This blog of mine focuses on Japanese cooking.
Hiroyuki, mushroom picking spots are always secret ;-) Otherwise some other mushroom amateurs discover them and one has to look for new ones! I have never tasted oyster mushrooms grown in the forest. I suppose they must be 100x better than the farmed ones. These were really huge!
Sissi: I think that the flavor of wild mushrooms is mistakenly exaggerated. Our wild mushrooms taste exactly the same as cultured ones. Besides, wild mushrooms can taste much worse than cultured ones depending on how old they are. And, one big disadvantage of wild mushrooms is that they have to be washed meticulously with water (or salty water) to get rid of dirt (and any worms that may hide in them), which will remove some or much of the umami components from the mushrooms!
This is the biggest mushroom I have ever seen. I found huge parasol mushrooms (カラカサタケ) once in a while but never this size. I have shown your picture to some friends and they also never thought it would be possible for a oyster mushroom to grow this big.Funny, I found huge piles of oyster mushroom in the middle of the city near the ministry of environment. Some years ago they planted new trees (city greens). They used some shredded wood to keep the soil moist. One year later the soil was cramped with oyster mushrooms growing on the shredded wood pieces. I did'nt pick any. The air was too polluted due to traffic and I don't want to know how many dogs visited the trees.
Kiki: My daughter found this tree two years ago, as I mentioned here:http://hiro-shio.blogspot.com/2009/10/miracle.htmlMy son found oyster mushrooms growing again on this tree last year, as I mentioned here:http://hiro-shio.blogspot.com/2010/11/miracle-again.htmlI hope we can get more next year!Dogs?! Yes, that's what I often think when I collect butterbur sprouts (fukinoho ふきのとう, フキノトウ, 蕗の薹) in spring.This year is really a bad one for wild mushroom hunters because of the high levels of radioactive cesium emitted from the crippled nuclear power plant in Fukushima. The levels are twice as high as the normal ones here in Niigata. In Fukushima, where the levels are high, the selling of wild mushrooms has already been banned.
What sort of tree was it growing out of? When I pick them on the west coast of Canada, they usually grow from bigleaf maples (Acer macrophyllum), and usually in the spring. Mushroom picking seems very different in the mountains of Japan!
bigbadchupa: Wisteria (fuji in Japanese) according to my son. He says that oyster muchrooms can also be collected in spring.
Reading about your mushroom hunting I thought about the risk of cesium intake too but did'nt dare to mention it. We still have high cesium 137 readings in wild mushrooms found in bavaria 25 years after chernobyl (and caused by chernobyl). But I've read most of the cesium released from the fukushima power plant was blown over and washed into the sea. So maybe the situation is not as bad as 25 years ago in europe and russia, where the released radioactive material went with the wind and came down with the rain - over southern germany for example. But in germany there are no significant data on health issues found. It seems to be not really that terrible dangerous to eat even polluted wild mushrooms once in a while. Bavarian mushrooms readings: 11670 Becquerel (Bq) / kg dried porcini mushrooms last year.
Hiroyuki, I have always found farmed mushrooms easier to handle (no worms and no dirt as you say), but I was sure the wild ones tasted better! Now I will only buy wild mushrooms which can't be farmed (many mushrooms cannot be grown apparently, like for example my beloved chanterelle). I have heard that mushrooms are the "best" irradiation keepers in the world of nature... And, as Kiki says, it goes on for dozens of years, while vegetables and fruits seem to get rid of it earlier.
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