What mushrooms can be collected in winter
Not everyone knows about this, but mushrooms can be picked not only in summer or autumn, but at any time of the year. Naturally, each season has its own assortment of varieties. In fact, seasonal affiliation is another basis for the classification of mushrooms.
Winter mushrooms are the least known. There are not many of them; many people do not even suspect about the possibility of picking mushrooms even in the cold months (from mid-November to mid-March).
The brightest representatives of the winter group are oyster oyster mushrooms and winter mushrooms. And besides them, they are found in snow-covered forests: garlic and liverwort and tinder fungi (winter, scaly, birch sponge and others), hymnopiles and crepidots, strobilurus and mycenae (gray-pink and ordinary), alkalis and shivers, as well as some others, quite edible species.
Tinder fungus sulfur-yellow in the snow:
So don't be surprised: the winter forest can delight mushroom pickers with delicious mushrooms. Unfortunately, there are only a few types of such mushrooms, but they are widespread, and their collection does not cause any particular difficulties. You can combine business with pleasure - skiing in the winter forest and searching for forest delicacies.
It is even more convenient to pick mushrooms in winter than in summer. In the leafless snowy forest, they can be seen from afar, especially since they usually grow high on trunks or fallen trees.
What kind of mushrooms can be picked in the forest in winter?
In addition, winter is the most convenient time to harvest birch chaga. This inedible mushroom has excellent healing properties, therefore it is widely used for medicinal purposes. And fans of original crafts will be pleased with a variety of tinder fungi, from which they make various compositions, figurines, pots for flowers, etc.
At the beginning of winter, especially if the frosty days came early, in the forest you can find ordinary autumn mushrooms - several types of ryadovki, autumn honey fungus, sulfur-yellow and scaly tinder fungi. But they can only be harvested before the first thaws, since after thawing and subsequent frosts they will lose their qualities. Winter mushrooms, on the contrary, are not afraid of thawing, and use this time to continue growing.
The easiest way is to collect late oyster mushrooms in a winter forest. Outwardly, they practically do not differ from those that are grown in greenhouses and sold in markets or in stores. It is difficult to confuse oyster mushrooms with other mushrooms, its leg is on the side, smoothly turning into a hat, which sometimes reaches 12 centimeters. Young mushrooms are similar to shells, which is why oyster mushrooms are sometimes called oyster mushrooms.
The oyster mushroom cap is usually light gray in color, but it comes in brownish, yellowish and bluish colors. Oyster mushrooms always settle in groups on dead or fallen aspens and birches, less often on other deciduous trees. Inexperienced mushroom pickers sometimes mistake young tinder fungi of gray or whitish color for oyster mushroom, but they are always tough and tinder fungus do not have such a leg as oyster mushrooms.
Oyster mushrooms are well suited for cooking various dishes. Before cooking, it is advisable to boil the mushrooms and drain the broth.
Winter mushrooms have been collected since ancient times. The fact that the mushroom is widespread is evidenced by the large number of its popular names: winter, winter mushroom, snow mushroom, winter moth. The mushroom has a bright orange-yellow color, under the cap there are rare light yellow plates. The leg of adult mushrooms is long and stiff, noticeably darkening towards the bottom, covered with fluff. The mushrooms look shiny as the cap is covered with protective mucus.
Winter mushrooms settle in groups on old or dead deciduous trees. Most often they can be found on elm, aspen, willow, poplar, sometimes they grow on old apple and pear trees. The mushroom is delicious and is used to prepare a variety of dishes. In adult mushrooms, only caps are eaten, and young mushrooms can be used with legs.
It is curious that in the countries of the Far East, winter mushrooms are bred, and they are used not only for food, but also for the preparation of various extracts and medicinal preparations. In the literature, I met mentions that the fungus has pronounced antiviral properties and even inhibits the growth of cancer cells.
Much less often in the forest you can find a gray-lamellar false froth, which prefers to settle on stumps and dead coniferous trees. Despite the name, the mushroom is edible and delicious. It differs from the winter mushroom in a more faded color, which can vary from yellowish-gray to brown. With age, the plates of the fungus darken noticeably, passing from a whitish-yellow color to a grayish-blue color. If you rub a piece of the cap in your fingers, a characteristic pleasant mushroom smell appears.
Therefore, if you wish and skill, you can diversify the winter menu with delicious, aromatic mushrooms collected by your own hands. Agree, a good way to surprise and delight guests!