Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Issue 3, January, 2006

Those who were at the January meeting will tell you that there was a lot going on. We elected officers for 2006. Thirty-odd members cast their ballots, and all voted to retain the current officers.

The twenty five copies of Mushrooms Demystified we had ordered were gone in a heartbeat as were most of the MatchMaker CD’s we had on hand. (We have another 25 or 30 books on the way and are burning more CD’s.) We also signed up quite a number of new club members!

I gave a short demonstration of the basic features and uses of the Match-Maker CD. Dominique rounded out our afternoon with a slide presentation and introduction to the ‘Principal Mushroom Groups’.

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In a recent issue of Readers' Digest I ran across an interesting article on the value of mushrooms as an antioxidant.

I think we have all heard how essential antioxidants are for our health in general and especially the health of our heart. When we think of anti-oxidant rich foods, it is usually grape juice, blueberries and red wines that come to mind. One of the latest additions to the list is our morning cup of coffee! (I knew coffee couldn’t be all bad!). Of course the all around best sources for the antioxidant, ergothioneine have always been raw wheat germ and chicken livers, but who eats these often enough to make a difference? But take heart (no pun in-tended), there is still hope. In RD’s article ‘Consume More ‘Shrooms’, a group of Penn State researchers found that ‘a serving of white button mush-rooms has 12 times more ergothioneine than wheat germ’ and that ‘shitake have up to 40 times more’! If commercially raised mushrooms are that beneficial, the wild ones ought to really be good for us!

It is not only antioxidants that mushrooms have to offer. They supply a number of the trace minerals our bodies require and are also an excellent source for a variety of vitamins (especially the hard to get, B vitamins.) Mushrooms have no fat, are low in ‘carbs’ and high in protein, too!

Here’s a mushroom recipe that everyone will like and which will help you get that ergothioneine which your body needs. What’s more, if you make up the whole recipe, it is only about 400 calories!

Vegetable-Stuffed Mushrooms

24 large or 12 extra-large mushrooms, stems removed
2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
½ cup chicken broth
½ tsp. dried oregano
3 tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbs. chopped parsley

1. Preheat oven to 400*. In a pot of boiling water, cook the mushroom caps for two minutes to blanch. Drain on a paper towel.

2. In a skillet, heat oil over medium. Add the onion and garlic; sauté for 5 minutes. Add the carrot and pepper; cook for 4 minutes. Add the broth and oregano; cook for 4 minutes or until vegetables are very soft. Remove from heat; stir in the Parmesan and the parsley.

3. Spoon the mixture into the mushroom caps. Place them on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes or until piping hot. This recipe serves four.

With a new year, there is always talk of ‘resolutions’; things to be accomplished, old ways to be abandoned and new paths to take. Most people understand that plans and goals are important. KPMS is so new that we really have no ‘old ways’ to abandon, but we do have new paths to take.
One of our goals for this year is to provide practical instruction in identifying the various mushroom species. At our February meeting we will begin this process with the Russulacae family. There are two genera in this family, Lactarius and Russula. Most of the individual species in these two genera are easy to learn to identify. There are a number of edible species and none that are deadly poisonous. Dominique will be introducing the species in the genus Lactarius and I will be covering the species in the genus Russula.

Dominique has been on vacation in warm, sunny Mexico the last two weeks, so I was unable to obtain a list of the species he will be looking at. But, for those who would like to come prepared, I am including a list of the Russula species I will be presenting. You will find all of them on the MatchMaker CD and most, if not all, in Mushrooms Demystified.

I will be looking at 15 species of Russula that are either known to occur in Alaska or are found in northwestern B.C. and probably occur here. By the end of the presentation, I am confident that you will be able to accurately identify these species and recognize the 9 or 10 that are edible!

Here is a list of the 15 Russula species:

R. aeruginea, R. bicolor, R. brevipes,
R. cascadensis, R. claraflava,
R. densifolia, R. emetica, R. granulata,
R. laurocerasi, R. lutea, R. nigracans,
R. occidentalis, R. olivacea,
R. sphagnophila, R./ xeramphalina

To help you become more familiar with these names, I have included a ‘word search’ that contains all of the species names and the genus name. See how many you can find!

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Just a reminder, as a club member, The Spore Print is your publication. We encourage you to get involved. If you run across an interesting article, recipe, joke, or comic that would ‘fit’ our newsletter, send it our way. If you would like to submit an article of your own (a mushrooming experience, etc.), we would love to receive it. If there is anyone with some writing, editing, or design experience, we would welcome your assistance.

Aside from the newsletter, we hope hear from you. Let us know what you would like to see happen and how you may want to become involved. The success of our club really does depend on you!
A word of thanks to all those who brought treats to the last meeting. The response was amazing! Thank you.

I received an e-mail from Blanche Tinius, a member who lives in Eagle River. She and her husband, Jim are long time ‘shroomers and far more knowledgeable than they will admit.

Blanche is always a rich source of information. She reminded me that Orson Miller has a new book coming out this spring, North American Mushrooms: a Field Guide to Edible and Inedible Fungi. The bookstore price will be $25.95. I haven’t seen a review yet, but I have heard that it is a very comprehensive work and will include a number of Alaskan species. Hopefully, we will be able to include a book review in the next Spore Print.

She reminded me that the Pacific Northwest Key Council has a number of identification keys available on line at no cost. You can access their site through MatchMaker.

Blanche has a source for the book, Insects and Diseases of Alaskan Forests and two pamphlets, Common Trees of Alaska and Conifers of the Temperate Rain Forests of Alaska, all free of charge. If anyone is interested, let me know.

There’s more, Blanche and Jim will be presenting their annual Morel program at the Eagle River Nature Center on Sunday, May 29th at 2 pm. They will present a slide show which will be followed by a foray. If you happen to be in the area that day, take in the event and meet them!

Blanche included a couple of her favorite website to add to our list. I thought this might be a good opportunity to make everyone aware of the wealth of information that is available online. Check out the websites on this list, it will be a lot of fun as well as very educational. Many of these also have links to other great sites. The Evergreen sites are actual mushroom identification presentations.


Of course, another important one is our own web site:


I’m sure that some of you have discovered other excellent sites. If you happen to know of one, please let us know so that we can share the information with the rest of the club. I encourage you to check out these web sites. They are a great learning tool, and it is all free.

There is really not much out there in the way of mushroom poetry, but I did run across this one by Dickenson.

by Emily Dickinson

The mushroom is the elf of plants,
At evening it is not;
At morning in a truffled hut
It stops upon a spot

As if it tarried always;
And yet its whole career
Is shorter than a snake's delay,
And fleeter than a tear.

'Tis vegetation's juggler,
The germ of alibi;
Doth like a bubble antedate,
And like a bubble die.

I feel as if the grass were pleased
To have it intermit;
The surreptitious scion
Of summer's circumspect.

Had nature any outcast face,
Could she a son condemn,
Had nature an Iscariot,
That mushroom,--it is him.


Our next meeting is February 4th at 1:00 pm in the Cook Inlet Aquaculture Building at 40610 K-Beach Road. The meeting will consist of a presentation on the genus Lactarius by Dominique and I will cover Russula. We will have a coffee hour to follow. If you have any questions, please contact Janice (776-5277) or myself, (Steve - 262-3541).

We’re looking forward to seeing you Saturday.