Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Mushroom Season Starts Early

Picture a tall, cylindrical mushroom - with a great flavor that matches well with eggs and salsa. It is the tasty Coprinus comatus, or Shaggy Mane.Yum! These showed up at the edge of our apple orchard just from the "rain" that our fir trees made from the recent fog (we live in a seasonal cloud forest).

This has another name - the Inky Cap. Why would it be called that? Well, if you let it stay out in the wilds just a little longer, you are left with white stems only - the cap of the mushroom dissolves into a black liquid that makes a good ink. The mushroom ink was once mixed with more common inks to validate official documents - the spores could easily be spotted with a microscope, and would provide evidence the document was real. This mushroom is even part of the Declaration of Independence - even though there were 56 cosigners (document authentication not an issue), the ink still contained Inky Cap ink so King George III would take the document perhaps just a little more seriously... You can read about it here. This makes it the only mushroom making an appearance in Hamilton (had to include a cultural relevance note!).

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