Saturday, December 4, 2010
Turkey Tails, Oyster Mushrooms, Bay Nuts and Acorns
No, this isn't a Thanksgiving recipe even though it sounds like one! We recently took a wonderful class on "Wild Foods" at the California School of Herbal Studies. We love our wonderful teacher Autumn Summers! We've been foraging the edges of Petaluma to hunt for California Bay Laurel nuts and acorns. Both of which can be found in great abundance right in our neighborhood.
We always look far and wide for something only to find what we need right here under our noses. Our neighborhood park is called Oak Hill for a reason! The kids and I go acorn collecting and find many different varieties from which to choose. I've had them drying on a cookie sheet on top of the old stove for about a month. The griddle stays warm from the pilot light and it seems to work just fine. When we get to processing them I'll write about it here.
As part of that same class we learned about mushrooms and couldn't wait to get out in the woods! Our first find was some beautiful Turkey Tails (Trametes versicolor). An antiviral, immune enhancing, antitumor, anticancer medicine. And, as it grows on dead logs it is easy to find. This mushroom is powerful medicine and that's exactly how we will use it. It can be used as a tea, in soups for flavor or powdered and taken in capsules. We will be blending ours with other medicinal mushrooms in a tincture. When I get to tincturing I'll be sure to write about it here.
On a different outing we found some gorgeous Oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus). Although this mushroom does have medicinal uses we dried some for future culinary use and sauteed some in the following morning's duck egg frittata. Delicious!
We are absolute beginners so we've only eaten the easy to identify mushrooms so far. We carry with us What the Rain Promises and More: A Hip Pocket Guide to Western Mushrooms by David Aurora. When we get home we look through Medicinal Mushrooms: An Exploration of Tradition, Healing and Culture by Christopher Hobbs, L. Ac. We have now entered the amazing world of mushrooms!