Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Found Food: Cauliflower Mushroom

We found a really great fungus over the weekend, a cauliflower mushroom (Sparassis sp.). My copy of the book Mushrooms Demystified calls it both "edible and exceptional."

The mushroom, which doesn't look much like either a mushroom or a cauliflower, was growing at the base of a tree.



Up close, it was beautiful.



Of course, as members in good standing of the Mushroom Club of Georgia, we harvested the mushroom and brought it home to cook. My books all mention that

1. cleaning this particular fungus is not easy, and
2. cooking it so that it eventually becomes tender takes a while.


The books are right. I finally decided that a few little bark bits and dirt specks wouldn't hurt us, and that, even tough, this fungus was indeed exceptional. The texture was, as Joe pointed out, a little like "mushroom jerky," but the flavor was outstanding. I will definitely be looking for more of these!

8 comments:

  1. Mushrooms as a rule "freak me out", but this one is gorgeous!

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  2. I don't think I've ever been freaked out by mushrooms, but I certainly wouldn't have harvested any wild ones for eating before I joined the Mushroom Club. Safety is important!

    What's really interesting is how different some of the wild mushrooms taste in comparison with grocery-store mushrooms. The flavors are not at all alike, and I am pretty sure that the ones I've brought home from the woods are Much Better.

    However, I never bring home mushrooms that have gills; it is too easy to kill yourself with a poisonous look-alike. I stick with the kinds that, in a worst-case-scenario of mistaken identity, will only give us upset stomachs. So far, our tummies have been fine!

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  3. Well,this is something new for me ..thanks for sharing it...

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  4. Yeah--who would have guessed that something that looked like that was not just edible, but actually delicious! Isn't mother nature a hoot?

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  5. I have some of these mushroom spores, but I need some advise how to grow them. Please could someone help me? - Carolyn (carolynkempe@yahoo.co.uk)

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  6. Carolyn,

    I have no idea how to grow these, but I know that this one grows on wood. The book "Mycelium Running" contains a lot of information on "growing your own" and may be of some help. One of my friends grows oyster mushrooms on old phone books, and he learned how from that book. Maybe you can find a copy at the library?

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  7. Jeffrey, I think that this particular fungus would make some very chewy pierogies, but they would be tasty. Thanks for the link to the mushroom-culture supplier! -Amy

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