Introducing the Mycelium Collective.

Mycelium Collective logo and banner with morel mushrooms and mycelium growing in the dirt with plants in the background.

My family is part of the Mycelium Collective, and I am honored to have had the chance to design the website. It is still a work in progress, but check it out at myceliumcollective.org

Nate

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Silver Maple Seeds.

Yesterday while walking with my son, I noticed that almost everywhere we went there were silver maple (Acer Saccharinum) seeds blowing about and littering the ground. I knew it was about time to try a new dish.

A pile of silver maple seeds.
Silver maple (Acer saccharinum) seeds.

I Have always loved throwing maple seeds and watching them spin like helicopters, but didn’t know until this winter that they are edible. Based on my reading and a few personal taste tests, it seems that they can vary in flavor considerably, and that the younger the seeds the less astringent tannins they tend to contain.

We went to a friend’s house for super last night. He has several relatively small open grown silver maples in his back yard. I had tried one raw a couple weeks back, and it was fairly good. I tried another one last night and it was barely edible raw. Anyway, I gathered a small bag on the helicopters to take home.

Today I shelled all of the seeds as I played with my son. He enjoyed it immensely, and I found it to be a pleasant task, a little time consuming, but not hard at all.

I boiled them in three changes of water to get rid of the astringency and added butter and salt.

A small plate of boiled silver maple seeds.
A small plate of boiled silver maple seeds.

They were pretty good by themselves, somewhat similar to soybeans, and made an excellent addition to the spaghetti sauce that we were also having for supper. I will definitely be harvesting more silver maple seeds and trying some of the other species of maples.

Nate

* My photos and text are meant to inspire you and help you learn to recognize new plants (and occasionally mushrooms and other woodland creatures), but they are not meant to be used to identify these species by themselves. I try to always reference where I get my information, but for more recommendations check out my “resources” page.

Hunting Morels With a Friend.

This is my second year hunting morels, if you want to read about my 1st experience, check it out here.

We moved across town last fall, so it is a longer walk to get to the woods where I like foraging. I can’t just walk across the back yard to get there, so I don’t get to check my spots as often as I would like. That being said, I have been making sure to check my morel spots from last year every couple of days. I figured with such an early spring, that they would appear several weeks earlier than last year. That did not turn out to be the case.

Today, after finishing up designing the cover for my friend Dave’s 1st solo album (I’ll plug it in a couple weeks), I asked if he would drop me off at the woods on his way home, and that if he wanted to, he could come along to check one of my morel spots.

We walked down the main path, ducked under a tangle of thorns and branches, and headed down to a little flat area, next to the creek, behind a small colony of ostrich ferns.

After looking my spot over pretty well I said “I don’t think we are going to find any today”.

Dave said “Why don’t we keep looking”

I said “I know this spot pretty well, and I don’t think there is anything here”.

I headed a little way down, picked some honewort (Cryptotaenia canadensis), and showed him some identifying characteristics.

He was in a time crunch, so we started to head out. We walked around on the gravel by the creek. As we walked past my spot, a beam of sunshine shone down through a dead branch laying some leaves, sand, and gravel right on the bank of the creek and reflected off of a beautiful little morel.

Photo of morel growing in sand and gravel next to a creek.
A morel (Morchella spp.) growing in sand and gravel next to a creek.

We looked around, found another one right next to it, and realized that I had actually knocked a tiny one over while leaving the honewort patch.

I picked one, cut it open to verify its identity, and let Dave take it home with him while I stayed to look for more. I only found one more that wasn’t in real good shape, so I picked one of the nice one’s for myself, and headed to the other morel spot nearby.

I found a decent amount at the next spot, but most of them didn’t look as nice as the ones last year. They were smaller, and even ones that were a little past their prime, were still halfway under the leaf litter. I wonder if the dryer weather this year could be responsible for that. Anyway, I picked a small handful and started to head out.

A handful of morels in the kitchen.
A handful of morels in the kitchen.

As I ducked to get back to the path, I caught my forehead on a low hanging branch. It wasn’t a bad cut, but did bleed pretty well.

After leaving the woods, I walked down a road that I figured my wife (Becca) and son would be driving home on after work. When they stopped to pick me up I said “Well, I’m bleeding from the head, but I found what I was looking for”. Becca said “Morels?”.

There was great excitement when I said yes, but a little less fanfare when I managed to burn them as I prepared diner.

I would love to hear anyone else’s morel hunting exploits,

Nate