Well, my chicken polypore mushrooms have been corralled and growing for over a week. Several people told me they thought i should harvest them, but i was resisting. I did not think the color and size was at the maximum. I had broken a few of the little protrusions off and cooked them to try it...my mother watering for more! Finally, i gave in, and set off through the woods with a basket, a knife and a few dogs.
Kismet is keeping watch for me. I cut away the plastic shield, and find
the mushroom has grown to conform to the mold. I might have had larger mushrooms if i had not corralled them!
BUT the mushroom does not seem hurt, and i am sure the corrals kept them from being run over by 4-wheelers, etc.
My purpose in making the corrals was to keep dirt from being bounced into them by passers-by or the rain.
This was only marginally successful. I found, when i took them up, that i had left them too long. I really did not need the knife to harvest, they had already separated from the wood. I think ideally i would have wanted to cut them off. There was some white fluffy mold on the bottom, between the mushroom and the dirt. I do not think this is optimal. the mushroom is full of crevaces, and there are many little beetles, and ants living there.
I cut away the really dirt filled portions, and tried to pack my basket for the way home....
wow, more mushroom than basket! This is exciting! I should have judged that, but i really thought there would be more loss.
Do you think the dogs want some? Well, they might get a bite. Are mushrooms poisonous to dogs? I know squirrels eat those white ones in the yard, and that i cannot eat those. hmmmm.
More cleaning and trimming and getting out little insects at home. I give in and wash the whole bunch. I have been told you are not supposed to wash mushrooms until right before cooking, but there is so much here, and so many ants...
In the end, i cook a whole panfull for lunch (they really absorb alot of butter!) and they are delicious! They have a very meaty texture, and i hesitate to say it: They taste a bit like chicken!
I have at least twice this many left, and i am half afraid to put them in the fridge. I am leaving them out, in front of the air conditioner vent...what do you think?
Next time, i think i will try a barrier that does not retain the moisture, and harvest more protrusions as they grow. What an adventure!
Hey, look, my friend Nifty found one, too!