Over the past few years I have noticed a very distictive mushroom growing at the base of our neighbor, Ed's Oak tree. Last year Ed tried some of this mushroom as he was told it may be edible (and I thought so too) and called us the next day to say the mushroom was delicious and he was still alive to tell us about it. Please, if you are foraging for mushrooms for the first time ~ take your harvest to someone who can positively identify what you have picked and don't use yourself as a guinea pig.
This year Ed is down in Portland, ME while his mushroom has grown over the last week. Mark called him up yesterday and asked if we could harvest it. Ed said "go ahead but freeze some for me". Well, we harvested two from the same tree a 25 pound "Hen of The Woods" mushroom and a smaller 5 pound "sister" mushroom. We had these this morning sauteed with a mixture of our chicken and duck eggs scambled and they were great. This evening I made an old fashioned cream of mushroom soup with some raw jersey cream and milk from Olde Sow Farm ~ fabulous.
We froze the smaller mushroom for Ed and bagged up the rest for our freezer. Hen of the Woods is really one of the only mushrooms that can be frozen raw. I put up 18 2 lb bags of mushrooms for this winter (along with our chantrelles).
This mushroom is also known as "Mitake" and is not only a superb culinary gourmet treat but also boasts medicinal traits as well. It is reputed to stimulate the immune system in various ways. Google the mushroom and you can find out more about it.
We have enough meals to get us through until the next harvest in the fall...
Buy local . . . . forage. . . . and eat well.