Scientific name Bondarzewia berkeleyi. Anyone who has ever seen this giant parasitic/saprophytic mushroom may be interested in Michael Kuo’s description on Mushroom Expert, especially how it affects its host.
Although the Berkeley polypore can become bitter with age, when young like this one it has very tender tips. My friend Chef Seth at Echo Bistro in Knoxville uses the ones I give him to simmer up a wonderful mushroom stock. Maybe that is due to his last name, Simmerman. This is also true of the “black-staining polypore” we usually forage earlier in the summer.
Don’t pass these by.
Last week Derek got one pound of lobster mushrooms from a patch we hunt. Yesterday afternoon I headed out to a different area where there are a number of patches. Two were producing, and I got four pounds. They were well hidden, but once I saw the orange, I was able to see the needle humps I had passed by. It’s much easier finding lobsters if you are in an area you KNOW produces. Only three of the mushrooms were turning spotty red and going bad (left them), and quite a few were small, so this should be the beginning. Going back on Thursday to my favorite patch – only found ONE there Sunday. Maybe the tennis-ball sized Sparassis crispa I left will be bigger.
So, get out and keep an eye out for lobsters. Around here I find them around pine – white pine or Virginia pine, but mostly Virginia pine mixed with a few hardwoods.
A cute Fairy Fan (Spathularia velutipes). I don’t see them much. On pine twig.
Lactarius corrugis is showing up, but chanterelles haven’t recovered from the dry spell. The good news is that wild blue berries are ready to pick. Look for them.