Monthly Newsletter

NEWSLETTER June 2019:

Greetings all! I’m starting this newsletter to feature some of what is growing out in the forest this month and what you can expect to see on my walks. As a side note I do scout out several trails for each walk and try to pick the best one with the most mushrooms and plants that are out. However it’s no guarantee we will see all of what I feature but it’s always possible! So lets get to it; Spring is an exciting time but is one that requires patience for the mushrooms. Morel season is done for the year but this month is the beginning of some of the best mushrooms such as Chicken of the Wood, Wood Ear, Pheasant Back, Reishi, Oyster, Umbrella Polypores, Berkley Polypore, Birch Polypore and Turkey Tail. Some less popular ones are Fawns or Broad Gilled mushrooms. Also in the mushroom family is the beautiful Ghost Pipe.

As far as plants go it’s wide open. Fiddleheads are still around, ramps have about passed but still may be out there. Edibles such as Trout Lily, Violets, Dock, Dead Nettle, Chick Weed, Wild Ginger, Bear Corn, Day Lilies, Clover, Garlic Mustard, Plantain, Cressy greens and Nettles are some of the goodies. Medicinals such as Solomons Seal, Yarrow, Heal All, Squaw Vine, Trillium, Pipsissewa, Rattlesnake Plantain, and Blue and Black Cohosh are in full swing.

And that’s just some of what we might find! The forest always gives surprises.

This month I’m highlighting Wood Ears and Nettles:

Wood Ear mushrooms are tasty medicinal mushrooms. Recently a fellow vendor at the market told me these mushrooms are super popular in the Philippines. In that region they grow much larger than here.  They are rich in protein, iron, fiber, and vitamins B1 and B2. They are best sautéed or stir fried. They are members of the Jelly Mushroom family. Here’s a recipe for Wood Ear: https://www.hwcmagazine.com/recipe/how-to-prepare-wood-ear-mushrooms/

Stinging Nettle is also a tasty treat. This plant is big in our area, especially at Warren Wilson College where they have been known to make a delicious soup out of it. Nettles are best in younger leaf form. You need to get the stingers off first, here’s a recipe on how to prepare and cook them:  https://www.thespruceeats.com/sauteed-stinging-nettles-2217561  The stingers are actually great for joint pain, simply by taping the plant on the painful area, it can be itchy and sting but it works! I advise wearing gloves and using scissors when collecting them.

Enjoy! I will feature more Mushrooms and Plants next month.

Places to find me….

I work out of my home in Asheville, North Carolina where I do all my Chaga and other medicinal mushroom processing and packaging. All my products are handmade and foraged locally. You can find my products at the French Broad Food Co-Op, Half Moon Market in Black Mountain, Mountain Sage in Hendersonville. Besides those places you can find me at the East Asheville Tailgate Market from 3-6pm on Fridays and the Black Mountain Tailgate Market on Saturdays from 9-12. Last year I have added the Yancey County Market in Burnsville, vending there once a month, that market runs from 8:30-12:30 and this year I’ll be at the Weaverville Tailgate Market on Wednesdays from 2:30-6 at least twice a month. I can be reached for an order anytime on my contact page or by phone, I ship or meet people locally. I also offer mushroom and plant tours throughout western North Carolina, areas including: Asheville, Black Mountain, Old Fort, Burnsville and Brevard. I also do private house visits!

Chaga is one of the most beneficial medicinal mushrooms known to man. It is known to lower blood pressure & cholesterol, fight cancer cells, boost immunity, support vitality, aide in digestion, decrease blood sugar and so much more! -“Mushroom of Immortality” -“Gift from God” -High antioxidant Superfood containing many vitamins and minerals for optimal health -Enjoyed hot, cold, or in a tincture. – Excellent for adrenal health -Aides in healthy skin and nails -So much more! . . You can purchase Chaga tinctures or jars of chunk/ground Chaga at the Guild. . . We support Blue Ridge Chaga Connection!
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Making Tea

Now that you found and foraged or bought some mushrooms to make a tea, how do you it? Well there are a million ways to do anything right, over the years I have done a lot of research, watched a bunch of videos and found that recommendations for making teas from medicinal mushrooms varies quite a bit.

To start with let me give some advice on foraging wild mushrooms. Reishi for example molds very quickly, so drying them completely is essential. My chosen method is to place them on their back, cap down, in the sun. This way the mushroom absorbs additional vitamin D. However if time is an issue or cloudy weather, dehydrating works or opening your oven door, placing the mushrooms on the open door and putting your temperature on low is effective.

Reishi Tea: The best research I have found on making Reishi tea is to use 2 tablespoons of dried Reishi pieces per 4 to 5 cups of water. Simply add mushrooms to water and bring to a boil and then turn down so the tea simmers for 2 hours. The tea will be reduced pretty significantly. There you have it. Reishi tea has a strong, bitter taste. Some like this, for those that don’t might I suggest using lemon, ginger, honey or green tea as an additive.

Here’s a few recipes I found: https://purejoyplanet.com/recipes/medicinal-mushroom-tonic-tea/

Reishi Golden Milk Nightcap

Reishi Elderberry Tea

This wonderful tea is a staple during the Winter months. Most herbs can be found at local natural food stores, or online.

  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp Reishi mushroom tea
  • 1 tbsp dried elderberries
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 slice astragalus root (optional)
  • Honey to taste

Add all ingredients in small pot on the stove. Heat on medium-high until the tea reaches a slow, rolling boil. Turn the heat down to low and simmer for 10–20 minutes (the longer it goes, the stronger it gets). Turn off heat and strain. Add honey or sweetener for taste.

Turkey Tail Tea: For Turkey Tail tea the same ratios apply, so 2 tablespoons per 4 to 5 cups. Add mushrooms to water and bring to boil, then lower to a simmer for an hour. Turkey Tail has a strong mushroom flavor so the same additives can be added. Turmeric can be a nice add in as well.

Recipes:

Turkey Tail and Turmeric Tea

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup chopped turkey tail mushroom
  • 5 cups purified water
  • 2.5 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • ½ teaspoon local honey
  • 1 drop lemon essential oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Chop the turkey tail mushroom into small pieces and add to a large pot of water on the stove.
  2. Bring the water to a boil, then simmer for an hour.
  3. Strain the mixture through a colander. Add a ½ teaspoon of fresh ground turmeric and the honey and stir.
  4. Add the lemon essential oil and stir again.
  5. That’s it — time to drink!

If you’d like to add additional flavor, almond milk, one drop of cinnamon, ginger or lemon essential oil, or stevia are good options.

Feel free to add the rest of your turmeric to your leftovers while it’s still warm since it’s easier to blend, and keep any leftovers in the refrigerator. You can then reheat or serve chilled or on ice. —- Dr. Axe

Chaga Tea: Making Chaga tea is a bit different. You could once again use the same measurements of 2 tablespoons to 4-5 cups of water, I make bigger batches to be able to drink for days. So I double the amount, 4 tablespoons per 2 qts of water. Bring water with Chaga added to a high simmer, 150 degrees if you have a thermometer, or small rolling bubbles if you don’t. It’s important to not boil the Chaga for the first two batches, as it lessens the medicinal qualities. On the third batch bring it a hard boil to extract anything left in the Chaga. Chaga chunks or powder can be used three times before discarding! Chaga tastes good by itself and is neutral in flavor, it can be earthy at times. I like to add fresh ginger, turmeric or licorice roots and a touch of honey.

Recipes on the web: https://www.jesselanewellness.com/recipes/chaga-mushroom-tea-recipes/

Chaga Lemonade:

  • 3 cups cold chaga tea
  • 2 fresh squeezed lemons
  • 2 tablespoons honey/maple syrup
  • fresh berries
  • 1 tablespoon lavender
  • 1 tablespoon fresh mint

Mix together in a pitcher, chill and serve

Reishi- Ganoderma Lucidum-Ling Zhi

Reishi mushroom is considered the queen of medicinal herbs, and is often known as the mushroom of immortality. It’s history is long and extensive, especially in Chinese medicine. Reishi is undoubtedly one of the prettiest mushrooms I have seen. In our region it grows abundantly, mostly on Hemlock and Pine trees. It grows from spring to winter. It’s hard to mistake this mushroom for any other. When young the white and yellow outside bands are edible and can be quite tasty. The whole mushroom is highly medicinal. In a lot of research it is said the stems contain the most concentrated values, but no doubt the whole mushroom is packed with medicinal goodness.

Reishi has been used for centuries in medicine making . One of my favorite facts about it’s history is that monks have consumed it to deepen meditation practices. Reishi has a powerful calming effect on both mind and body. It is regarded as an ‘herb of spiritual potency’. In Chinese folklore it was believed to bring people back from the dead and traditionally was given from a woman to a man to show interest.

Reishi health benefits:

Protects against:

  • inflammation
  • fatigue (including chronic fatigue syndrome)
  • frequent infections (urinary tract, bronchitis, respiratory infections, etc.)
  • liver disease
  • food allergies and asthma
  • digestive problems, stomach ulcers and leaky gut syndrome
  • tumor growth and cancer
  • skin disorders
  • autoimmune disorders
  • diabetes
  • viruses, including the flu, HIV/AIDS or hepatitis
  • heart disease, hypertension, high blood presure and high cholesterol
  • sleep disorders and insomnia
  • anxiety and depression
  • kidney disease

Overall Reishi promotes great health and longevity while reducing the risk of life shortening conditions. There is infinite research published about this powerful mushroom. Reishi feeds the three treasures- Jing, Chi and Shen- mind , body and spirit!