Friday, March 13, 2015

Golden Fungi

Not being a connoisseur of mushrooms and rarely cooking with anything more elaborate than the grocery store white buttons, I had no idea what had sprouted in my yard. I was taking the garbage to the street when they caught my eye, almost golden in the late afternoon sun. I grabbed my camera to photograph yet another fungal find. To identify them, I searched on gold mushrooms on logs. As best as I could determine from the pictures and descriptions, my golden fungi were oyster mushrooms.

Most mushrooms seem to have a short life and are withered and gone within a few days or a week.
January 20, 2015
These, although past their prime, are still hanging on nearly a month later.
February 17, 2015

Having survived through a vicious winter cold spell with snow, ice and single-digit temperatures, this is what is left nearly two months after I first spotted them.
March 11, 2015
These mushrooms, being edible goodies, bring people out in the Fall to forage for them. While they can be found at any time, they are most prevalent in the Fall, growing on dead hardwood trees or logs in temperate areas all around the world, with the exception of the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. 

The Oyster Mushroom is often used in Asian cooking, and sometimes made into a sauce similar to oyster sauce. They have a soft, chewy texture with somewhat of a seafood taste, making them perfect for seafood dishes and stock. They are best harvested when young because as they age they become tough and unpleasant tasting.  

Oyster mushroom trivia:
  • Now cultivated around the world, they were first cultivated in Germany during WWI as subsistence food.
  • They are one of the few carnivorous mushrooms; they actually devour the nematodes residing on the host log. They hit them with a toxin then suck out their juices.  
  • Oyster refers to the shape of the cap which is similar to that of an oyster shell.

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  1. Oh WOW. This is one of my official favorite posts of yours! I LOVE HOW YOU KEPT TAKING PICTURES! They are absolutely amazing. I love how you shared these and showed how they survived as the elements got them. More more more!!! :)

    1. Thank you Katherine! When I first saw them I knew they would make a good addition to my other mushroom posts, but I held off and I'm glad I did since it made a more interesting post. We have some aging logs in our yard from a tree we cut down and they have been home to several varieties.

  2. I enjoyed Katherine's ENJOYMENT of the pictures. I, too, liked watching the change in the mushroom, but what caught my eye was the snow in picture 2. I had no idea mushroom could be carnivorous. Perhaps, someday soon we'll be watching the very scary movie of the giant mushrooms who sadly ran out of nematodes and now are coming after us....DEAR ME!!!

    It's nice that you always include interesting bits of information about your pictures. I like it:~)

    1. You should visit Katherine's blog "shoot me now". I think this is my fourth mushroom/fungus post. They just keep popping up. I did take their picture in the snow. It would have been better if they hadn't been so far gone and had snow caps.

      Your comment made me smile at the thought of giant mushrooms taking over.

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