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theforagedmeal:

FORAGING ONTARIO: SPRUCE/PINE/FIR TIPS

Like dandelions we walk by the coniferous tips all the time without knowing their culinary uses. When just emerged and harvested, these tips are tender and fresh tasting with a hint of resin and citrus. Be sure to rid yourself of the papery casing or of any hard stems before using them.  Careful when harvesting late because the flavour may be too intense. Our favourite way to enjoy these is to pickle them!

click title head below for link to recipe webpage.

PICKLED SPRUCE TIPS

Makes 2 half pint jars, scale as needed

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh, young spruce tips, papery husk removed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup applecider vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Method

  1. Pack your 1/2 pint canning jars with spruce tips, stopping 1/2 inch below the lid
  2. Heat the water, vinegar, salt and sugar until boiling
  3. Pour the boiling pickle liquid over the jars of spruce tips, filling them almost all the way to the top of the jar, making sure to use a paper clip, UCT, or some other thin utensil to agitate the tips and release air bubbles if needed.
  4. Now place the canning lids on the jars of spruce tips and turn the jars upside down. Leave overnight to seal. In the morning you will find they have formed a natural hermetic seal  due to the heat of the boiling water. Filling the jars more full of liquid than usual also helps the seal to form, as without the pressure of boiling water outside of the jars, there is no danger of them exploding due to overfilling.

This is a back alley canning procedure I covered in the fiddlehead pickle post. If you prefer to can yours in a water bath, thats just fine. The low ph***in this recipe and the amount of sugar and salt is more than enough to ensure a bacteria-less environment though.

I have never tried this, looks cool

erieforage:

My daughter and I tried it out. A 1/4” sliver off the mushroom she has in the picture lasted about 1 mile or 15 min, so 3 mushrooms will move a spark for about a day; however it catches a spark so easily, I would just star new at each camp sight. It does not work if the mushroom is wet or too moist, dead black rotting ones work best. It also would be a great hand warmer on winter.

It’s freezing again so I did an experiment. First, I lit a dried out mushroom with flint and steel. It literally took the first spark that hit it. Second, I used a small mushroom about 2 inches as a hand warmer. It was amazing. I will do it again and take some pictures, but it lasted about 2 hours and I could put it down in the snow do some work and com back to it without a problem.

ediblefungi:

Edible Fungi Interview with Jon (erieforage)

How did you get into foraging for mushrooms?

I began foraging about 4 years ago, I was going to sell my house and decided not to grow a garden. I still wanted fresh food so I decided to go ahead and do some general foraging. About mid summer I ran out of things look for. My uncle mentioned he did a little mushroom hunting. So I did some research and started looking. The first thing I found was huge bloom of oysters. They smelled so strongly of anise that I knew I had the ID. Right then I fell in love. I was amazed that I had never seen them before. They were giant white and came in my favorite flavor. To this day I amazed by the color and variety of forms and favors that makeup the kingdom of mushrooms.

What is your most fond foraging experience?

My favorite experience mushrooming was when I cut through a boggy area that opened into a very old conifer forest. The trees seemed to touch the sky and the mushrooms were almost too large to be real. I stopped hiking and hung out there for a couple hours. I have gone back several times senesce that day and and it has never lost its magic.

What is your favourite mushroom?

My favorite is Hen of the Woods, Parasol mushrooms are a close second, but I allow my kids to eat Hens, and that’s a big plus.

Is there a mushroom you are really wanting to find?

I have never fond a Horn of Plenty. Though I have looked for years. At this point going out is kind of like shopping. I know where to look, and when, to get the mushrooms I want, but I have no idea where to look for the horns. I think they may be hiding from me.

(Photo is of Painted Suillus mushrooms.)

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Want to be interviewed? Answer the questions above & include a favourite picture of yourself foraging or mushrooms you have picked and submit! If you don’t have a tumblr, you can email me at zoeenuage@gmail.com. Make sure to include a link to your tumblr or any sites of yours that you want to share. Interviews are posted on Tuesdays whenever possible.