Please remember that Forage Friday is presented as trivia and not to be mistaken for medical advice. Furthermore, always be absolutely positive about the identity of any fungus that you intend to ingest. In the world of fungus you might only get one mistake. In full disclosure, I have way more experience with herbs and trees than I do fungi. Therefore you should seek other sources and learn more before foraging.
Thomas could hear his stomach growling loudly as strode the old path down to the river. In his belt he carried his hatchet with it’s wooden cover to protect the edge. He also carried long piece of river cane and a few fish hooks. The other hand held a hand woven basket. It wasn’t fancy. Just a few whips of slippery elm with an old rope for a handle. No intricate weaving patterns. Just a simple box that he could use to carry fish. In the Depression Era in Appalachia rubber was hard to come by so instead of Y shaped slingshot he had a simple Shepard’s sling and a few large pebbles. He already twn years old and felt that it was time for him to start helping to feed his brothers and sisters. But Thomas never made it to the river. Not today anyway. Today he spotted a huge pheasant roosted at the base of an old oak tree. Carefully he sat the pole and basket down on the trail and retrieved his sling. He played a golf ball sized stone in pocket and cast it Apache style. Just like his grandfather taught him. The rock torn a clean hole through the target but the target never moved. Thomas had fallen prey to his eyes playing tricks on him. His well placed shot had hit a huge mushroom. Thomas’s confusion was understandable. The polypore mushroom he saw looks so much like a bird that people call it “Hen-Of-The-Woods”. It may not have been the pheasant he’d hoped for but it was still a good find. The mushroom completely filled his basket and he took it home to his mother right away. Thomas and his mother prepared the mushroom together. The truth was that she’d spotted the fungus a few days ago and was planning to harvest it herself but she pretended to be surprised for Thomas. She was proud of him for wanting to step up and contribute. First she cut the white base from the main fruit body and washed them. Those she would set aside for making a broth to add to soups. They’re a little on the tough side but if she diced them and laid them out near the stove they’d dry up and be OK. The rest she simply cooked in her cast iron skillet with salt and pepper in the beech nut oil family had made a few days ago. Since Thomas was the who provided the meal he got to sit at the head of the table and say grace at dinner.
In the interest of full disclosure I am not positive about the identity of the mushroom in tonight’s Feature Image. I’m fairly certain that it’s Hen-Of-The-Woods but the photo is several years old and I can’t go back and double check.
Like a lot of wild edibles Hen-Of-The-Woods is rich in vitamins and minerals. It’s also a source of beta glucans that may help lower cholesterol.
In traditional Chinese medicine Hen-Of-The-Woods is thought to help modulate the immune system. The theory is that the fungus strengthens the immune system when it needs to be stimulated and but also holds the immune system back when it overreacts. The mechanisms of how this happens is better explained by by an expert so I’ll have to ask the readers that are interested to remember that my blog is primarily about the photos I take and that the Forage Friday posts are only intended to be a conversation starter.
Lastly, Hen-Of-The-Woods is not the same as Chicken-Of-The-Woods. Hen-Of-The-Woods is Grifola frondosa and Chicken-Of-The-Woods is Leatiporus sulphureus. Both are polypore mushrooms and have a similar appearance but are not the same.
Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.
For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.
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