Just landing back home to Ireland after a whirlwind trip to Mulino, Oregon for the Radical Mycology Convergence hosted by Peter McCoy @radmycology and Jason Scott @feralfungi and born of much dreams and hard work of many!
It was a joy beyond words to have attended and a great honor to have been invited as a speaker!
I offered two talks at the Convergence: Medicinal Mushroom preparations and all the ways I use them in my life as food and medicine- and a second talk on Mushroom ‘Coffee’ Alternatives using trees, roots and fungi. And on the Sunday morning on a Medicinal Mushroom panel with Christopher Hobbs, Robert Rogers, Jason Scott and Shane Norte.
I’ve shared the notes on my website for anyone who is interested!
It was so amazing to connect with so many myco folk such as: @radmycology @amanitadreaming @feralfungi @christopherhobbs1 Robert Rogers, @fly_agaric_press Kevin Feeney, William Rubel, and so many other cool folk with such interesting and diverse interests with fungi! So many new friends made I can’t tag you all. Please stay in touch!
Extra big thanks to @feralfungi and Kelsey and @ashley.bonn for putting me up while in Portland and to @indra.c.h.a for feeding me incredible concoctions and @swiminair for looking after me so well and felted fly agaric art @spore.dust for letting me try on the Turkey tail headpiece @erintheforest for incredible fungi ceramics @jonicampile best camping neighbour and of course to @brownbottlefarm for the kindnesses and amazing venue and tent loan and fresh ginger root and friendships! @ckylum for tea sharing @twoowlsproductions for giving me a lift and the chats and hopefully staying in touch about video footage 🤞🏼!! @brandon_feinberg for the photos shared here♥️♥️
So many more to thank: @myco.nutri for Mushroom powders to share and use during my workshops, @mushroom.marauder for very cool sticker art to share!
It took me awhile to get my hands on this book. First of all it was expensive and then after that, it was even harder to find online! I’m in Europe and it just seemed unusually difficult to get a hold of.
I bit the bullet and after many hours found a valid link and invested in this book. When it arrived I squealed in delight. It’s a substantial tome and well worth the cost. Chock full of all the ways of “Seeing and Working with Fungi” it is a reference that you should not be without!
I haven’t read the book cover to cover; it’s a big book and very easy to dip in and out of chapters that most interest you.
Anyhow, back to the book. The publishers are offering a short window for a discount on this incredible book. Here’s the link to buy the book. The shipping prices to Europe are still cringe-worthy, but I was comforted that the book is absolutely massive and very heavy. I bought it as a birthday present to myself (which we should all do more of:)
I’m also extremely honoured to be on the Medicinal Mushroom Panel and at this event with teachers I so respect and have learned so much from such as @radmycology Peter McCoy, @christopherhobbs1 , Robert Rogers, Kevin Feeney, William Rubel, @amanitadreaming and so many others!
Thank you Peter for this opportunity of a lifetime. I couldn’t dream up a better mushroom festival offering than this! I am very honoured to take part! And excitedly checking the schedule for all of the workshops that I also hope to attend!
Was delighted to be invited to the Wicklow music festival Beyond The Pale and to talk on stage with Ali Dunworth about, what else, mushrooms (!) and all of the ways that they are magical. And why they should be on your plate!
It was so enjoyable and what an incredible festival. The music line up was incredible.
I brought some interesting mushroom tasters to share. Some balsamic pickled shiitake mushrooms, dandelion buds and wild garlic. Also made some Lion’s Mane and peanut butter dark chocolates.
Best of all I got to bring Sadhbh the bus and my dearest girlfriends!
I am so happy to report that we will be offering another full day intensive workshop where we will explore medicinal mushrooms in depth. We will make medicine together to bring home with you. We will share a full day together in the beautiful space in a very special venue in Blessington, Co Wicklow, Ireland.
Join us in this intensive medicinal mushroom full day workshop for a fascinating exploration into the diverse and mysterious world of fungi! Together we will explore the many ways that you can incorporate mushrooms into your life as various medicinal preparations and as delicious food.
We will: -Study and learn about 10 species of medicinal mushrooms, half of which grow wild in abundance around us in Ireland/ UK. Some samples will be on hand to see/ touch/ smell and taste. We will learn about their health benefits and immuno-modulating properties, including links and references to scientific studies.
–Learn how to identify them, their habitat, their physical properties. We will learn about how to safely dry or preserve mushrooms to keep their properties intact, or indeed how to enhance or harness their properties, such as providing us with a bio-available form of Vitamin D and other minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.
–Medicinal Mushroom preparation– We will discuss and demo how to make an aqueous extract, alcohol extract, alcohol-free glycerin extract and the benefits of these vs how and when to combine these for a dual or full-spectrum mushroom extract. We will learn how to create water extracted mushroom powders. We will discuss when there may be contraindications for use.
-Learn how and why mushrooms offer powerful nutrition and learn some delicious recipes and easy ways to bring mushrooms into your diet and wellness routine. Special preparation consideration for enhancing nutritive value and to safely use and consume wild fungi. We will discuss some different cooking methods and a variety of food preparations including: drinks, desserts, mushroom jerky, gomasio/ food condiments, pickles, etc.
–How and where to source medicinal mushrooms: which mushrooms are possible to forage from the wild and which fungi are easier to cultivate and some resources about how to do this. We will share some reputable sources and how to choose good quality mushroom products. We will learn about how to distinguish from a fruiting body and mycelium and their respective medicinal properties.
You will be provided with a recommended reading list and extensive notes and you will go home with a medicinal mushroom preparation made together on the day.
Medicinal mushrooms drinks, tasters and a healthy lunch will be provided on the day.
There will be some dried mushrooms and dual-extract tinctures available on the day to purchase, should you like to.
Hmmmm? What’s that you say? Can’t hear you from my Jelly Ear!
(Even if it’s the biggest Jelly Ear I’ve ever spotted!)
These abundant, edible and medicinal fungi were a bit challenging to me before, I must admit.
The gelatinous texture isn’t one that I was accustomed to eating but it’s grown on me! The distinctly ear lobe shape didn’t help either. 😂
This mushroom can be found commonly growing on dead or dying Elder trees. Sometimes you can hit the jackpot and find branches heaving with them.
Another name for this fungus is Auricularia aurícula-judae, Wood Ear, Black fungus, Cloud Ear, Judas Ear or more controversially Jews Ear/ although this name is no longer recommended.
These can be harvested throughout the year, and can even be found shrivelled up on the tree after a dry spell. They dry down very small and rehydrate readily when needed. Love finding them plump and fat and juicy but you can collect the dried ones too, saving you the job of drying them out!
I harvest, clean, slice and dry these to preserve them for use throughout the year. Then rehydrate when needed.
If cooked fresh in a frying pan they can be quite explosive!
I enjoy them most sliced into a Chinese dumpling with other wild greens and aromatics.
Another favourite amongst the Foraging world was dreamt up by @fergustheforager many years ago and takes the intact dried jelly ears and rehydrates them into a liqueur then covers them in chocolate.
This mushroom has been used medicinally since the Tang Dynasty 618 BCE in China, often added to dishes to help improve breathing, sore throats, to reduce colds and fevers, to enhance well being and to boost circulation.
One to look out for on your wild food or herbal medicine journey.
Mushroom coffee? This question is often met with a look of suspicion or disgust, but happily it is also becoming more mainstream.
I’ve been drinking mushroom tea- or if brewed dark and bitter, I like to call it mushroom coffee.
How I make it:
The chaga mushroom is hard and woody. It is best to break it up into smaller chunks or a powder, although some prefer to use it as small chunks, maybe the size of an average coin.
I do not tend to follow any exact recipe but I might add a tablespoon of powdered or dried mushroom to about 500ml of water.
I might throw some other medicinal mushrooms or herbs such as turkey tail mushrooms into the brew at the boiling and simmering stage, or maybe birch polypore, reishi, artist conk, lions mane, dandelion root, ginger, liquorice or whatever I have on hand. Or keep it simple and just use chaga or any one of these ingredients.
It can be decocted -brought to the boil and then simmered for at least 20 minutes, (or for much longer depending on if you’re sitting next to your warm stove for long stretches of time!) I then strain out the hard and woody mushroom material and drink the liquid. (Don’t toss the mushroom material, it can be re-boiled many times over until it loses its properties.)
I mix it with my milk of choice and a spoon of honey sometimes.
Alternatively I use this medicinal mushroom broth to add to miso soup, as a stock for any other soups or sauces. I use this broth to cook my rice in. Or I mix some of this into my ‘real’ coffee. Get it into you any way you can! You could also add some to your favourite smoothie recipe.
This mushroom has a lot of reported positive health benefits. It is full of anti-oxidants and has been reputed to have anti-cancer benefits among many other things. But beyond all of that, I find it a delicious way to get medicinal mushrooms into my wellness regime and is as satisfying a process as brewing a cuppa coffee.