Thursday, 24 November 2011

Ten Things I Learned This Week

Everything's still going well, ten days into the treatment of Lyme disease with very small amounts of fly agaric. I'm still eating bits that have been cooked and frozen, as the tincture isn't ready yet.
  1. Image (right) from top: coniferous, deciduous and coppiced woodland. Some woodland is a mix of these types, in which case there will be a combination of symbols.

    The easiest way to find woodland to search for fly agaric is to look at a local Ordnance Survey map.

    Although the fly agaric mycelium can be hosted by pine and fir, these forests, in Britain at least, are more likely to have been relatively recently planted for timber, and unlikely to harbour any Amanita muscaria.

    Coppiced woodland is likely to be hazel, willow, sweet chestnut, hornbeam or alder, none of which host the symbiont, so are probably not worth hunting in.

    Deciduous woodland is your best bet.

  2. I've stopped wrapping the individual mushrooms in newspaper, as it was sticking to the tops of the caps. A basket or cloth bag is a better bet.
  3. The stalks are likely to contain maggots. I left the stalks on the mushrooms I was air drying, which resulted in more than a hundred tiny maggots wriggling around on the coffee table. Luckily I removed them before my boyfriend spotted them! From now on I'll either leave the stalks in the ground or use them to spawn with.
  4. When spawning I've found that if you dig (just with a small stick) around the base of a host tree (birch, oak, pine, fir), ready-made fissures can appear. The idea is to get the spore on the roots, so I've started making use of these fissures. I've also put pieces of mushroom into animal burrows that lead under a potential host tree.
  5. The best way to remove bits of dirt from the mushroom cap is with a mush brush, a special soft brush for cleaning mushrooms without damaging their skins.

    I've ordered one but it hasn't come yet. I'll review it when it does. I'm hoping that it will work on damp mushrooms as well as dry ones.

  6. Drying the mushrooms can cause an allergic reaction. I was pulling the stalks off the mushrooms I've been air drying, and my nose started running. My nasal membranes were sore for quite a while. I don't think I'm going to air dry again.
  7. An alternative to air drying is to use a food dehydrator. If I weren't able to take the tincture - if I had an allergy to alcohol for example - I might consider this route.
  8. I started on a new mushroom from the freezer this week. I took a piece the same size that I had from the previous mushroom, but became very clumsy. I think that the new mushroom has more active ingredient. I've been taking smaller pieces since, and everything has been fine again.
  9. All things considered, I think I will clean, chop and tincturise the mushrooms right away from now on. As well as avoiding drying allergy, it will also make the strength easier to determine, by averaging out the strength of all the mushrooms in the vodka.
  10. It's best to shake the jar with the mushrooms in before adding the vodka. This helps them settle, and you can fit more mushrooms in the jar.

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