Today at dusk my husband and I went for a walk. It’s the same walk we do every single day with our dog, a routine 2 mile loop on our road that takes us to Evergreen Valley and back home. Easy, pleasant, and scenic, it first follows the huge bog known as Little Pond and then passes an old abandoned golf course, a spring house, and two streams. We grabbed a couple of succulent apples growing from abandoned trees along the road. And then I stopped. “Look! up on the oak tree!”
There on the trunk of the oak, about 6′ up from the base, was a large deep golden mushroom. It looked like a cross between a cauliflower and a human brain. “I think that might be edible!” I cried. “Let’s cut it off!” So using a branch from the ground, we sawed off the mushroom from the tree, and carefully brought it home. It weighed about 1.25 lbs.
I know nothing about mushrooms, and obviously one must be very careful about eating them until you can be sure of their identity, lest they be poisonous and possibly fatal. Fortunately there is a Facebook group called Maine Mushrooms where you can submit photos, and many people in the group have the expertise necessary to identify hundreds of types of mushrooms.
“Chicken of the Woods!” people wrote. “Score!” “One of the most delicious mushrooms out there!” “Enjoy!” “Good find!”
I promptly sliced it, seasoned it, and sauteed it in a cast iron pan. The verdict: possibly the tastiest mushroom I’ve ever eaten! It had the texture of tender chicken, and the taste was very light and delicate, kind of a cross between chicken and mushroom.
It was really a thrill for me to find it and then be able to harvest it and eat it. Thank you God for providing us with such a wonderful food!
How I love the Maine woods!
P.s. if you don’t see any new blog posts within the next month, assume I was mistaken about identifying this mushroom correctly and that you are ready my final blog entry like… forever 😉