Wild letter #1 December 2021


Here is Agata from Meadow Lab, after some years of planning it is finally time to start my wild letters. I will be sending this letter once every month with tips about wild plants and mushrooms that are in the season or about fermentation.

You are receiving this letter because you participated in one of my courses about wild edible plants or fermentation. If this are not your interests any more sorry for bothering you, use link in the email to unsubscribe.

Short and dark days of December are a great time to get outside and explore nature around you. Just remember to take warm clothes and maybe a basket or bag for picking mushrooms. Yes, winter is a great time for picking mushrooms, when most of the plants are in winter rest, some of the mushrooms have their best time of the year to grow and fruit. If you are new to picking mushrooms,  and get a bit overwhelmed by the myriad different autumn varieties, winter is a great time to start because there are only a few species out there. 

Here are two of them:

  1. Pleurotus ostreatus, the oyster mushroom, Ostronmussling/ ostronskivling

You probably are familiar with  this mushroom,  it is widely cultivated and you can easily find it in the produce department of your supermarkets. You can also find it growing wild. November and December is one of the best times to go look for wild oyster mushrooms. They are growing on dying hardwood trees (most often on birch, beech or aspen), you can also find them on stumps from cut trees and  broken tree trunks. Whenever I walk in the broadleaf forest, I stop by to check all the fallen trunks. Often they appear in large clusters. You can prepare them as you would do with cultivated oyster mushrooms.  You could confuse them with late oyster mushrooms, Panellus serotinus,  with slightly greenish cups and orangish-to-yellowish gills. No worry here late oyster mushrooms are also edible but can be tough and rubbery. 

2. Enoki (Flammulina velutipes), also known as winter mushrooms or velvet shank 

Cultivated enoki mushrooms which are popular in Japanese cuisine, white, long skinny mushrooms almost noodle-like attached together in bundles. Cultivated enoki are grown in a dark environment with an increased amount of CO2, which makes them look completely different from the ones you can find growing wild. 

Wild enoki or velvet shank as they are called grow in clusters on standing dead wood or diseased living trees. (often beech, willow) They  have caramel to orange coloured caps( size 2 to 6 cm across) , which are somewhat darker towards the centre and are often distorted because of neighbouring caps in the cluster. The stem is ringless, tough and covered in a fine velvety down. Usually pale near the cap, the stems often turn brown towards the base.

This mushroom starts to produce fruit bodies after the first frost and continues fruiting through the winter.

They look similar to several other species, however confusion is unlikely as their growing season rarely overlaps. 

Only caps are edible, stems are too hard, so discard them. Cooked or fried mushroom gets a bit slippery yet firm texture and sweet, mealy flavour that works well in stir- fries and stews. 

Events in December

Grow your own tempeh – workshop

5th December 2021, Malmö

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Ferment your vegetables – workshop

11th December 2021, Malmö

read more

Gift cards for WILD EDIBLE PLANT WALKS IN 2022

If you are looking for an idea to give someone an unusual and special gift, check it out.  Sale of tickets is open! WILD EDIBLE PLANT WALKS in Malmö and Linderöd.  The season for walks starts in april 2022 and finishes in October 2022.  

walks in Malmö

walks in Linderöd