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Mushroom foraging in Tennessee.

COUNTRYSIDE: I have been enjoying COUNTRYSIDE for more than 30 years.

I enjoyed the "Mushrooms and more" article in the Nov./Dec. issue. I have been hunting wild mushrooms for many years, and the mushrooms in the picture are the Hen of the Woods, which appear under oak trees that are dying--usually aged trees. Under the Black Oak is the most likely spot to find them. This is one of the great mushrooms of the world. It is called a "Carene" mushroom in Italy and is savored by Asians. This mushroom will appear in the southeast in September, October and November, depending on how much moisture we get. You will find the mushroom at the base of the tree or on the roots. You can freeze, dry or can them.

You can derive a lot of pleasure in hunting wild mushrooms. I would like to convey what I consider the ABCs mushroom hunting.

First of all, purchase a book on mushrooms--I suggest the National Audobon Society Book on Mushrooms. It will give you detailed information on how to make a spore print, etc. There are so many wonderful mushrooms that are safe to collect, you need not take a chance on any mushroom that is questionable.

In the Cumberland Mountains the first mushrooms appear in April when the oak leaves are the size of a squirrel's ear. The Morel mushroom is one of the first--and hard to find--but worth the effort. In May and June you can find the Oyster, Sulfur Shelf, and Bolette mushrooms. In July you will find the little orange Chanterelle (it has a peppery taste) and the Fawn mushrooms. You can also collect the Meadow mushroom, but you need a spore print because it looks like the Death CUP, which is poisonous. The Meadow mushroom has pink gills and the Death Cup has white gills, so be careful. The Hen of the Woods will end the season in November.--Floyd T., Tennessee
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Title Annotation:Country conversation & feedback
Author:T., Floyd
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Jan 1, 2005
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