July was Wet

According to the US Weather Service, July has the highest average monthly rainfall at the Knoxville Airport. It HAS been wet ,and we’re finally above normal for the year. The result has been mushrooms out the whazoo!

bicolotI’ve guided several private forays, and the clients found plenty of edibles as well as a great variety of other species. I went to one spot where I usually find a dozen or so Boletus bicolor, and there were hundreds there. The picture shows the limited number we picked due to National Park rules on limited harvest. They were delicious dipped in egg wash, then a crushed pecan/flour coating and fried in clarified butter.

Speaking of eating, I marinated some more Lactarius corrugis (earlier post) using that ratio of 1 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup mild (rice) vinegar. I took it to a pot luck, and it was well received. It’s a good way to go.

IMG_6353In the “things along the way” category, I collect box turtle shells in varying condition during my bushwhacking. I also see at least one live turtle every time out it seems. This week, Ellen and I saw something quite different. Two turtles were hung up.  A male (red eyes) had its rear foot captured by the closed carapace of another turtle, sex indeterminate.

Turtle #2 was on its back and mucus was oozing out IMG_6354around turle #1′s foot. Using a knife as a pry tool we sucesfully separated the two and #1 eventually began to crawl off. #2 was most likely dead, Having observed box turtles mating, my best guess is this was a case of disengagement gone awry. Can anybody out there offer a better scenario?


IMG_6253I’ve been wanting a good chanterelle picture, and fortunately Ellen was with me yesterday. I think this one is typical of what we’re been finding around here.

Found a small rotted lobster mushroom Monday in a patch I go to. I think it’s drying out enough in the pine woods that they may be coming up any day. I’ll be checking every 2-3 days.

What’s a Holler ?

(click on pix to enlarge)



Some say a holler is a mispronounced “hollow”, but I believe “holler” was the original. It’s the space between two ridges and folks would holler, in sequence, from one ridge to the next – sort of a primitive auditory telegraph. A portmanteau would be an audiograph. In any event this is a picture of Joe climbing out of the holler we had gone down. ChantsTable

When I tell people to look in the hollers for Appalachian gold, here is what it looks like.

Marinated Lactarius

By the middle of July, foragers should be finding a fair number of edible members of the  Lactarius genus (see my August 2012 post). Here’s another way to prepare them, according to Theresa Rey Oursler in the Asheville Mushroom Club cookbook. I adjust the recipe to fit how many mushrooms I have. Note the ratio of oil and vinegar – pretty sour, so adjusting toward a typical vinaigrette mix of 3 oil to 1 vinegar may be something you want to try. Also, rice wine vinegar is milder.

Marinated Lactarius

2 lb Lactarius mushrooms quartered (L. volemus, L. corrugis, L. hygrophoroides)
1/4 c lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 cup white vinegar or red wine vinegar
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
3 cloves garlic – crushed
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried dill or basil
1/2 tsp mace

Place the mushrooms in pan and cover with water. Add lemon juice; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5-10 minutes. Drain and discard liquid. Bring remaining ingredients to a boil in a separate pan; remove from heat. Pour hot marinade over mushrooms; cool to room temperature. Cover and store in refrigerator, mixing occasionally, Serve cold.