Tag Archives: wild food

Fungi foray


The first slippery jacks of the year are up – but it’s been quite dry so the season may not be brilliant. No saffies (saffron milkcaps)  yet 😦 Still we had a nice picnic scouting for mushrooms for next saturday’s meeting, although it would have been better without the wasps TIP: do not bring sausages for a sizzle at this time of year . They left our mushrooms alone though! Apparently they are hunting meat for their young right now. Earlier in the year they are after fruit. Shucks – all out of step with the firebans!

The Oberon visitor’s center in NSW still publishes a guide to these mushrooms http://www.oberonaustralia.com.au/visitor-information/things-to-see-do/mushroom-picking/

and while on the subject of NSW mushroom foragers – the same day Bella and her Youth food movement crew hauled a bumper crop of saffies for the Guerilla Dinner from what is obviously a far better managed resource than the cut and burn approach of Forestry Tas (although unfortunately Belangalo State Forest is also famous for backpacker murders which really puts a damper on the whole idea of tromping about the woods doesn’t it?) http://www.youthfoodmovement.org.au/foraging-for-the-fruits-of-nsw/

In early may 4 – 5th there will be a fungi workshop in the Tarkine with the mycology boffins focusing on native species getting their research in before more tasmanian destruction of forest 😦


December 2012 Wild Weed Walk 2 with Allan WIlton


A big thank you to Allan and Colleen for hosting a blockbuster end to the Astrotas calendar. Welcomed some new members and Nilah had the good sense to add a singalong to round it off.

Thanks also to Trevor for taking the photos which we will use to create an ebook for our member’s reference at some stage as well as decorate this website. In the meantime I will point you to an excellent article on one of the weeds identified and discussed by Allan our december astrotas wild food walk – Ribwort, plantain – growing worldwide Use for cuts, bruises, scrapes and stings , it’s even safe for cats topically applied – temporarily stains skin/fur a tea colour. I got stung by a jackjumper on the toe over xmas and the kitteh got another rash so I had a chance to test this. Messy but effective, cheap and available when the vet /chemist/doctor is shut! After I made the poultice wrapped with a little gladwrap – for the cat’s rash i bandaged over the wrap with a gauze as well then removed when the sting has subsided or it’s dried too much about 30 mins .

Create a Natural Herbal First Aid Kit With Wild Plantain.

Medicinal Mushrooms


Impossible with half an hour on this topic in April mushroom hunting talk to list all the exciting things I’ve found. Here’s a smattering of what was and wasn’t covered and some links so you can do your own research.
I highly reccommend starting with this excellent discussion of medicinal mushrooms including Lion’s mane by Jon Seleen. 36 min

Hedgehog or sweet tooth fungus
I didn’t mention the destinctive hedgehog mushroom – hydnum repandum, also cutely named sweetooth.
Apparently very tasty and grows in the wetter native forests in Australia – Eucalyptus and Nothofagus. I can find photos taken at Bastion Cascades, Tas and in victorian locations incl. Sherbrooke forest. According to medicinal mushrooms(a succinct, well referenced amateur website by Robert Sasata) the compound repandiol isolated from it in 1992 in japan, kills a variety of tumour cell lines including colon cancers.

A number of people asked at the meeting about which of the medicinal Mushrooms I mentioned are also native to Australia. In addition to (Tremella fuciformis the jelly fungus, and Trametes versicolor, the turkey tail mushroom) we have a species of Grifola frondosa – hen of the woods, Hydnum repandum – the sweetooth or hedgehog mushroom, hericeum coralloides (= h. clathroides)  which is in the Lion’s mane family in eastern Australia including Tasmania, as well as a mention of hericeum erinaceus  – Lions Mane proper, in the Ottways, Victoria. Hericeum sp. are noted to stimulate production of nerve growth factor and may help regenerate nerves and aid myelination – useful for neuropathy, MS and dementia. http://mushrooms4health.com/hericium-the-nerve-regenerators/

Most of these I have seen in July while walking at Liffey Falls. They are all good eating except for turkey tail which is a woody polypore so purely medicinal like reishi and chaga.

Maitake (hen of the woods) mushrooms ( Grifola frondosa ) in particular has a very high profile in terms of anti tumour potential: Dr. Warwick Gill PhD from UTAS, who also oversees the production of Glen Huon Mushrooms which supply our supermarkets, has been doing research into the native grifola sp. as well as commercialising other medicinal and gourmet mushrooms not yet grown in Australia. There is a possibility it contains more or less or even different compounds as it grows on different wood (eucalypt). Also as it has not had the long history of eating or medicinal use and we simply can’t buy them here anyway, I ordered the maitake for the meeting from floridaherbhouse.com Sounded yummy but proved to be from China, rather than wild crafted from the USA and obviously not as tasty as the fresh unfortunately. However no trouble to add to one’s normal diet unless you are allergic to mushrooms/moulds. They add a richness to a cooked dish – I especially like it boiled and steeped in reishi tea for 15 mins then added to a bolognaise.
A cancer story Amelie has been given a big bag of dried maitake every year since her diagnosis of a brain tumour in 2004. It was considered untreatable by conventional medicine. The website owner wrote back to me to say that Amelia is expecting a baby soon 🙂 Although grade 2 astrocytomas can be very indolent Amelie’s tumour was in a bad spot tucked deep at the brain. I’m not sure what prognosis she was originally given, or what other therapies she is doing but the tumour isn’t growing and eating a bit of mushroom is obviously not a hard option.

Unfortunately funds for researching farming the michorizzal Matsutake (red pine) mushroom so beloved of the Japanese forests, ran out before Mr Gill achieved success in log cultivation. We did not find the dried north american matsutake worth the effort. If you would like to visit Glen Huon Mushrooms south of Hobart you can pre-arrange a farm tour on weekdays except friday (the farm sales and visitor centre is open though) – the shiitake and other mushrooms available are just so fresh and yummy, and according to research I have read, effective tumour preventors when just taken regularly as food rather than as a special supplement. Tassie tourism has put together a ‘Huon Trail’ which features various primary producers in the area.
850 Glen Huon Road Glen Huon TAS 7109
Phone: 03 6266 6333

More Useful Links:
the Huffington post discusses radiation contamination of wildboars and mushrooms in Europe The chaga mushroom teabags I sourced from Chaga Mountain in North America – not Russia, its cultural home because of the fallout from Chernobyl. With the radiation released through Fukushima contamination of wild mushrooms in the pacific NW may become an issue.

Paul Stamets is a noted mycologist who has done several TED talks and a TEDMED talk on youtube about his work with medicinal mushrooms which helped his 84 yo mum  treat stage 4 breast cancer using turkey tail, herceptin and taxol.
His website is fungi.com
Lions mane and other mushroom extracts mentioned by John Seleen and Paul Stamets can be bought easily and cheaply from iherb.com Very reliable vendor (use promocode for VAZ829 for $5 discount and to support this website).

Christoper Hobbs – includes recipes eg. Wei Qi Soup for Building Immune Strength

Dr Nanba’s Maitake research please be aware Dr. Nanba in addition to researching also sells the stuff

back to mushroom meeting

June 2012 Meeting – Leicester Jones, naturopath


Wow – a power packed talk. Leicester’s approach to gardening and health are one and the same – get your soil right and feed your family from it. He overcame his own infantile rickets and juvenile arthritis. Everyone agreed Leicester has to come back and share some more of his treasury of information later in the year.

A few highlights;
Kelp – is his preferred fertiliser as every nutrient we have in our bodies is the same as the ocean in the right proportions. Animal manures are defficient as the nutrition has gone into the animal ( milk, meat, bone etc.) Place a square of  dried bullkelp under new plants when setting them out.

Mutton Bird oil – sustainably harvested local product that is a top grade source of omega 3 oil and vitamin A which is the start for building up health. $20 500ml + postage from Bruce Bensammen 63561430 or $30 litre from Yolla Products. Can be used topically if you don’t like the idea of taking it orally ( editor’s note: ocean omega’s are actually so sure of their products they offer a refund if you are not satisfied. Vegetarians may want to consider the ultimate source of the bird’s omega fats – algae. Nordic Naturals make an algal based omega supplement. If you want to buy it from iherb.com I have had no trouble with many shipments from them and the flat rate postage is only $6 which is cheaper than most australian companies.)

The inspirational Tasmanian Regions magazine put out by DPIPWE (Request a printed version from Simon 62336859 mentioned by Leicester) is also available online – Winter issue


Be aware of  how supermarket food is grown and processed.  Food Inc. both the book by Peter Pringle and the DVD Film mentioned are available from the Library. Pyrethrum has replaced DDT but it is still a neurotoxin – avoid. Unfortunately the barcode number is NOT a guarantee of country of origin if you choose to avoid foods from Asian countries such as China which have no food inspection laws – read the label, ring the company when in doubt. 93″ merely means the parent company is Australian not the ingredients.

My recipe for Raw Spicy Flax Crackers
Food processor required Dehydrator required
2 cup flax seeds, 2 cups water, 1 cup fresh coriander or parsley, 1 red bell pepper, 2T lime or lemon juice,
2T soy or tamari or teaspoon seasalt, 2T curry powder, teaspoon fresh grated ginger, teaspoon fresh garlic crushed

Place flax seed and water in a large bowl and soak overnight in the fridge. Mixture will be covered in goo in the morning. DO NOT RINSE. You want the goo.
Blend all remaining ingredients in a processor until fine.
Add to the bowl with the flax seeds and goo and mix with a spoon. Mixture should be thick and goopy.
Spread mixture about 4mm thick over dehydrator sheets, score into cracker sizes and dehydrate for 8 hours at medium heat (under 50 C) best done overnight. Turn and dehydrate again briefly until crispy. makes about 48 crackers