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While out on a Sunday drive, we were taking a back country road when Jack jumped in his seat and told me to stop and go back. His surprise surprised me so I slammed on the brakes, threw the car in reverse, and waited for his explanation. The source of his excitement? Mushrooms. 🤣
Indiana has had a few dry, hot months with zero rain, which isn’t particularly conducive to mushrooms. We had success earlier this year with spring mushrooms, like morels, devil’s urn, and red caps, but hadn’t found too many edible fall mushrooms without the rain.
The mushroom Jack had spotted is called chicken of the woods, which is bright orange, grows prolifically when conditions are right, in sort of a pretty, floral shape, and in a blind taste test, we couldn’t tell it apart from actual chicken. I can tell you, I’m not particularly a mushroom person, but everyone will eat this one, because it doesn’t taste like a mushroom. We found a small patch last year on our haunted hike but this time, we brought in a haul. My favorite part of the experience, was probably Jack waving innocently at the state patrol car that slowly crept by. I suppose with a car full of kids and an armful of mushrooms, we couldn’t be getting into too much trouble…

Jack already has plans to try and propagate it in our own forest–it makes mushroom hunting a lot easier when you know where to look for them. The rest were cleaned up (the kids picked off all the leaves and bugs 😉), and they were put into the fridge. Then Jack treated us for dinner with chicken of the woods alfredo. I made a double batch of pasta because I knew it would go fast and I was right–everybody ate like they hadn’t had a meal in a week. It was one of those beautiful, filling, nutrious, delectable meals that is made even more enjoyable by the fact that half of it was found on the side of the road.

What we don’t eat in the next day or two will be put in the freezer for later, so we can share it with visiting family and friends, and enjoy the bounteous mushroom harvest long after the season has passed. I just can’t wait to see what creations Jack comes up with–I’ll be the first in line as tastetester.
Yeah, it was yum.

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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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