A New Year, a new blog…
Winter is a strange place to start in the world of foraging but a great place if you know what you are looking for… Mushrooms!
Mushrooms are the new favourite in the world of plant-based medicines and healthcare. Although they have been around for millennia, it seems that research into mushrooms as medicines has only just hit the mainstream.
It is quite easy to buy powdered and dried medicinal mushrooms online nowadays. But, they all come with a hefty price tag… one that I am personally not willing to spend.
However, luckily for us, many of these wonderful magical fungi live around us and it is easy (once you know how) to identify, collect and process these into amazing, natural medicines for yourself and family.
Today we went on a beautiful walk in the Dorset countryside and just so happened upon a bountiful harvest of Turkey Tail mushrooms.
Turkey Tail (Trametes Versicolor)
Trametes meaning one who is thin.
Versicolor meaning variously coloured.
The name is a brilliant indicator of how to identify this mushroom. They are often found flourishing on old dead logs with beautiful fan shaped fruits that grow in clusters, overlapping one another. Their appearance is almost velvet-like on top, with rings of wonderful browns, greys and blues. The underside is a pale white-ish colour and they feel rubbery to the touch.
Turkey Tail mushrooms (and most mushrooms for that matter) have a high level of antioxidants and anti-viral properties, making it a wonderful immune-boosting medicine. There have even been studies showing beneficial effects of using Turkey Tail mushrooms to fight cancer cells!
Disclaimer: we always suggest you make sure you know what you are picking when it comes to mushrooms. Always use plenty of reference guides or go on a mushroom identification course. And.. if you’re not 100% sure what it is – dont pick it!
We collected the largest of the mushrooms, leaving the smallest to grow so we could come back for a second harvest, and continued on our walk until we got back home.
After warming ourselves up when we got in, we cleaned off our wild forage of the day, making sure we had no pieces of unwanted wood left on the mushrooms. I popped them in the dehydrator on a low temperature (to make sure the medicinal value of the mushroom was retained) and left them to dry out.
Once dried the Turkey Tail can be used for many things. You could blend the dried pieces into a powder and use in a wonderful hot mushroom tonic. Or, you can infuse the Turkey Tail in a high percentage vodka – creating a brilliant anti-cancerous tincture! Once dried they keep really really well and there is no need to rush into using them as long as you store them properly in an airtight bag or jar.
If you are interested in mushrooms and their medicinal uses I highly encourage you to look further into them and research for yourself the amazing things that they can do!
They really are magical…