We had a nice surprise today. A friend had been out in the woods picking oyster mushrooms and had a bunch to give us.
I’ve picked chanterelles but I didn’t know much about oyster mushrooms so I’ve never picked them. With mushrooms, you can’t take chances because many kinds of mushrooms have lookalikes and many of those can make you very sick (or worse).
So here is a picture the friend took to show us how they grow. See them there on the trunk of that dead alder tree?
The pictures were all taken by my friend with his phone, except for the two photos in my kitchen.
If you thought mushrooms always grow on the ground, think again. Here they are again, going way up the tree.
They almost look round like a tennis ball, but if you look carefully, you’ll see that they are flat and often seem to grow overlapping each other.
Because they are off the ground, they are much easier to clean than chanterelles.
I just took a pastry brush and cleaned off a few specks of dirt. No need to wash them and make them soggy. My dryer has five layers so I filled those up with the flat mushrooms and gave my attention to the rest of them which, temporarily, are spread out on a couple of baking sheets. (They are not going to be baked.)
I put a tiny bit of butter in a pan and put the mushroom pieces in it. This is just the start of what I put in the pan. I filled the pan enough so the whole bottom of the pan is filled. One thing I learned is that it is much easier to tear oyster mushrooms than to cut them.
Once they were sauteed just until they were cooked through, I put them in a big bowl to cool off while I cooked the next batch. After the sauteed mushrooms were all cool, I put them into plastic tubs and froze them. The sauteeing ensures that the mushrooms are not rubbery when you thaw them out to add to stir fries or gravy or whatever dish you want them to be in.
A couple of the bigger pieces were perfect for adding to a sandwich. So good!
If you find the energy to go out into the woods to look for mushrooms, you might be rewarded with the sighting of a large animal – at least the sight of its hind end. I’ll spare you the guesswork – it’s an elk.
Paved road, wildlife viewing, and a load of mushrooms for dinner. What could be better?