the boundaries of my own backyard, and I’ve been rather delinquent in keeping tabs on my favorite foraging forum. www.Eattheweeds.com/forum

The dandelions in my back yard have been blooming everywhere and I sauteed a bunch of the blooms, stems, leaves, and buds yesterday along with some wild garlic and boletus mushrooms over rice. That’s one of my favorite pseudo-wild ‘dishes’. Everything but the rice is gotten within a few minutes walking distance of my yard, so you can’t beat that deal. ๐Ÿ™‚

Also, these spring dandelions are fantastic raw. Take one or two and wrap them around a slice of sharp cheddar cheese, and nom down! Crackers are optional. But honestly, I like it with just the cheese and dandelions.

I do have another announcement, and it is very exciting for us, but I’ll make a separate post for it, as it deserves it’s own space.

Categories: Updates, Web, Wild | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Properly Freeze Fresh Wild Mushrooms

You will need:

1 large cookie sheet
wax paper to cover cookie sheet (optional)
Ziploc sandwich bags and/or gallon sized bags for large quantities.
fresh mushrooms

TO FREEZE:

First, clean and rinse the mushrooms.
Cut them into the appropriate sizes for whatever you plan to do with them, if they are very large or dense mushrooms, such as a giant puffball. In which case youโ€™d want to make slices that were ยผโ€ to ยฝโ€ thick.

Oyster mushrooms can typically be frozen whole, as they thaw very nicely, and one large one is usually enough for an entire dish. The wax paper is good for these, otherwise they will stick to the cookie sheet. Toss the whole sheet in the freezer. Once they are completely frozen, you may now bag them in the Ziplocs. Gallon sized bags work well for this if you have a lot, as the mushrooms will be individually pre-frozen and won’t stick together.

I typically cut large mushrooms into halves or quarters. If I know what I am going to be using them for, before hand I donโ€™t worry about using the cookie sheet and wax paper, and I just put them into the Ziploc baggie as it. Smaller specimens can just be frozen whole.

TO DEFROST:

Place the mushrooms in a bowl of cold water for about 15 minutes.


When they are mostly thawed, you can then slice them as you normally would for whatever dish you are preparing.


Cook them as you normally wouldโ€ฆ

And your favorite dish comes out just as tasty as if you were using the fresh mushrooms!

Pictured is Macaroni and oyster mushrooms with wild garlic, dandelion and chicory greens. Delicious!

Enjoy!

This and all future How-tos will be cataloged under the โ€˜How-toโ€™ tab up on the top menu bar.

Categories: How To, Mushrooms | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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