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About Jack

  • Birthday 08/01/1962

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    Canoeing, camping, nature, photography, blogging. I love collecting wild mushrooms and eating them.

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  1. As long as we're talking about mushrooms, it's OK! I know it's not legal to pick mushrooms in provincial parks, yet when I spoke to wardens in Algonquin Park, they said they did not mind-after all, when you're doing backcountry camping in provincial parks (e.g., Algonquin, Killarney, French River, the Massasauga), you're allowed to pick dead wood for campfire, unlike in parks with drive-in campsites, so probably it's OK to pick mushrooms and berries while backcountry camping. I haven't found any other info on temporarily preserving mushrooms either. IF if find any, I'll dry them on my grill, over the campfire.
  2. Thanks! Even though I'm not going to just mushroom picking, I would love to bring some mushrooms home. Last year I was so disappointed, no mushrooms whatsoever, even though some of my friends reported plenty of mushrooms. I'll also post my results. BTW, I love Kaszuby!
  3. Last week I was in Arrowhead Provincial Park (near Huntsville, Ontario) and saw TWO (2) mushrooms. I talked to locals and they said they did not see mushrooms, either, and added that 30-50 years ago mushrooms had been much more plentiful than nowadays. I'm heading to the Bancroft area (of course, in Ontario) and will certainly look for mushrooms, hopefully I'll have more luck this time.
  4. Thanks for your suggestions. Of course, once I'm back home, I usually air-dry mushrooms or pickle them. However, my question was about a way to TERMPORARILY preserve mushrooms, when I have no access to electricity or cooking facilities. BTW, I just came back from a week-long camping trip in the Southern Georgian Bay area in Ontario. I found... 1 (one) edible mushroom! I asked locals and they said they had not see too many mushrooms recently due to a very dry weather (+30 C) and very little rain. Stringing mushrooms is quite popular in some countries; in some homes hanging strings of mushrooms make very original ornaments!
  5. Not too many people know what Bigos is (well, they don't know what they're missing), so of course, I guessed you're of Polish descent. And your nick sounds very familiar! Besides, whenever I go mushroom picking and meet other people engaged in this activity, they're invariably East-Europeans or Italians, I don't recall ever meeting Canadians (as a matter of fact, I meet other mushroom pickers very rarely). In the mid-1980s I took a breadth course called “People and Plants” and it dealt, among other topics, with fungi. The professor said that a lot of mushrooms were very poisonous and it was difficult to identify them; thus we should avoid collecting & consuming them. Yet, he added, a lot of (brave) people in Eastern Europe did collect & eat them, but every year a number of them paid the ultimate price--and I wholeheartedly confirmed his statement. I’m sure that nobody who attended that lecture ever went mushroom picking!
  6. Some people DELIBERATLY burn Bigos so that it gets that specific flavor. About 15 years ago I made Bigos, using mushrooms that I had dried on a grill over a campfire. I shared it with a couple of friends. They said they had NEVER eaten such a delicious Bigos before! That’s why I have no problem with drying mushrooms over the campfire, later I add them to Bigos and it’s delicious! And one more thing: When I collect chanterelle mushrooms, I usually place them on my car’s dashboard, exposed to the full sun, and they get dry in no time. Then I often eat them raw, they resemble chips, but are tastier and of course, much healthier (they don’t contain all the mysterious ingredients—to understand them, one needs to have a degree in chemistry!). Last year I learned about a recipe on a Chanterelle Infused Vodka. Although I rarely drink vodka, I put several chanterelle mushrooms in a jar with vodka and the next day I enjoyed drinking it!
  7. 12/08/2021 Hi Johny, Thanks for your reply. Before posting my question, I conducted some research online and was unable to find any answers to my question, either. I guess I'll follow your advice. I'll also continue drying mushrooms over the campfire, they're perfect for a Polish dish called "Bigos" (stewed dish made of sauerkraut and/or fresh cabbage, meat and mushrooms) and give it a wonderful smoky flavor. About 20 years ago, while camping in a provincial park, we were collecting so many choice mushrooms that I decided to locally buy a food dehydrator and we moved to an electric campsite. I ended up with several kilograms of dried mushrooms! Unfortunately, many choice campsites are not electric and that's why I usually pick non-electric campsites. And of course, last year and this year I was lucky to book ANY available campsites-and I had to do it 5 months in advance! Regards, Jack
  8. 10/8/2021 Hello, Most of the time I collect wild mushrooms during my week-long camping trips. I immediately eat some of them, but usually I end up with much more than I can consume. Sometimes I dry them on the grill over the campfire; sometimes I get an electric campsite, so I bring a food dehydrator and dry them that way. Yet I would like to know if are any other ways to TEMPORARILY preserve mushrooms, until I get home—up to 7 days? Once I'm home, I’ll properly dry, cook or pickle the mushrooms. Of course, I know mushrooms pickling, but it requires boiling, jars, etc. and this process is not really feasible while I’m camping. If anyone could recommend/suggest any other methods, I’d really appreciate that! BTW, somebody has suggested that I place mushrooms in jars and simply fill the jars with vinegar or a solution of salt and water, but I have no idea if it would work. Thanks! Jack
  9. Thanks for your very comprehensible reply! In fact, I had no idea about sand drifts and the reforestation program – and the implications with regards to mushrooms hunting. I know that picking mushrooms in provincial parks and conservational areas is not allowed and I usually pick them outside of parks. Nevertheless, I had a brochure published by Algonquin Park about mushrooms which said that mushroom picking in the park was OK. When I approached a warden in the park, he told me that in general, it was not allowed, yet he personally did not mind campers picking mushrooms. In other parks, park officials, when asked, said outright that mushroom picking in parks was not allowed, period. While in Six Mile Lake this October, I found very few mushrooms in the park, 95% of my mushrooms were found outside the park. As to the Simcoe County Forest, I had made inquiries long ago about mushroom picking and was told it was OK. The forest I went to is adjacent to the Simcoe County Museum and in the 1990s it was possible to drive there, but now it is fenced off and it is only possible to walk there. Since I have not been to any other county forest, I had no idea that some forests forbid mushroom picking – do they post it? I remember that mushrooms were everywhere around Arrowhead Provincial Park. We even saw them while driving on major roads and once we stopped, we found many more nearby. It was funny – we went fishing on Doe Lake north of Huntsville and mushroom picking did not even cross our mind then – yet we came home with one pike – and several kilograms of mushrooms! I hardly ever go just mushroom picking – it is usually an activity I do on my canoeing/camping trips. Since I usually canoe about 200-400 km. north of Toronto (waterway parks/crown land), I rarely have to worry about any rules! Besides, so many campers leave piles of garbage, broken beer bottles, cigarette butts and damaged/cut trees that mushroom picking appears to be an almost innocuous activity – sometimes I wish park wardens were more visible and went after those who do REAL damage to the environment. I have never heard about the Limberlost Forest, thanks for mentioning it, I have already done a Google search. Although there are (according to the webpage) only two campsites, it is possible to do some canoeing, so perhaps I might go there next year. I have visited the privately owned Haliburton Forest and camped there – even though I do not remember any mushrooms at that time, I think it would make an excellent mushroom picking area as well. I used to be a member of the Mycological Society of Toronto in 2000 and attended a few of its meetings (but never a foray). It is an excellent club, with many members extremely knowledgeable in mushrooms. I live in Mississauga and it was too far for me to drive and attend the meetings; besides, I was often quite busy the evenings meetings were held. Anyway, I guess I will have to wait for another 5 or so months before I can start mushroom picking!
  10. Well, at least I'm glad I'm in a good company! Yes, this summer was very hot and dry, I was even unable to have campfires due to fire bans, but Septmeber and October were kind of wet here and I thought there would be plenty of mushrooms. In September, 2001, I was camping in Arrowhead Provincial Park (near Huntsville, Ontario) and although we did not really plan on mushroom picking (we focused on fishing), there were mushrooms everywhere! Eventually I bought a food dehydrator, moved to an electrical campsite and went home with a few kilograms of dried mushrooms. It was an exceptional year, but very wet too.
  11. Congratulation, great finds! I was in Six Mile Lake Park (135 km north of Toronto, Ontario) in early October and found less than 1 kg of mushroom (Suillus family)--quite disappointing, considering that it had been quite wet and warm. One week later I spent a few hours near Midland, ON and hardly found any mushrooms. Last Sunday I went to the Simcoe County Forest near Barrie, ON and after one hour found just ONE mushroom. I admit that I'm not a mushroom expert and rarely go just mushroom picking, but in the past I was often able to collect many pounds of mushrooms without much effort. I wonder if other people have had similar experience in southern Ontario recently?
  12. Since you mentioned the Mycological Society of Toronto... I used to be a member for one year about 10 years ago. I attended several meetings and learned a lot of fascinating things about mushrooms. I never went mushroom foraging with them, though. I'd certainly recommend this organization!
  13. Hello, I live in the Greater Toronto Area in Ontario and I have picked wild mushrooms all my life. I love nature and I do a lot of canoeing and camping; even though I rarely go just mushroom picking, I always try to find edible mushrooms. I'm not an expert and I'm extremely careful with mushrooms; I'm sure that plenty of mushrooms I don't pick are perfectly edible, yet since I'm not 100% sure, I let them be. I'd love to post photos of mushrooms I encounter for identification (even though I have 4 or 5 mushroom books, sometimes it's still difficult to positively identify a mushroom). I hope I will visit this site more often this summer. Jack
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