Foraging for Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus species)

chicken-of-the-woods-border

Chicken of the woods is an easily identifiable and safe mushroom to start your mushroom seeking adventures.

This mushroom is in the Laetiporus genus, of which there are 2 or 3 species in North America; namely Laetiporus sulphureus having yellow pores, and L. cincinnatus having white pores. The pore surface, opposed to gills, is a very important characteristic of the underside of mushrooms.

This beautiful and relatively easy mushroom to identify is amazing in a stir fry, baked, breaded and fried, and can be sautéed just as one would prepare chicken. The texture is similar, and it can be a good replacement in any recipes that call for chicken.

One of the main factors in safely identifying this mushroom against several other bright orange mushrooms is that it grows directly on wood. This means that when you find it, you should look to see that it is orange and fan shaped, has a porus underside, and is growing out of wood directly. Otherwise, it can be one of many other mushrooms, some of which can be poisonous.

chicken-of-the-woods-border-2Ethical and sustainable harvesting of all mushrooms is important, and although there is some debate among mycologists, it is generally recommended to remove the tender part of the mushrooms with either a knife, or by hand, and in the case of chicken of the woods, by breaking off the fans, but not necessarily removing the entire base. Often on chicken of the woods everything but the fans are very woody and inedible, while this can be used for stock, the real gem is in the soft succulent tips, which break off like the texture of chicken.

One main issue in their edibility is people harvesting it once the mushroom is dried out. In most climates without high humidity, you really only get 3-4 days after the rains to get fresh mushrooms. After that, mushrooms quickly become bug hotels.  This may be one of the factors of why a select few people can get digestive upset eating this mushroom. This is easily avoided by only eating a small amount to see first how you’ll react to it, and this is especially important for children. I’ve also heard that chicken of the woods growing on evergreens can be an issue for some peoples digestive systems; although this may be a rumor from mistaking poison hemlock (Conium) for the edible and medicinal hemlock tree (Tsuga sp.) of which there is no relation, other than their common name. I have never even seen this mushroom grow on any evergreens. Look for them on downed oak and maple as the bark peels off.

chicken-of-the-woods-border-undersideAlso, medicinal mushroom research has also shown that chicken of the woods is also medicinal and is active against staph, ” All strains demonstrated antimicrobial activity against a wide spectrum of gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria during agar and submerged cultivation including methicillin-resistant strain of Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and glycopeptide-resistant strain of Leuconostoc mesenteroides.” – Check out more about their medicinal aspects at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12741318 

Here’s a video on ethical and sustainable harvest in a tongue-in-cheek “zen” way:

Happy Foraging,

Dandelion

Check out more videos at the Return to Nature Youtube Channel

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and Return to Nature on Instagram: Instagram/returntonature

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Water is Life – Help Standing Rock Reservation

#waterislife #noDAPL 

It turns out that water is priority over oil. We can easily replace oil technology as an energy source, but you cannot replace water. 

Remember this in the coming years as corporations try to make us dependent on them for the most basic human rights. 

It’s time to stand and say no!

Use the hashtags: 

#noDAPL #Waterislife #standingrock

Do what you can to stand with the native brothers and sisters at #standingrock who are fighting for all of us for clean water and less pipelines. 
There are supply lists, as well as herbal remedies supply chains headed their way to keep up the pressure.

“When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you – pull your beard, flick your face – to make you fight. Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humor.” – John Lennon

Here is a website with a call for solidarity actions as well as insight into what is happening: 

https://itsgoingdown.org/call-solidarity-actions-nodapl-september-3rd-17th/

Important Message from Keeper of Sacred White Buffalo Calf Pipe. – Cheif Arvol Looking Horse:

https://ravenredbone.com/2016/08/27/important-message-from-keeper-of-sacred-white-buffalo-calf-pipe-chief-arvol-looking-horse/

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This Weekend – Classes in Princeton, NJ

plant walkHey Foraging Friends! Foraging the East Coast Continues with another weekend of Princeton Classes.

This weekends upcoming classes includes Foraging for Wild Plants and Mushrooms – Princeton NJ this Saturday, and The Yoga of Plants: Ayurveda, Alchemy, and Herbalism – Princeton, NJ Sunday! RSVP to Dan@Returntonature.us for meeting location!

Then, the following weekend, September 2-4, I’m headed to Ananda Ashram in Monroe, NY to teach a weekend retreat: Fall Foraging and Herbalism Retreat at Ananda Ashram

 

Please help spread the word!

Update on help Dan get a Van Plan: A Huge thanks to all who have donated so far! So far we have raised about half of what it looks like I’ll need to build my forager van, feels like a great start! Check out more about the Forager Van Project at Help Dan Get A Van!

Ananda Ashram Foraging Class

Hope to see you there !!!

Love,

Dandelion
www.returntonature.us

Instagram: Returntonature

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Pokeweed Preparation in 21 Minutes! – New Video

Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) is a controversial but medicinal and sometimes edible plant, depending on how correctly it is prepared. This plant can be VERY poisonous and shows up often where people don’t want it to grow, BUT, it has every right to be in north america, as the species name indicates. It IS a native plant!

In this quick video I show you one of the easiest ways to prepare it, ***with the caviat that for food, you MUST pick the young shoots only, that are under 12 inches tall and only take those shoots which have no reddening on the stem. This means that poke is only able to be harvested for food for a small window of time.

 

And remember, all wild foods, always be careful when trying any wild food, eat a small amount first to make sure you have a. prepared it correctly, and b. that you wont get a unique allergic reaction.

Check out lots more herbalism and foraging articles, videos, and upcoming classes at:

Facebook: Returntonatureskills
Youtube: Returntonatureskills
Instagram: Returntonature

Plant Love,

Dandelion

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“The Yoga of Plants” – Live Class at The Inner Warrior

Here’s a look from the “Yoga of Plants” workshop at The Inner Warrior in Loiusville, KY, where I gave a talk on determining constitutions of wild herbs by taste based on Ayurvedic constitutional principles and webcasted it live on the Return to Nature Facebook page.

The Yoga of Plants: Learn the foundational practices to apply Ayurvedic constitutional principles to intuit and understand herbal properties and their effects on the body through your own ability to taste wild plants!

If you appreciate this class, and want to see more webcasts, please help cover expenses for doing so. You can make any donation through paypal to Dan@Returntonature.us

Also, check out lots more foraging and herbalism articles, videos, and upcoming classes on

Instagram: Returntonature

FB: Returntonatureskills

and Youtube: Returntonatureskills

Plant Blessings,

Dandelion

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Wisdom of Wineberries – Foraging for Local “Invasives”


Today we went exploring one of my favorite patches of wineberries. Said to be an invasive plant, I encourage everyone to cross compare that with the idea of shipping the equivalent berry from across the US or even worse, foreign countries with less-than-optimal employment situations.

It is an odd culture indeed that targets a local food source as something to get rid of, and to spray toxins on, then to happily go to a grocery store and buy an sub-par replacement, which is often frozen for shipping, always accompanied with tons of fossil fuel burning, and is old and therefore the antioxidant value has gone down. 

This is extremely revealing to what has become of the distorted survival instinct of the human. And how hard corporations have been at this game of disconnecting us from our local ecology, and local food sources. 

To recap, in case anyone is confused, berries are not dangerous terrorists and therefore do not need to be targeted and eradicated. I personally can think of several other solutions, and I’m sure you can as well.

What if, for example these local patches were managed and maintained by the local townspeople who saw it fit to pick berries from their local environment instead of feed into the delusions of corporate exotic agriculture.

If you would like another solution, how about raising children in a nature based way and teaching them of the local abundant wild resources. If we eat the wine berry, since most people prefer to poop in their county drinking water supply, the seeds will not reproduce. This would drastically reduce the numbers of seeds being sent to the environment. 

Perhaps this would be an aspect of humans fulfilling their current ecological purpose, and would help caretake and manage local ecology which would rebirth a transition out of exoticised capitalism into a local cottage industry which rebuilds community, connection, and localizes dollar spending.

I forsee that with more research done, we will realize that ecology is compensating for human disconnection, and that humans don’t need to fight nature, but return to nature. 

Plant blessings,

Dandelion

Check out more on Fb: Return to Nature

And Instagram: Return to Nature

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Foragers Broadcast – Episode 11 – Foraging Agaricus Mushrooms 

Heres a quick video shot during my Foraging Herbalist Mentorship, where I took students on a mushroom forage.
https://youtu.be/66Vn8gr3HHo

In this video, I share a look at some key identification points in identifying edible vs inedible mushrooms of the agaricus genus. 
This genus of mushrooms is where the common store-bought “white button mushroom” comes from, but they are a lot tastier and much more fun to find in the wild.

 The rules mentioned in this video only apply to this genus, and not all mushroom species. And remember, always get all mushrooms checked out and properly identified by an expert before trying to consume them. 

Check out the whole Foragers Broadcast series at: Foragers Broadcast 

Plant Love, 

Dandelion

instagram: Return to Nature

FB: Return to Nature

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Summertime Herbal Goods Package

Summer Blessings, Plants Friends!

In celebration of the season, we’re offering a limited edition “Summertime Herbal Goods” package: 


Each package will be carefully and lovingly handmade to order with prayer and the healing power of plant magic!  
 

Price: $57.00 (Includes $7 USPS priority mail shipping) which includes our 9 oz. Summer Soother Tea Blend, 2 oz. “Bug Out” Spray – Organic Insect Repellent, and our 4 oz. Raw Organic Maca Chocolate, and Our 4 oz. Elderberry Elixir

To order send $57 total via PayPal to Dan@returntonature.us. Please include your shipping address in the notes section so we know where to send it!

Only 8 of these limited edition packages are available…don’t miss out on the magic!!

Please visit our online herbal apothecary and bee in touch for custom requests! 

Return to Nature Herbal Apothecary
Much Love,

Dandelion and Lauren
Check out Return to Nature on:

Instagram: Returntonature 

Facebook: Return to Nature Skills

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Fermentation + Kombucha Workshop – Part 13 – Sprouting, Sustainability, and the Language of the Body

Hey all!

Heres the 13th video in a series teaching the class entitled “Fermentation and Kombucha: Culture Your Health” at NOFA NJ Winter Gathering in January 2015. 
Fermentation + Kombucha Workshop – Part 13 – Sprouting, Sustainability, and the Language of the Body

Continuing in this series, we discuss, “why I soak my nuts” and the conversion of anti-nutrients into enzymes as well as ideas for an ecologically sustainable diet, and ways that the body talks to us.

To see the playlist for this video series click here: Fermentation and Kombucha 

Lots more videos, articles, and upcoming classes at www.returntonature.us and our facebook page: Return to Nature 
Plant blessings, 

Dan De Lion

Instagram:Returntonature

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Foraging Herbalist Mentorship 2016


Registration Closes on May 14th – Beginning this May of 2016, I’ll be taking another group of students for a year-long training intensive program. This mentorship will be a deep culmination of the last 2 years trainings and represents a well-rounded practice of living “off-grid” and on your own ingenuity and skillset.
This will be the third year that I will be running a year-long mentorship to systematically teach each student to work in depth with diverse plant based skills that are essential for nomadic hunter gathering pathways. Each student, among getting to know the plants inside and out, will also progressively be brought to a state of camping “self-reliance” and have the ability to go anywhere and wildcraft food and medicine.  
I have picked 4 awesome campground locations all in New Jersey which are all around 2 hours radius of central NJ.
Scheduled Meeting Dates: 
Shelter – May 20-23 – Develop your own camp site, learn to camp and refine backpack gear, first aid kits, car packing, identify and forage edible and medicinal spring plants.
Fire – July 8-10 – Once the gear and camp is easily set up, we will practice and discuss the intricacies of different firemaking aspects, including understanding firemaking techniques for different ecosystems and weather patterns, what can be harvested off of the landscape, and cooking and food preparation, This will be interspersed with plant walks, observation of growth patterns of differing plants and trees.
Water – September 9-11 – Wild water harvesting, purification techniques, and ways to track landscapes for acquiring drinking water, mushroom identification and hunting aspects, and herbal medicine making and preserving aspects.
Food and Medicine – November 11-13 – this is the time when camping becomes colder and gear becomes refined, learn to condition your body and dress appropriately, to keep and maintain fire, to prepare foods on fire, and to make medicinal preparations from the plants we have gathered throughout our adventure. There will likely be wildcrafted mead to celebrate a beautiful year together. 
To learn more or to register, email Dan@Returntonature.us 
Plant Blessings, 
Dan De Lion

Return To Nature

www.returntonature.us

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