First I remember David Wolfe talking about it. Then Daniel Vitalis. Followed by several rawies facebooking about their wild mushroom finds. The benefits of medicinal mushrooms has become a growing topic of conversation in the raw food circle. Huge chunks of chaga that can retail for $65/lb (wow!) have been found right in people’s “backyard.” So, inspired by all the ’shroom chatter and some of the many benefits listed here…
- Extreme Anti-Oxidant
- High ORAC levels
- Abundance of B Vitamins
- Strengthens Immune System
- Improves Resistance to Diseases
- Supports Immune Function
- Eliminates the Effects of Stress
…I decided to go for a mushroom hunt a few weeks ago when the weather was a positively “balmy” 40F. A field guide would have been a good idea but nah, I just went for it! So this is what I found:
1) From looking at pictures and descriptions on the web, I think this one is “stereum ostrea” or false turkey tail. It was very thin, had a smooth surface and was growing on a dead log.
2) Next up was this guy which was growing on a tree. It was thicker than the specimen above with visible pores and really hard to get off the tree. I have no idea what this one is!
3) Last one was big black clump growing on the side of a tree. When I saw it, I thought I had seriously hit a motherload of chaga! It looked like the pictures I had seen on the web but when I took it home, I read online that chaga (a) is orange/gold on the inside (mine wasn’t) and (2) it grows on birch trees ( I didn’t take note of the tree, but I don’t think it was birch.)
So that was my first mushroom expedition in Northern NJ. I obviously need to do more research and become better informed – lol. “Wildman” Steve Brill runs foraging tours in Central Park. Sounds like a good place to start this Spring. Also, the website Mushroom Experts has some good info too. In the meantime, if anyone can identify these pics, I would love to learn more.
Here’s a bit from Dr. Andrew Weil:
Weil, pointing out that, “mushrooms have little to do with the sun,” has speculated that wild mushrooms contain “lunar energy”, the consumption of which may “stimulate imagination and intuition.”