Chaga fungi

Inonotus obliquus. clinker polypore, cinder conk, black mass and birch canker polypore. Or natures gift  

 I pick a massive amount of mushrooms/fungi but until this weekend I’ve never had the pleasure of finding my own chaga , I’ve been given good blocks of chaga from friends and have enjoyed many good cups of chaga infusion and people who know me have at one point or another had to put up with me talking about finding my red list which chaga is in the top five ( not particularly rare item just ones that I have yet to find ).

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How I’ve used my foraged food pt2 

Well I’ve been having a pretty fantastic few months busy as a bee but an extremely happy one at that the mushroom season has had a great start giving me some fine hauls of prime edibles and some great meet ups with some fellow foragers but the most exciting prospect was receiving the proof of my book ‘ A foragers lunch , actually holding a accumulation of my ramblings was undoubtedly a massive buzz. 

I’ve wanted to have a stab at a book for a while and writing about my number one skill ( looking after my belly ) seemed to be the obvious route to take and now I’m really close with a release date of February  – March of next year I’m really excited just one last fungi to find and include and I’m done .

So here’s some more of my efforts of utilising wild ingredients into my lunch that hopefully will spark your own imagination .  

  Mussels and cod in a white wine and wild thyme sauce with blanched samphire. 

 Salty seaweed bisque served with egg noodles and a fennel seed crusted bass fillet & crispy seaweed
 Sea sandwort & smoked bacon joint soup seasoned with hogweed & Alexander seeds  
  
Haw berry & spruce pollen pancakes with wild strawberries and birch sap syrup and elderflower 
   Bath asparagus with pennoni pasta in a truffle sauce .
   Pan fried king prawn in a wild ginger and wall pepper sauce with purslane , sandwort & arrow-grass 
  Scollops on fairy ring champion with grilled hogweed bud 
  Weeds , herb coated cod fillet and wonderfully citrusy fried spruce tips.
   Filo parcel is full of St. George’s with a wild thyme and cream sauce 
  
Salted and flaked mackerel with a filo wrapped creamed St. George and thyme parcel with garlic flowers 

   
  St George and sea veg pasta parcels with wild garlic and honey drizzle 

  Seabeet and mixed seaweed quiche laced with blue cheese 

  Crayfish on a wild garlic and elfcup base 
   Trout on hogweed shoots, elfcups and glistening inkcaps severed with bread and radish pesto  

   Coastal veg frittata with foraged spring salad with a balsamic and truffle oil dressing 

  Fillet steak served with Chanterelles & Fairy ring Champignons in a truffle and blue cheese sauce  
  Scallops & black pudding with sauteed hogweed buds , dryads saddle and oak leaf crisps 

  mixed wild mushroom and smoked bacon pies with a oak smoked / wild sage cheese sauce  
  Roadkill pigeon on a sweet and sour compote of summer fruits  

   Roadkill rabbit with chanterelles mixed wild herbs & @edenwildfood s ash key pickle  

  Hogweed and wild thyme puff pastry squares with a sirloin roll with chanterelles ,purslane and sea beet  

 A chaga chocolate tarte , acorn and chaga base with a chaga and cocoa filling  

Seaweed and crab cakes with crispy fried bullrush root  

  Campfire venison and wild mushroom stew 

 Deep-fried reindeer moss with hedgehog fungi sea salt and crushed alexander seed toped with thyme .

Solomon’s seal , A gift from god 

  My pet hate when researching a wild plants medicinal value is when a plant has a virtual library of medicinal uses that are confusing to say the least it can be very a off putting even to the point of a complete disbelief in any practical use at all and determining the realistic and effective uses can be quite a task Solomon’s seal is probably the exception to the rule it has numerous medicinal uses each of them holding impressive results . 

My first thoughts on Solomon’s seal was it’s almost alien in appearance in comparison to most woodland plants and is stands out quite predominantly it’s single arched stem with alternate leaves that have heavy parallel veins 

  it  is elegant and stands tall and is one of the few plants that is able to poke above the vast carpets of ramsons . 

 

Each plant shoots a single stem , this produces the leaf , flower and seed the flowers hang like small bells from the joint of each leaf I have observed numbers varrieing from one to three  

  
 These then change into green berries that turn a deep purple ,

The berries of Solomon’s seal are Not edible and should not be eaten .

  

Unlike many wild roots these are almost always easy to harvest and the long trailing root is generally found only a few inches under the soil they are fleshy light in colour with the scar from the previous years stem in intervals along the root this is sometimes reefered to as the seal . 

 

It’s the root that is centrally important on all levels and undoubtedly most important is the method from which harvesting is practiced , each seal on the root is a representation of above ground plant growth I have what I call my home patch of plants that I have been harvesting for a few years you may think that being the aim of harvesting is the root that a patch could easily become deminished quickly but in truth with a very small amount of effort your patch can increase quickly simply half each root once dug cutting between two seals then half one peice again and replant the two small peices,  next year these will re-shoot and produce plants quite happily . 

Getting to grips with a plants medicinal uses that has been referred to historically as ” a gift from god ” can be an exciting process solomans seal has some fantastic every day applications that can be used without risk ,

The root of Solomon’s seal is not toxic in any application , both internally or externally 

Solomon’s seal first really hit my radar as a good alternative to arnica which is widely used by herbalists throughout the world to treat damage to bones and surrounding tissue and itself is a fantastic healing plant unfortunately it is not a plant that grows wild in the south of England so I as I often do I looked for wild alternatives and was far from dissappointed by Solomon’s seal . 

The root is dried before making a salve to dry the root in a effective way thinly slice the root and dry . 

It is applied topically and unlike a lot of herbal medicines this includes on broken skin , cuts and grazes and has a soothing and healing effect on all of the above it also has fantastic healing ability on connective tissue and tendon damage  , this is why medicinally it is referred to as a adaptigenic herb , 

Adaptigenics , in essence are balancers adding or reducing needed factors such as heat , tightness , luberacation ect

 as it connects with the damaged area on a cellular level and assess the required help needed individually in essence it communicates with the body and gives help as required a real intelligent medicine , using both the salve and the tea in treatment of any musculoskeletal ailment especially all types of inflammation and due to it’s ability to aid the body’s natural lubricatation of dry and damaged joints it’s particularly good for arthritis .

musculoskeletal covers injury’s or problems with bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and cartilages.

Without doubt my most used tincture is Solomon’s seal , mullien leaf and golden rod it seems joint pain is something we all have to look forward to in our more mature years on several occasions I have substituted the golden rod for marestail when the bone is damaged with possitive results . The tea has a host of listed medicinal uses from immuno stabilisation to infection prevention to gastric balancing I’m going to cover the uses I’ve used with possitive effect firstly using the tea as a expectorant 

Expectorant : is a medicine that can effectively thin and breakup mucus buildups that cause congestion 

It works very well one thing I will say is be prepared to cough and spit the mucus once it is lose , the build up of the mucus itself is the base that bacteria can grow and Inturn create infection , coupled with solomon seals antibacterial qualities expelling the flem / mucus is key in rapid treatment of congestive ailments , I have found it unrivalled in effectiveness when treating dry and iritating throat and coughs  , 

The tea is best made from half a tea spoon of dried seal root per each cup of water and where possible leaving the root to seap for a 12 hr period to gain maximum medicinal effect will drastically increase your treatments effectiveness , 

I recently offered a good friend Solomon’s seal root tea combined with white dead nettle blossom to try and help with painfull menstral cycles 
No comericial pain relief had been able to calm what was explained as heavy and painfull , I hold high regard for using Solomon’s seal root tea in this way as a person who was very negitive towards herbal medicine in fact a complete cynic towards it’s applications has now requested more on several occasions and openly shares her new found respect for natures healing gifts . 

Id love to hear of any personal experiences of use in any applications effective or not .

How I’ve used my foraged food 

Foraging in my eyes engulfs a huge umbrella of hobbies and skills from botany , mycology , medicine , photography , preserving , brewing , making vinegars and general cookery and though I enjoy many of the above it still is an undeniable fact the the number one goal inevitably is to provide us with food . 

One thing that becomes quite apparent is that the most successfull foragers have a equal passion for food experimentation and are continually searching for exciting new flavours and textures within wild ingredients but what really gets my attention is when the most abundant and commonly found wild ingredients are used in a way that pushes previous culinary thinking . Continue reading

Wild edible roots , Digging for tatties .

Foraging continues to be publicised as a new craze something practiced by media provoked chefs and middle classed yuppies looking to be in with othe cool kids , this I find personally quite disrespectful , in my experience the process can mean a lots of different things to the person foraging and fill a vast array of purposes and recently I see it more and more being used as a real way for people to simply live as practiced in history and with the cost of living being so high and the sad realisation that many affordable foods are rammed with chemicals and modern day nasty’s foraging offers a accessible way to present your family with a tasty and nutritious range of edibles . Continue reading

Winter salads , A celebration of winter greens

It’s a funny time of year many foragers completely focus on the autumn winter offerings of the fungi kingdom we can become obsessive in our search for our favourite edible mushroom or enthralled by the chase of a elusive mushroom that one we don’t seem to be able to add to our list of edible finds that we completely ignore some of the offerings that flora still holds throughout the winter months .

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Getting to know the drunken nudest , The blewits

The wood blewit or blue leg a fantastic winter edible mushroom , apparently the word blewit is derived from old English meaning ‘blue ‘ random as the blewit is defiantly purple maybe lilac but blue ? Ok it’s probably not important but it often enters the crazy musings of this forager . Continue reading