Monday, November 19, 2018

Bountiful Mushrooms & Frugal Accomplishments

Hello, friends.  Last week, I shopped after working in town.  I checked the discount grocery, and found a few things, including organic juice for $1 and my favorite find, packs of "tie-dye" tissue paper 4/$1.  At Aldi's, I mostly bought produce, was delighted to find pomegranates for .79, and bought 6.  However, I noticed I was charged .89 when I got home.  In any case, a great price, and besides enjoying the seeds in salads, I'm also eating them as a snack, which is how we ate them growing up.  My family called them Chinese apples.  At Walgreens, I purchased nuts for snacks and all the birthday cards I need through the end of the year, and received $10 towards rewards points.  A purchase on amazon, mostly Christmas presents, was paid for partly with a gift card earned through swagbucks.

Hen of the Woods aka Maitake

I picked all the leaves from the stems of the mint I harvested before the freeze, made mint syrup, and canned it.  Some of the jars will be used for gifts.  I made fried rice using brown rice and an open bag of mixed vegetables from the freezer.  I have dehydrated summer squash that we don't care for.  Some was rehydrated for the chickens, but they didn't seem to care for it either, so I guess the remainder will go in the compost.  I enjoyed a lovely evening with a friend, first dinner, paid for with a gift card, then to a free musical my brother was playing in.  Afterwards, I went to a nearby Harris Teeter to pick up a few things.  I saw a pack of portabella mushrooms, 4 huge ones, marked down from $5.29 to $2.29.  When I got home, I realized the $3 off discount had gone through, but not the price, so I guess that means I was paid to buy them.  The store is about an hour away, in a town I'm only in a couple of times a year, so I'm just being grateful for free mushrooms.

Maitake or Hen of the Woods
I'm trying hard to use up leftovers, but there was enough that I couldn't do it alone this week, so the dogs and chickens ended up with some.  I've recently been learning more about edible mushrooms. Two that are being found in this area right now are Lion's Mane and Hen of the Woods. I haven't found any Lion's Mane, but Sunday morning, I began looking for Hen of the Woods at the base of oaks, and was delighted to find several clusters around one of our elder oaks.  There were a few clusters that looked past their prime, and another lighter cluster that I wasn't sure enough about, so I harvested three beautiful ones weighing close to 20 lbs total.  They are a polypore mushroom.  You can see in the second photo that instead of gills, they have multiple pores on the underside.  I quickly learned they're a bit of a bear to clean, with many washings needed to remove all the bark, leaves and soil.  I got one of the large ones (over 7 lbs.) cleaned, and then it was time to make dinner.  From that one mushroom, I filled the dehydrator, 10 freezer bags, and prepared the rest for our dinner, with a little olive oil, butter and salt.  It was delicious.  I put the other two on the porch for the night, and plan to clean and can some, and possibly make tincture.  I feel blessed to have such bounty.

Though I did not work the three days of the pottery Celebration as originally planned, I did help out at one of the potteries on Saturday.  It was a beautiful day, I was able to visit with a friend, and sold several soaps while there as well.  So, a good day in several ways.  Both of my online shops continue to receive orders, of which I'm very grateful.  I've recently gotten the impression that some friends that knew me in my previous gray haired days don't remember, which got me looking at old photos.  These are a couple from my house building days, in 2002 and 2003.  So, I'm going back to the future...  Be well, friends, and Happy Thanksgiving!


cookingwithgas said...

we sure missed seeing you. I love the gray! Mushrooms are a lot of work to clean, there must be a better way.... Happy T day!

Laurie said...

I missed being there. Do you remember the gray? I would have had it the first few times we met. The mushrooms... yikes! I finally got them all cleaned a few minutes ago, so canning will have to wait until tomorrow. I'm getting ready to chop them in smaller pieces, so I'll be ready to go in the morning.

Beckyathome said...

It's amazing that you are knowledgable enough to pick wild mushrooms and eat them! I know lots of people do that around here, too, but it's something I know nothing about so don't feel comfortable doing it. I feel like I would need someone to take me by the hand and show me, for me to feel like I knew what I was doing.

It's awesome that you got enough to use, and preserve. You will love having them in your pantry.

Laurie said...

I'm pretty excited about them! I have taken a class, and want to take more, but for now, I'm just doing a lot of research and choosing ones that don't have toxic lookalikes.