So yesterday, my brother and I went and grabbed a ladder and a strainer. Heading out into our back yard, we both stopped to inhale the lovely fragrance of Black Locust blooms wafting down, along with the soothing hum of busy bees. We couldn't wait to get started, as I had never harvested this kind of wild edible! We excitedly set up the ladder (an old roofing ladder of about 12 feet) and attempted to climb it. I found out pretty soon that this tool was unstable, so my enthusiastic brother ran and grabbed a stand-up ladder. I was soon high up in the evening breeze, and picking clusters of white flowers, being careful to not get poked with the notoriously painful thorns. As I dropped clusters of these beauties down, my brother gently picked them up and placed them in the colander. When we thought that we had enough, we headed back to the house. As soon as my sous chef tried one, though, he ran outside and picked a good deal more, eating every single one. I carefully, but thoroughly washed each set of precious and fragrant blooms, and put them in a small bowl. Later that night after dinner, I proudly presented the refrigerated flowers, and we all enjoyed this pretty delicacy.
If you want to try some of these delectable "weedy tree flowers," now is the time. They only are good for a week and a half, and are well worth the trouble of taking time to get out there and snatch them up. Only harvest the flowers that have a bright yellow spot on the uppermost petal, as the duller or faded yellow spots on the top petal or wrinkly brown edges mean that they are far gone and will be bitter. If there is a shower of flowers on the ground as if it had just snowed, then you have come too late. When you are harvesting, be VERY careful, as the long spikes that naturally occur as the tree's defense hurt and burn for a long time after the puncture occurs. The flowers look somewhat like a mixture between a sweet pea and an orchid, and have a strong, sweet fragrance. They are all white, except for a slight yellow dot on the upper petal, and grow in clusters somewhat like Wisteria flowers. They taste a bit like vanilla, and have an aftertaste somewhat like a sugar snap pea. My family all really enjoyed them! If you happen to harvest them, they are better when fresh, and do not last very long in the fridge. The bark has pronounced wrinkles, and very harmful thorns as mentioned above. Their leaves grow on one stalk, and are ovular in shape and bright green. These leaves are rather soft and feel smooth. Black Locust trees like growing together in clusters themselves and are very pretty. They make great fence posts as the wood takes quite some time to rot and is extremely hard and strong. To tempt you, here are some identification shoots! (Sorry, could not resist that joke)!
So, today I decided that once again, I would search for the illusive Morels. I am going a little crazy, as friends in Floyd are finding morels, and we've not caught a whiff of them. Maybe we don't have them on our property? So, today my sister and I walked down our field and into the damp, peaceful woods, looking for these honeycomb gems. Little did we know what awaited us in the woods! As we were scouring the leafy forest floor for Morels, I spied a Common Brown Cup mushroom. As we continued our search for Morels, we found more and more of these cup mushrooms and excitedly harvested each and every saucer. Eventually, we decided that it was time to head back home. When we finally came back up through our sheep filled field, we went ahead and separated the ram lambs into a different paddock, as they are beginning to think they are big boys. Then we did our animal chores in a thunderstorm, and came in. Once we were in the house, I turned on the range and fried the chopped mushrooms in butter until fully cooked, as these smooth, dull fungi are poisonous when raw. After eating these mushrooms for our breakfast, my family and I all agreed that these smooth, dull mycelium are edible, but forgettable, so we will likely not try them again, unless someone has other suggestions for their use. In the meantime, enjoy some pictures of Common Brown Cup. Even though we didn't find morels, we're still having a Good Friday!
I have been hunting for Morels... That classic treasured uncultivated delicacy! My siblings and I have been obsessed with these rare treats. It is driving us a little crazy, as we have been on our 57 acre property for 3 years and are still learning all its habits!! So...today, when my brother came running full speed, and told me that he had found some cup mushrooms in our mulch, of course I came running! I studied these fascinating mushrooms, and blew in the middle of them, delighted to watch a delayed spurt of spores come spewing out! I ran and grabbed our best mushroom identification book, and the mushrooms turned out to be Disciotis venosa, also known as Cup Morels! Morels in appearance they are not! I have a lot of fabulous siblings who love to go forage with me, so you can imagine the excitement. Everyone wanted to see these peculiar Cup Morels! Mom said that she was nervous that the book said that they are hard to identify correctly, and that they are somewhat poisonous unless thoroughly cooked. Another day without real Morels. I guess I will have to keep building my other morals??? Bad joke! Sorry! I have mushroom collected for a while, and have a little experience, but I haven't found any convincing information on the virtues of Cup Morels. They do have a faint smell of chlorine, as the book said they would, and are by the edge of the woods. Please feel free to share any advice or thoughts. Has any one else tried these? Well, tomorrow is another day in the woods. In the meantime, enjoy some pictures of Cup Morels.
This blog chronicles our very full life here on WoodSong Farm. We will share everything from dog to sheep stories, unique wooly works, to animal husbandry tips we pick up along the way. I hope this helps to give you an idea of what our extended farm family and wooly projects are like, and that we may somehow benefit everyone who reads about our journey.