Browsing: Foraging

Foraging for Wild Asparagus-By Guest Blogger: Alice Kulyk


Last year, as I was driving around the countryside, I discovered many wild asparagus ferns growing along ditches, railroad tracks and road sides. Unfortunately I realized this too late in the season, but I made a mental note that I would stop in these spots next spring and see if I could harvest some.


Sure enough in the spring there were ferns growing and I would stop every couple of days to harvest. I used a knife to cut the stalks at ground level and harvested all that I could. Wild asparagus in my opinion is more tender and tastier than store bought and worth the effort it takes to pick it.

Asparagus grows really quickly so you can harvest all the new stems but it is important to leave some stems to encourage more growth for the following year. I didn’t harvest lots that first year but enough to get excited for more. This year, I found a couple more stretches of asparagus ferns and by the end of the summer I found fields with up to 20 or more clumps growing just waiting for me to harvest next spring.


The best time to look for asparagus is in the fall as the clumps have turned yellow and are very visible. I make notes on my phone as to where I see them because I know I will forget a couple of spots. I also take a picture of the spot hoping the clumps show up in my photo like a treasure map.

I get great satisfaction in finding the beautiful and delicious bounty that nature gives us. This is still a great time to keep your eyes open during your travels, find spots for yourself, and make notes of where you find them.

Kath’s quote: “I look forward to the spring vegetables because the season is so short. Mushrooms, edible foraged herbs, wild leeks, early season asparagus”. -David Chang


Love never fails.


Foraging for Peepenky by Guest Blogger-Alice Kulyk



Honey Fungus mushrooms are called  “peedpenky”  by the Ukrainian community. They are  best  stored  frozen or canned.  Drying tends to toughen them.  My method is to clean them, without washing, as best I can, discarding stems from bigger mushrooms as they can be tough.  I cut them into the size I prefer, measure out 1 lb and freeze them raw using my vacuum sealer.  They can be stored this way in the freezer for at least a year. These mushrooms are almost as good as fresh when thawed.

When ready to use them I let them thaw and because they can contain a mild toxin I boil the peedpenky for 3 -4 minutes in slightly salted water. They are then rinsed, which provides the washing of them as I do not wash before freezing.  They are now ready to cook as you wish. You can sauté them with onions, garlic and parsley, thickened with a little cream and served with pasta or perogies.   You can also add them into your gravy while it is cooking.


Another method of preserving peedpenky is to clean as best you can, cut into appropriate size and rinse. They should then be blanched for 3-4 minutes, then drained and frozen using fresh water. When you are ready to use them they can be thawed, rinsed and then sautéed and put into gravy or other dishes.

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Kath’s quote: “The sudden appearance of mushrooms after a summer rain is one of the more impressive spectacles of the plant world”.- John Tyler Bonner


Love never fails.


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Foraging for Slippery Jacks by Guest Blogger-Alice Kulyk



This has been a great summer for collecting chanterelles, but yet frustrating when it comes to searching other varieties. A mushroom picking friend and I decided to take a drive out towards Woodridge in southern Manitoba, to look for the honey fungus mushroom or  ”peedpenky” in Ukrainian. We have checked several times in Belair but nothing growing yet.  I guess just not the right conditions happening.

Again, no peedpenky growing in the Woodridge forest yet. However, we did find loads of slippery jacks (suíillus lúteus) and some really good puff balls that were still white and edible. We picked for about an hour because we didn’t want to go home with empty baskets.

For several years I walked past the slippery jacks even though it was the favorite mushroom of Shorty, my mushroom mentor and mother of a very good friend. We would go to the Belair Forest with Shorty looking for a variety of boletes. She taught me almost everything I know today about good or bad mushrooms. The slippery jack tends to be very sticky so it may have a lot of grass or pine needles stuck to it. As the cap is sticky and slightly bitter it is best to peel off the sticky layer. You will find these in late summer to late fall in association with conifers. The best way to store this mushroom is to thinly slice and dry it for future dishes. If cooking fresh, it is best to sweat out the juices first on its own. Then strain well and save resulting liquid to be used in a sauce. Then you can add the mushrooms to other dishes. They have a very nice taste when fried or stewed.

Find out more:

Kath’s quote: “If only one could tell true love from false love as one can tell mushrooms from toadstools”. -Katherine Mansfield


Love never fails.

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How to Transport Foraged Mushrooms by Guest Blogger-Alice Kulyk


When I pick mushrooms I like to take a basket for collecting. The opening to my basket may be a little too big because as I walk the forest and bump into trees, debris falls into it. I would prefer a cleaner collection, but am too attached to my basket at this stage.  Since it is a bit bigger, I can collect a lot more mushrooms before returning to my car to empty it and go out again to collect more.

A lightly woven basket allows mushroom spores to be distributed as you walk about the forest to encourage more mushroom growth. I personally don’t like a plastic pail or bags as the mushrooms may sweat.


Stackable cardboard boxes for produce from Costco are absolutely a must for storing your mushrooms in the car. I always bring 3 or 4 of them. A large find of  mushrooms doesn’t get squashed the way they could in bags or large pails. Two or three pounds of mushrooms can easily fit in a box and stay fresh until you get home. They also breathe better in cardboard.

When walking through the forest hunting for mushrooms, I always keep my knife (not too sharp of one) in my basket till I come to a clump. I have tripped a couple times on a fallen log or hole in the ground. Keeping your knife in your hand could be dangerous if you fall.

It is also a good idea to carry tissue or a cloth to wipe your knife or hands in case you are cutting mushrooms that could be poisonous. It is always better to cut through the stems of a mushroom as you do not want to disturb the mycelia threads by pulling out the entire mushroom.

Kath’s quote: “Take a trip to the forest and experience the greatness of getting on your knees and picking your own food and going home… and eating it”. -Rene Redzepi

Love never fails.


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