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Community is autumn s wild food healthy and good for the environment  | Newsletter Lifestyle

Is Autumn’s Wild Food Healthy And Good For The Environment?

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by: Simon Grey
is autumn s wild food healthy and good for the environment  | Newsletter

Autumn is an exciting time. Not only for cycling, running and photo’s like we wrote in our last NewsLetter but also for food and what you can find in nature. There is plenty to find, of course depending where you live. Healthier food choices almost always benefit the environment as well.

Autumn’s Wild Food

Autumn is a fantastic time to forage. With the end of the summer growing season, after everything has been blasted with sunshine, there are lots of exciting options for good eats to be found without us having to cultivate a thing. We just need to get better at responsibly taking advantage of what nature has to offer.

Foraging requires both a knowledge of what can be found, as well as the drive to go out and find it. For enthusiasts, there are books upon books of edible wild plants, but for novices, these can be absolutely overwhelming. The trick for getting started with foraging - and Autumn is an awesome time to do it - is to tackle only a couple of plants at a time. Before long, both forests and fields will seem like smorgasbords.

For now, get together a basket or something to carry the bounty in, a sharp knife or scissors for harvesting, and some decent shoes for clambering about. Here are some great Autumn finds for getting started with foraging.

Picking mushrooms

Autumn’s Wild Food: Mushrooms

Mushrooms are probably the most terrifying thing to forage because we all know that there are poisonous ones out there. While this is something we definitely shouldn’t forget, that isn’t to say that we shouldn’t - even as beginners - go out in search of wild mushrooms. We just need to use caution, some common sense, and readily available information.

What is a mushroom considered?
A mushroom is neither a fruit nor a vegetable; technically mushrooms aren't even plants. They are a special type of fungus a notion that puts some people off. If you don't mind the fungus part, though, mushrooms are a great addition to a healthy diet not to mention totally delicious.

There are some great websites to help identify mushrooms, as well as become aware of what’s on the go in your area at any time of year. These can be used to spur the hunt for particular types of mushrooms, choosing ones that are easy to find and identify.

Recommended: Sustainable Fashion: Fungi, Roots From MycoWorks, Inspidere

Edible Wild Mushrooms And Some Not To Touch



                                                                  Mushroom Foraging for Beginners

Throughout history, people around the world have foraged wild mushrooms for food. Gathering wild mushrooms can also be an extremely rewarding and interesting hobby. However, those who do it must proceed with the utmost caution.
Though many wild mushrooms are highly nutritious, delicious, and safe to consume, others pose a serious risk to your health and can even cause death if ingested. For this reason, it’s critical to only hunt mushrooms with someone who’s highly experienced at identifying both edible and poisonous mushrooms.

Hen-Of-The-Woods

Hen of the woods

Grifola frondosa, commonly known as hen-of-the-woods or maitake, is an edible mushroom that’s a favourite of mushroom hunters.

Growth

Hen-of-the-woods is a polypore a type of fungus that has small pores covering its underside. They grow on the bases of trees in shelf-like clusters, favouring hardwoods like oak. These clusters resemble the tail feathers of a sitting hen hence the name ‘hen-of-the-woods’. Several hen-of-the-woods may grow on a single tree.
This mushroom is native to China but also grows in Japan and North America, especially the northeaster United States. They are not common in Europe. It’s a perennial mushroom and often grows in the same spot for many years.

Identification

Hen-of-the-woods are grayish-brown in colour, while the underside of the caps and branch-like stalk are white, though colouring can vary. These mushrooms are most commonly found in the Autumn, but they can be found less frequently in the summer months as well. Hen-of-the-woods can grow quite large. Some mushroom hunters have scored massive mushrooms weighing up to 50 pounds (about 23 kg), but most weigh 3–15 pounds (1.5–7 kg).
A helpful clue when identifying hen-of-the-woods is that it does not have gills, and the underside of its cap has tiny pores, which are smallest at the edges.
Don’t eat older specimens that are orange or reddish in color, as they may be contaminated with bacteria or mold.

Hen-of-the-woods is often favoured by beginner mushroom hunters. It’s distinctive and does not have many dangerous look-alikes, making it a safe option for novices.

Nutrition

Hen-of-the-woods are quite nutritious and particularly high in the B vitamins folate, niacin (B3), and riboflavin (B2), all of which are involved in energy metabolism and cellular growth. This mushroom also contains powerful health-promoting compounds, including complex carbohydrates called glucans. These mushrooms may have cholesterol-reducing, and anti-inflammatory properties. Hen-of-the-woods have a savory, rich flavour and are delicious when added to stir-fries, sautés, grain dishes, and soups.

What are the benefits of mushrooms?
Mushrooms are packed with nutritional value. They're low in calories, are great sources of fiber and protein (good for plant-based diets). They also provide many important nutrients, including B vitamins, selenium, potassium, copper, and (particularly when exposed to the sun) vitamin D

Oyster Mushroom

Oyster mushrooms on tree

The oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) is a delicious edible mushroom that resembles an oyster in shape and is commonly sought after by mushroom hunters.

Growth

Oyster mushrooms grow in forests around the world, including throughout North America. These mushrooms grow on dead or dying hardwood trees like beech and oak trees. They can sometimes be found growing on Autumnen branches and dead stumps. Oyster mushrooms decompose decaying wood and release nutrients into the soil, recycling nutrients to be used by other plants and organisms in forest ecosystems. They can be found during the spring and Autumn months in the Northern United States and year-round in warmer climates.

Identification

Oyster mushrooms grow in clusters resembling shelves on dead or dying hardwood trees. Depending on the time of year, the tops of the oyster-shaped caps of these mushrooms can range from white to brownish-gray and are typically 2–8 inches (5–20 cm) wide. The undersides of the caps are covered with tightly spaced gills that run down the stubby, sometimes non-existent, stem and are white or tan in colour.
Oyster mushrooms can grow in large numbers, and many different clusters can be found on the same tree.

Nutrition

Oyster mushrooms have thick, white, mild-tasting flesh that contains a variety of nutrients. They are particularly high in B vitamins, including niacin (B3) and riboflavin (B2), as well as the minerals potassium, copper, iron, and zinc. They also contain powerful anti-inflammatory plant compounds.

Oyster mushrooms are excellent sautéed with onions and garlic as a side dish. You can also add them to soups, pastas, and meat dishes.

Sulphur Shelf Mushroom

Sulpher Shelf Mushroom

The sulphur shelf (Laetiporus sulphureus) mushroom is also known as chicken-of-the-woods or chicken mushroom. It’s a bright orange or yellow mushroom with a unique, meaty flavour.

Growth

Sulphur shelf mushrooms grow on hardwood trees in North America and Europe. These mushrooms can either act as parasites on living or dying trees, or derive nutrients from dead trees, such as rotting tree stumps. Sulphur shelf mushrooms grow on trees in shelf-like clusters. They are commonly found on large oak trees and typically harvested during the summer and Autumn months.
It should be noted that sulphur shelf look-alike Laetiporus species exist. They grow on conifer trees should be avoided, as they can cause severe allergic reactions in some people.

Identification

Sulphur shelf mushrooms are typically orange or yellow in colour and grow in overlapping shelf-like clusters on hardwoods, such as oak, willow, and chestnut. The caps of the mushroom are fan-like or semi-circular in shape and typically 2–12 inches (5–30 cm) across and up to 8 inches (20 cm) deep. The sulphur shelf does not have gills, and the underside of the caps is covered with tiny pores. This mushroom has a smooth, suede-like texture and yellow-orange colour, which fades to a dull white when the mushroom is past maturity.
Many sulphur shelf mushrooms may grow on a single tree, with individual mushrooms growing heavier than 50 pounds (23 kg).

Nutrition

Like most mushrooms, sulphur shelf mushrooms are low in calories and offer a good amount of nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium. They have been shown to have antifungal and antioxidant properties. Sulphur shelf mushrooms should be eaten cooked not raw. You can bring out their meaty texture and hearty flavour by sautéing them with butter, adding them to vegetable dishes, or mixing them into omelettes.

How can you tell if a mushroom is safe to eat?
Avoid mushrooms with white gills, a skirt or ring on the stem and a bulbous or sack like base called a volva. You may be missing out on some good edible fungi but it means you will be avoiding the deadly members of the Amanita family. Avoid mushrooms with red on the cap or stem.

Recommended: Mushroom Recipes

Poisonous mushrooms to avoid

Though many wild mushrooms can be enjoyed safely, others pose a threat to your health.

Never consume the following mushrooms:

Death cap (Amanita phalloides). Death caps are among the most poisonous of all mushrooms and responsible for the majority of mushroom-related deaths worldwide. They grow in many countries around the world.Death Cap
Conocybe filaris. This mushroom grows in Europe, Asia, and North America and contains the same toxins as the Death cap. It has a smooth, cone-like cap that is brownish in color. They are highly toxic and can be fatal if ingested.
Conocybe filaris
Autumn skullcap (Galerina marginata). Also known as the ‘deadly Galerina’, autumn skullcaps are among the most poisonous of mushrooms. They have small, brown caps and grow on rotting wood.
Autumn Scullcap
Death angel (Amanita ocreata). Related to the death cap, the death angel grows along the West Coast of the United States. This mushroom is mostly white and can cause severe illness and death if eaten.
Amanita Ocreta
False morels (Gyromitra esculenta and Gyromitra infula). These resemble edible true morels, making them especially dangerous. Unlike true morels, they are not completely hollow when cut.
False Morels

Fruits: Autumn’s Wild Food

What fruits are found in the forest?
The most common types of forest fruits are berries, such as blackberries, serviceberries, lignonberries, elderberries, blueberries. Wild plum, pawpaw and hardy kiwi are other forest fruits of interest.

Though all of those lovely summer berries will have come and gone, lots of fruits produce their bounty in the Autumn, and depending on where we are, there is every bit of a possibility of stumbling upon wild varieties of these fruits. We just have to learn to harvest a bushel or two and make the most of the season.

Apples are probably the number one Autumn time harvest, and these are often in neighbourhoods or areas where people have left a mark. Crab apples tend to be the wilder option. Persimmons and prickly pears are both reaching readiness in the autumn. In some areas, wild grapes will be producing tasty bunches, either for snacking or making jelly. Elderberries are also a possibility in Autumn.

'Go Nuts'

Nuts are a great find on a forage because we can usually identify them without much trouble, and they are fairly common in the wild. Unlike any other foraged food, these will bring a good helping of calories and healthy fats to the bounty, which is a welcome thing for a plant-based, foraged feast. Autumn is the best time to find nuts.

What are nuts considered?

A nut is a fruit composed of an inedible hard shell and a seed, which is generally edible. In general usage, a wide variety of dried seeds are called nuts, but in a botanical context ‘nut’ implies that the shell does not open to release the seed (indehiscent).

There are lots of options to keep an eye out for, and some of these will definitely depend on location. Walnuts start in late summer and can be found into the middle of Autumn, at which time chestnuts are coming on in abundance. Pecans are late Autumn additions, and gingko nuts are available throughout the autumn. Acorns are usually present around October, and they’ll require some processing.
Tree nuts are tasty, healthy and can be obtained for free. If you are willing to forage, then a bounty of food awaits you in the trees. Harvesting nuts does require patience. You need to identify the best trees, wait for the nuts to drop and check for ripeness. Once you have tapped your inner squirrel and gathered your nuts, they will need to be cleaned, dried, or husked (or all three) before they are ready to eat.

Though it is not the easiest task, nut harvests are rewarding in the end. It is a fun project for the family.

Black Walnuts

Black walnuts

Black walnuts are housed inside yellowish-green and brown husks (similar in colour to pears) that are about two inches in diameter. They are further housed inside a tough shell that is dark black.

Harvest Time 

September and October

Harvesting 

Allow walnut husks to Autumn from the tree. Remove the husks and cure the nuts before storing. Black walnut produces a mild toxin and husks should not be disposed of in your yard, garden or compost.

Chestnuts

Chestnuts

Chestnuts are dark brown in colour, smooth in texture, are pointed at one end and have an oblong spot on the opposite end that is light brown. They are housed inside a spiny burr, which turns yellowish-brown and opens when the chestnuts are ready for harvest.

Harvest Time

September through December

Harvesting

Allow chestnuts to Autumn from the tree. Gather nuts with open burrs and remove burrs. Wear gloves to protect yourself from the spines.

English Walnuts

English Wallnuts

English walnuts are housed inside a greenish-black hull. They are further housed inside a tan shell. The nut itself is light brown to golden-brown.

Harvest Time

Late August through October

Harvesting

Allow nuts to Autumn to the ground or lay out a blanket and shake the tree. Check a few nuts for ripeness first. Remove husks with gloved hands, or they will stain. Rinse, inspect and dry the nuts

Pecans

Pecans

Pecans are housed in a brown oval to an oblong shaped shell. The meat itself is brown in colour and possess two-lobes.

Harvest Time

Mid-October through November

Harvesting

Allow nuts to Autumn to the ground or shake the tree. Inspect pecans for damage or worms. Air dry for two weeks before

Acorns In Autumn Become The Next ‘Superfood’

Acorns

The humble acorn has long been ignored. That could all be about to change. In South Korea, acorns have achieved ‘superfood’ status, with people devouring ‘acorn noodles, jelly and powder’. Native Americans relied on acorns – rich in nutrients – as a staple part of their diet. They are farmed in China and South Korea, and often ground into flour. Many cultures make acorn ‘coffee’. They are rich in protein, fats, fibre and essential minerals.

Recommended: Acorn Recipes

For some people life revolves around acorns. These people produce cookies made from acorn flour. Protecting oak trees, and planting more, could help tackle the climate crisis and that acorns are good for food security because they can be stored, squirrel-like, long-term.
Now is the perfect season. You might think to head off to the woods, but go to parks, gardens and golf courses. The acorns Autumn on to clean, short grass, which makes them easier to collect than rooting through leaf litter.

Getting them ready to eat, takes a little bit of work. You need to shell them first. If you’re working small-scale, you could just slit them with a knife and pop them out of their shell. With bigger harvests (remembering to leave enough for wildlife), Drennan likes to dry them – you can do it on a radiator or spread out in a warm room – before sandwiching them between two sheets and getting some friends round to dance and stamp on them. Then you should leach them to get the bitter tannins out. Put them in a porous sack and stick them in a toilet cistern. That can take between two and six weeks, as the quantity of tannin can be variable. Don’t mix batches from different trees, even if they’re the same variety because they can have different tannin levels.

Then they can be roasted, or ground for coffee or flour. You can make an acorn chocolate cake. More commonly, put it in bread, or tagliatelle with it. They taste, nutty, a bit earthy. There’s a kind of density to it.

Leaves

Foraging wild greens is amazing because they are crazy abundant and can be used in just about every meal. No surprise, the springtime is usually more revered for foraging greens, but that isn’t to say that autumn doesn’t have any to offer. In fact, as the summer heat dissipates, there are some herbs that are ready to leaf out again.

Greens, like mushrooms, do require a bit of caution, as there are some toxic possibilities that are better left unexplored. Part of playing it safe is not harvesting from polluted areas, such as alongside highways or dumping sites. The other part is researching a little and double-checking once a potentially tasty leaf has been found. Again, go for the easy-to-identify stuff first.

Here are five easy Autumn finds: 

Chickweeds with white flowers

  • chickweed
  • dandelion
  • plantain
  • sheep sorre
  • wild mustard greens

With just a few of these, it’s possible to forage a lot of food for free. Wild foods tend to have stronger flavours and be packed with nutrients. Foraging is a fun thing to do, another reason to get outdoors, enjoy nature, see the Autumn foliage, and make the most of what’s around us.

In other words, Autumn is here, and it’s time to get started!

Before you go!

Recommended: Spider-Woman: Tarantula Staple Food Gets A Snack: Cambodia

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profileimage

Breaking News, as the world changes…

In our world, WhatsOrb refuses to turn away from the changes in our society and environment which succeeds each other at a rapid pace.

For WhatsOrb, publishing on the environment is a priority. We give reporting on climate, nature, waste, lifestyle and sustainable solutions the prominence it deserves.

At this turbulent time for ‘all’ species and our planet, we are determined to inform readers about threats, consequences and solutions based on facts, not on political prejudice or business interests.

WhatsOrb Breaking News will be published as soon as urgent events from around the world and startling sustainable innovations reach us.

If there is anything we should know and publish about, please send a note to: [email protected] or write your own story on: www.whatsorb.comthe only news site which gives you a ‘sustainable voice!’

Is Autumn’s Wild Food Healthy And Good For The Environment?

Autumn is an exciting time. Not only for cycling, running and photo’s like we wrote in our last NewsLetter but also for food and what you can find in nature. There is plenty to find, of course depending where you live. Healthier food choices almost always benefit the environment as well. Autumn’s Wild Food Autumn is a fantastic time to forage. With the end of the summer growing season, after everything has been blasted with sunshine, there are lots of exciting options for good eats to be found without us having to cultivate a thing. We just need to get better at responsibly taking advantage of what nature has to offer. Foraging requires both a knowledge of what can be found, as well as the drive to go out and find it. For enthusiasts, there are books upon books of edible wild plants, but for novices, these can be absolutely overwhelming. The trick for getting started with foraging - and Autumn is an awesome time to do it - is to tackle only a couple of plants at a time. Before long, both forests and fields will seem like smorgasbords. For now, get together a basket or something to carry the bounty in, a sharp knife or scissors for harvesting, and some decent shoes for clambering about. Here are some great Autumn finds for getting started with foraging. Autumn’s Wild Food: Mushrooms Mushrooms are probably the most terrifying thing to forage because we all know that there are poisonous ones out there. While this is something we definitely shouldn’t forget, that isn’t to say that we shouldn’t - even as beginners - go out in search of wild mushrooms. We just need to use caution, some common sense, and readily available information. What is a mushroom considered? A mushroom is neither a fruit nor a vegetable; technically mushrooms aren't even plants. They are a special type of fungus a notion that puts some people off. If you don't mind the fungus part, though, mushrooms are a great addition to a healthy diet not to mention totally delicious. There are some great websites to help identify mushrooms, as well as become aware of what’s on the go in your area at any time of year. These can be used to spur the hunt for particular types of mushrooms, choosing ones that are easy to find and identify. Recommended:  Sustainable Fashion: Fungi, Roots From MycoWorks, Inspidere Edible Wild Mushrooms And Some Not To Touch {youtube}                                                                   Mushroom Foraging for Beginners Throughout history, people around the world have foraged wild mushrooms for food. Gathering wild mushrooms can also be an extremely rewarding and interesting hobby. However, those who do it must proceed with the utmost caution. Though many wild mushrooms are highly nutritious, delicious, and safe to consume, others pose a serious risk to your health and can even cause death if ingested. For this reason, it’s critical to only hunt mushrooms with someone who’s highly experienced at identifying both edible and poisonous mushrooms. Hen-Of-The-Woods Grifola frondosa, commonly known as hen-of-the-woods or maitake, is an edible mushroom that’s a favourite of mushroom hunters. Growth Hen-of-the-woods is a polypore a type of fungus that has small pores covering its underside. They grow on the bases of trees in shelf-like clusters, favouring hardwoods like oak. These clusters resemble the tail feathers of a sitting hen hence the name ‘hen-of-the-woods’. Several hen-of-the-woods may grow on a single tree. This mushroom is native to China but also grows in Japan and North America, especially the northeaster United States. They are not common in Europe. It’s a perennial mushroom and often grows in the same spot for many years. Identification Hen-of-the-woods are grayish-brown in colour, while the underside of the caps and branch-like stalk are white, though colouring can vary. These mushrooms are most commonly found in the Autumn, but they can be found less frequently in the summer months as well. Hen-of-the-woods can grow quite large. Some mushroom hunters have scored massive mushrooms weighing up to 50 pounds (about 23 kg), but most weigh 3–15 pounds (1.5–7 kg). A helpful clue when identifying hen-of-the-woods is that it does not have gills, and the underside of its cap has tiny pores, which are smallest at the edges. Don’t eat older specimens that are orange or reddish in color, as they may be contaminated with bacteria or mold. Hen-of-the-woods is often favoured by beginner mushroom hunters. It’s distinctive and does not have many dangerous look-alikes, making it a safe option for novices. Nutrition Hen-of-the-woods are quite nutritious and particularly high in the B vitamins folate, niacin (B3), and riboflavin (B2), all of which are involved in energy metabolism and cellular growth. This mushroom also contains powerful health-promoting compounds, including complex carbohydrates called glucans. These mushrooms may have cholesterol-reducing, and anti-inflammatory properties. Hen-of-the-woods have a savory, rich flavour and are delicious when added to stir-fries, sautés, grain dishes, and soups. What are the benefits of mushrooms? Mushrooms are packed with nutritional value. They're low in calories, are great sources of fiber and protein (good for plant-based diets). They also provide many important nutrients, including B vitamins, selenium, potassium, copper, and (particularly when exposed to the sun) vitamin D Oyster Mushroom The oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) is a delicious edible mushroom that resembles an oyster in shape and is commonly sought after by mushroom hunters. Growth Oyster mushrooms grow in forests around the world, including throughout North America. These mushrooms grow on dead or dying hardwood trees like beech and oak trees. They can sometimes be found growing on Autumnen branches and dead stumps. Oyster mushrooms decompose decaying wood and release nutrients into the soil, recycling nutrients to be used by other plants and organisms in forest ecosystems. They can be found during the spring and Autumn months in the Northern United States and year-round in warmer climates. Identification Oyster mushrooms grow in clusters resembling shelves on dead or dying hardwood trees. Depending on the time of year, the tops of the oyster-shaped caps of these mushrooms can range from white to brownish-gray and are typically 2–8 inches (5–20 cm) wide. The undersides of the caps are covered with tightly spaced gills that run down the stubby, sometimes non-existent, stem and are white or tan in colour. Oyster mushrooms can grow in large numbers, and many different clusters can be found on the same tree. Nutrition Oyster mushrooms have thick, white, mild-tasting flesh that contains a variety of nutrients. They are particularly high in B vitamins, including niacin (B3) and riboflavin (B2), as well as the minerals potassium, copper, iron, and zinc. They also contain powerful anti-inflammatory plant compounds. Oyster mushrooms are excellent sautéed with onions and garlic as a side dish. You can also add them to soups, pastas, and meat dishes. Sulphur Shelf Mushroom The sulphur shelf (Laetiporus sulphureus) mushroom is also known as chicken-of-the-woods or chicken mushroom. It’s a bright orange or yellow mushroom with a unique, meaty flavour. Growth Sulphur shelf mushrooms grow on hardwood trees in North America and Europe. These mushrooms can either act as parasites on living or dying trees, or derive nutrients from dead trees, such as rotting tree stumps. Sulphur shelf mushrooms grow on trees in shelf-like clusters. They are commonly found on large oak trees and typically harvested during the summer and Autumn months. It should be noted that sulphur shelf look-alike Laetiporus species exist. They grow on conifer trees should be avoided, as they can cause severe allergic reactions in some people. Identification Sulphur shelf mushrooms are typically orange or yellow in colour and grow in overlapping shelf-like clusters on hardwoods, such as oak, willow, and chestnut. The caps of the mushroom are fan-like or semi-circular in shape and typically 2–12 inches (5–30 cm) across and up to 8 inches (20 cm) deep. The sulphur shelf does not have gills, and the underside of the caps is covered with tiny pores. This mushroom has a smooth, suede-like texture and yellow-orange colour, which fades to a dull white when the mushroom is past maturity. Many sulphur shelf mushrooms may grow on a single tree, with individual mushrooms growing heavier than 50 pounds (23 kg). Nutrition Like most mushrooms, sulphur shelf mushrooms are low in calories and offer a good amount of nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium. They have been shown to have antifungal and antioxidant properties. Sulphur shelf mushrooms should be eaten cooked not raw. You can bring out their meaty texture and hearty flavour by sautéing them with butter, adding them to vegetable dishes, or mixing them into omelettes. How can you tell if a mushroom is safe to eat? Avoid mushrooms with white gills, a skirt or ring on the stem and a bulbous or sack like base called a volva. You may be missing out on some good edible fungi but it means you will be avoiding the deadly members of the Amanita family. Avoid mushrooms with red on the cap or stem. Recommended: Mushroom Recipes Poisonous mushrooms to avoid Though many wild mushrooms can be enjoyed safely, others pose a threat to your health. Never consume the following mushrooms: Death cap (Amanita phalloides) . Death caps are among the most poisonous of all mushrooms and responsible for the majority of mushroom-related deaths worldwide. They grow in many countries around the world. Conocybe filaris.  This mushroom grows in Europe, Asia, and North America and contains the same toxins as the Death cap. It has a smooth, cone-like cap that is brownish in color. They are highly toxic and can be fatal if ingested. Autumn skullcap (Galerina marginata) . Also known as the ‘deadly Galerina’, autumn skullcaps are among the most poisonous of mushrooms. They have small, brown caps and grow on rotting wood. Death angel (Amanita ocreata) . Related to the death cap, the death angel grows along the West Coast of the United States. This mushroom is mostly white and can cause severe illness and death if eaten. False morels (Gyromitra esculenta and Gyromitra infula).  These resemble edible true morels, making them especially dangerous. Unlike true morels, they are not completely hollow when cut. Fruits: Autumn’s Wild Food What fruits are found in the forest? The most common types of forest fruits are berries, such as blackberries, serviceberries, lignonberries, elderberries, blueberries. Wild plum, pawpaw and hardy kiwi are other forest fruits of interest. Though all of those lovely summer berries will have come and gone, lots of fruits produce their bounty in the Autumn, and depending on where we are, there is every bit of a possibility of stumbling upon wild varieties of these fruits. We just have to learn to harvest a bushel or two and make the most of the season. Apples are probably the number one Autumn time harvest, and these are often in neighbourhoods or areas where people have left a mark. Crab apples tend to be the wilder option. Persimmons and prickly pears are both reaching readiness in the autumn. In some areas, wild grapes will be producing tasty bunches, either for snacking or making jelly. Elderberries are also a possibility in Autumn. 'Go Nuts' Nuts are a great find on a forage because we can usually identify them without much trouble, and they are fairly common in the wild. Unlike any other foraged food, these will bring a good helping of calories and healthy fats to the bounty, which is a welcome thing for a plant-based, foraged feast. Autumn is the best time to find nuts. What are nuts considered? A nut is a fruit composed of an inedible hard shell and a seed, which is generally edible. In general usage, a wide variety of dried seeds are called nuts, but in a botanical context ‘nut’ implies that the shell does not open to release the seed (indehiscent). There are lots of options to keep an eye out for, and some of these will definitely depend on location. Walnuts start in late summer and can be found into the middle of Autumn, at which time chestnuts are coming on in abundance. Pecans are late Autumn additions, and gingko nuts are available throughout the autumn. Acorns are usually present around October, and they’ll require some processing. Tree nuts are tasty, healthy and can be obtained for free. If you are willing to forage, then a bounty of food awaits you in the trees. Harvesting nuts does require patience. You need to identify the best trees, wait for the nuts to drop and check for ripeness. Once you have tapped your inner squirrel and gathered your nuts, they will need to be cleaned, dried, or husked (or all three) before they are ready to eat. Though it is not the easiest task, nut harvests are rewarding in the end. It is a fun project for the family. Black Walnuts Black walnuts are housed inside yellowish-green and brown husks (similar in colour to pears) that are about two inches in diameter. They are further housed inside a tough shell that is dark black. Harvest Time   September and October Harvesting   Allow walnut husks to Autumn from the tree. Remove the husks and cure the nuts before storing. Black walnut produces a mild toxin and husks should not be disposed of in your yard, garden or compost. Chestnuts Chestnuts are dark brown in colour, smooth in texture, are pointed at one end and have an oblong spot on the opposite end that is light brown. They are housed inside a spiny burr, which turns yellowish-brown and opens when the chestnuts are ready for harvest. Harvest Time September through December Harvesting Allow chestnuts to Autumn from the tree. Gather nuts with open burrs and remove burrs. Wear gloves to protect yourself from the spines. English Walnuts English walnuts are housed inside a greenish-black hull. They are further housed inside a tan shell. The nut itself is light brown to golden-brown. Harvest Time Late August through October Harvesting Allow nuts to Autumn to the ground or lay out a blanket and shake the tree. Check a few nuts for ripeness first. Remove husks with gloved hands, or they will stain. Rinse, inspect and dry the nuts Pecans Pecans are housed in a brown oval to an oblong shaped shell. The meat itself is brown in colour and possess two-lobes. Harvest Time Mid-October through November Harvesting Allow nuts to Autumn to the ground or shake the tree. Inspect pecans for damage or worms. Air dry for two weeks before Acorns In Autumn Become The Next ‘Superfood’ The humble acorn has long been ignored. That could all be about to change. In South Korea, acorns have achieved ‘superfood’ status, with people devouring ‘acorn noodles, jelly and powder’. Native Americans relied on acorns – rich in nutrients – as a staple part of their diet. They are farmed in China and South Korea, and often ground into flour. Many cultures make acorn ‘coffee’. They are rich in protein, fats, fibre and essential minerals. Recommended: Acorn Recipes For some people life revolves around acorns. These people produce cookies made from acorn flour. Protecting oak trees, and planting more, could help tackle the climate crisis and that acorns are good for food security because they can be stored, squirrel-like, long-term. Now is the perfect season. You might think to head off to the woods, but go to parks, gardens and golf courses. The acorns Autumn on to clean, short grass, which makes them easier to collect than rooting through leaf litter. Getting them ready to eat, takes a little bit of work. You need to shell them first. If you’re working small-scale, you could just slit them with a knife and pop them out of their shell. With bigger harvests (remembering to leave enough for wildlife), Drennan likes to dry them – you can do it on a radiator or spread out in a warm room – before sandwiching them between two sheets and getting some friends round to dance and stamp on them. Then you should leach them to get the bitter tannins out. Put them in a porous sack and stick them in a toilet cistern. That can take between two and six weeks, as the quantity of tannin can be variable. Don’t mix batches from different trees, even if they’re the same variety because they can have different tannin levels. Then they can be roasted, or ground for coffee or flour. You can make an acorn chocolate cake. More commonly, put it in bread, or tagliatelle with it. They taste, nutty, a bit earthy. There’s a kind of density to it. Leaves Foraging wild greens is amazing because they are crazy abundant and can be used in just about every meal. No surprise, the springtime is usually more revered for foraging greens, but that isn’t to say that autumn doesn’t have any to offer. In fact, as the summer heat dissipates, there are some herbs that are ready to leaf out again. Greens, like mushrooms, do require a bit of caution, as there are some toxic possibilities that are better left unexplored. Part of playing it safe is not harvesting from polluted areas, such as alongside highways or dumping sites. The other part is researching a little and double-checking once a potentially tasty leaf has been found. Again, go for the easy-to-identify stuff first. Here are five easy Autumn finds:  chickweed dandelion plantain sheep sorre wild mustard greens With just a few of these, it’s possible to forage a lot of food for free. Wild foods tend to have stronger flavours and be packed with nutrients. Foraging is a fun thing to do, another reason to get outdoors, enjoy nature, see the Autumn foliage, and make the most of what’s around us. In other words, Autumn is here, and it’s time to get started! Before you go! Recommended:  Spider-Woman: Tarantula Staple Food Gets A Snack: Cambodia Did you find this an interesting article or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your own article about sustainability? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage'
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