Oyster Mushrooms

OysterIn the fertile forests surrounding Cumberland there is a special spot, just a couple ‘o yards from their famous mountain biking trails (hint: just across the bridge and to the left) that so many of us crankjobs fly past without a second glance. In this dank little oasis, tucked away under salal bushes is a rotten old alder tree (nearly 15 meters long and god knows how long dead) that houses a secret, edible ecosystem.

Twice a year (once in the spring and later on in the autumn) this fallen titan sprouts hundred upon hundreds of snow white fungal tongues that quickly grow into families of winged oyster mushrooms. When in full bloom the tree is nearly covered in fungus and can be spotted from much farther away… Luckily for me no one is venturing that far off the trails. These guys are all mine!

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Best Westcoast Foraging Guides

Best Foraging GuidesMy co-worker and fellow creative lunatic Carol recently asked me what I considered to be the best, most easily accessible books on Wescoast foraging. She’d been poking around the backyard, getting excited about harvesting some local spring plants to eat and wanted a guide that could: a) Give her a fundamental understanding of foraging – ie. when and where to pick what. b) Clearly identify what plants are edible and what to avoid. c) Inspire her to roam farther afield for new experiences. (more…)

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Chanterelle Mushroom Soup

ShroomSoup2There are people out there (they know who they are!) who cannot appreciate the complex and sublime flavours of fungus because of “texture issues”. Granted, mushrooms can sometimes be a bit challenging texture-wise (read: slimy, knobbly, bumpy, spongy, etc.) but to deny oneself these earthy delights is unthinkable! So, during the wild mushroom season I tend to make a lot of soup so that even my squeamish friends and family get a chance to taste the essence of autumn.

Golden chanterelles can be 50/50 when it comes to texture. If you go picking on a good day you’ll get the dry, crisp stuff that sautés and even grills well, but after a heavy rain those same ‘shrooms will be bloated and a bit spongy. A pureed soup solves all of those pesky texture issues without losing any of the chanterelle’s flavour. (more…)

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