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Posts Tagged ‘Mushrooms’

On Sunday I posted a photo of the quail eggs that I brought home from a recent barter.

They are so tiny and so beautiful. Each quail has its own distinct patter on the eggs that she lays – like a fingerprint. That is amazing, isn’t it?! Imagine my surprise when I started cracking them open and found some that were colored inside – a beautiful range of light blue/aqua. Nature is amazing!

Quail eggs

Quail eggs

I had no idea how many quail eggs made an omelet, so my plan was to just keep adding eggs until it looked like the amount of two chicken eggs. Well, I got a little carried away. The first omelet had 18 eggs in it. That was just too many.

Quail egg Omelet

Quail egg Omelet

We are eating a lot of things out of the garden right now. Peppers from the garden, along with beautiful onions from my neighbor, and local mushrooms from Kitchen Pride.

As I think back to the barter and all the wonderful things that I come home with, I smile when I think of the variety of eggs: Quail, Chicken, Duck, Turkey. All the eggs are beautiful.

What kind of eggs are in your refrigerator?

Sincerely, Emily

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Since Kim talked about using garlic to help deal with a cold or flu I thought I’d talk about one of the things we do around here to boost our immune systems not only so we don’t get colds but also to help protect us against cancer and other baddies. Along with a healthy diet and lots of exercise, eating mushrooms regularly can help you fight off the cold and flu and help you fight all sorts of things like cancer, obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc. Here’s an interesting article about mushrooms and immunity. When it comes to mushrooms, usually the tastier the better for you, although even white button mushrooms help boost your immune system.

You’ll want to look for the more obscure mushrooms like: shiitake, hen of the woods, oyster, morel, etc. I’m lucky that we have a local mushrooms grower that specializes in these types of mushrooms. Each week at the farmers market I buy whatever mushrooms they have for sale. Last week I found Hen of the Woods mushrooms for the first time. I also really like baby portabella mushrooms, which I buy at my local health food store.

We also forage for mushrooms in the spring, so far we’ve only found and eaten a few varieties of morels. I really want to learn more about growing mushrooms myself so I can grow them in the garden. I’m thinking of talking to the people I buy them from at the market to see if I can buy spawn from them since I know the ones they grow do well in my climate.

I’m quite lucky because I LOVE mushrooms of all shapes, colors and sizes. Some of the more exotic ones take some getting used to, but after a few times you’ll find them quite delicious. Mr Chiots used to refuse to eat mushrooms when we first got married, he’s come around though and now happily asks for seconds when we’re eating sauteed mushrooms.

Are you a mushrooms lover? Have you ever considered adding more mushrooms to you diet for health reasons?

I can also be found at Chiot’s Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, beekeeping, and all kinds of stuff. You can also find me at Simple, Green, Frugal, Co-op, and you can follow me on Twitter.

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Foraging for Wild Food

Here at Chiot’s Run, we love finding foods that we can forage from the wild without having to cultivate them. Each year we learn more and more about wild edible plants and we’re enjoying the nutritional benefits they add to our diet. It can be an overwhelming and scary thing to learn about wild foraged food. Knowing what you can and can’t eat from the forest is one of those skills that’s been lost along the way. There are plenty of books you can read and websites where you can learn how to identify free edible wild food (see below for a few that you might find useful).

Of course you want to make sure that you’re correct on your plant identification before harvesting and eating something since some plants are poisonous. It’s also wise to harvest and eat just a small amount to make sure someone isn’t allergic to the new wild food.

I’d also suggest taking it slow and learning a few new wild foods each year. When you do it this way to learn to properly identify different edible plants during the entire growing season and you can practice cooking and using them medicinally. It can be overwhelming to try to learn them all at once and the information is often forgotten. You also run the risk of making a mistake when harvesting if you’re not 100% percent familiar with what the plants look like during each season. We make it a point to learn a few more wild foods each year. Several years ago we started eating morels that we find and last year we started eating a lot of garlic mustard as well as bittercress. We started using plantain for medicinal purposes and a few other weeds. This year I’m hoping to harvest some nettles for tea.

This summer we’ve been enjoying a lot of wild greens and flowers in our spring salads. Since I didn’t get any spinach overwintered, we’ve been relying on garlic mustard, bitter cress, wild violets, and dandelions for our salads. We’ve also been enjoying wild flowers, they really make the salads beautiful (who wouldn’t want to eat one of these salads). The wonderful thing about wild plants is that they’re nutritional powerhouses. This is one of the reasons we started eating more wild foods. We’re always looking for ways to ramp up the nutritional quality of what we eat.

As with plants you grow in your garden you want to make sure the wild plants you harvest are not in an area that is sprayed with pesticides or other chemicals. I’d stay away from plants in ditches along the road as well since they’re most likely covered in exhaust and chemical and salts from the road. I’d also stay away from gathering near large commercial farms since they use lots of chemicals. I found a few nice stands of wild asparagus, but they’re in a ditch right by a field that they spray with sewer sludge, so no wild asparagus on our plates.

Do you harvest any foods from the wild? What’s your favorite wild food to eat?

Susy can also be found at Chiot’s Run where I blog daily about gardening, cooking, local eating, beekeeping, and all kinds of stuff. You can also find me at Simple, Green, Frugal, Co-op.

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It is easy to incorporate whole grains in baked goods.  This month I have been trying to use them in more creative ways.  Here is a recipe I tried this week that my family just loved!  But what’s not to love about barley in soup?

1 Onion, chopped

4 stalks Celery, diced

1 Cup of chopped greens (we used spinach)

3 cloves Garlic, minced

1/2 pound fresh mushrooms sliced

Oil

1/4 Soy Sauce

1/2 Cup Organic hulled Barley

Water

In large pot combine the onion, celery, garlic and mushrooms and saute in oil for 5 minutes.  Add barley and soy sauce, and 5 Cups of Water.

Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 to 3 hours.  Salt to taste, Pepper too if you like!

Serve with a good homemade crusty bread…yum!

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Last week I posted about the shiitake mushrooms that we grow at our place. Although they do look mighty pretty, we really grow them to eat. One of our favorite ways to eat any mushrooms is in Broccoli Mushroom soup, or, as I like to call it, “THe World’s Best Mushroom Soup”. You know, honestly, one could really call it the World’s Best Soup and be truthful. My kids even like it. When I was a kid, I didn’t like any sort of soup and certainly not any soup with broccoli and mushrooms.

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(dried whole)

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(dried chunks)

Anyhow, once we harvest our mushrooms, we dehydrate them. It’s pretty easy…you can dry them in slices or whole in an oven on low heat or with a typical dehydrator. Some folks even dry them on a rack in open air. They smell a bit like “dead” when they are drying but afterwards, they have little odor. Anyhow, once dried, they keep for a long time. We throw ours in a mason jar and just cover it with a lid.

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When it’s soup time, you need to rehydrate the mushrooms. Just soak them in water for an hour or so (often times less). Once they are rehydrated, they are just plain old mushrooms to use as you normally would.

So, on to the soup…

The World’s Best Mushroom Soup!

2 Tbsp margerine or butter
3/4 cups onion chopped
1 oz package egg noodles
2 cloves of garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
8 oz sauteed mushrooms
1 1/2 cups chunked cooked chicken
6 chicken boullion cubes, 6 cups water
6 cups milk
1 lb velveeta (cut into 1 inch cubes)

Saute onions and mushroooms in butter. Add water and boullion cubes. Heat to boiling and disolve cubes. Gradualy add noodles and cook for 5 minutes. Add broccoli and cook for 4 minutes. Add milk on low heat. Add cheese and cook until cheese is melted. Add chicken and garlic. Continue stirring until cheese is smooth but do not boil.

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This stuff freezes well and may be reheated by adding a little extra milk!

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Warren can also be found at My Home Among the Hills writing about the adventures of life in WV.

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Grow your own Mushrooms!

I have always loved mushrooms. When I was a kid, my Grandpa got one of those “Grow Your Own Mushrooms” kits in the mail. The terra cotta pot in which they were to be grown was shaped like a mushroom and had that funky sort of look that everything in the 70s had. Now grandpa had no intention of growing the “special 70s mushrooms”, but his setup would have made one wonder. Anyhow, he wanted a handful of button mushrooms so he set up the kit and did everything he was instructed to do…but he got no mushrooms.

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I always figured that since Grandpa couldn’t grow mushrooms, it must not be possible by the common man. I settled for buying mushrooms at the grocery store and ordering extra mushrooms on my pizzas. But there is just something not quite right about store bought mushrooms compared to fresh ones…sort of like everything.

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Fast forward a few years to present. I found a friend that also loves mushrooms and has been growing her own for years. We talked some and it turns out that it is incredibly simple to grow mushrooms.

First, you’ll need to order mushroom spawn from a reputable online source. One of the best sources is probably Fungi Perfecti. They have all sorts of spawn that can be purchased so pick what you like. I grow Shiitake. Anyhow, once you get your spawn (it will be a container of sawdust which contains the spawn), you’ll need a few logs cut to lengths about 3-4 feet. Hardwood logs are best for Shiitakes so I got white oak logs approximately 4-6 inches in diameter.

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Using a 3/4 spade bit, I drilled tons of holes in each log. I spaced them 6 inches or so apart across the entire surface of the log (I also burned up a drill doing this so don’t push too hard and take breaks!). In each hole, I packed the inoculated sawdust and sealed each hole with melted beeswax. I have bees so beeswax is easy for me to get, but you can also any food-grade wax to seal the holes.

The logs should be thrown out back and ignored for about a year. I set my logs on bricks to keep them out of the dirt. You can set them upright or lay them down in a stack. Make sure that the logs get plenty of rain and absolutely no attention whatsoever. If all goes well and the stars align properly, you’ll have mushrooms in a year (actually, I don’t think it is that complicated). Logs of the size I mentioned should fruit for several years if you give them the proper amount of inattention!

I’ll post again later about what to do with the abundance of mushrooms you’ll get when your logs fruit. You’ll probably have more than you can use so you’ll need a plan. Stay tuned for more b.s. (it’s mushroom food afterall!) in a few weeks!

 

Warren can also be found at My Home Among the Hills writing about the adventures of life in WV.

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