Posts tagged #Black Trumpet mushrooms

Some News, and Videos on Scion Storage and Cleaning Black Trumpet Mushrooms

A couple of videos and a little news on apples and flowers! It's grafting season.  A lot of people have probably already finished their scion trading, but here is my take on storing and shipping scions.  I was so caught up in the details that I kind of forgot the basics, like store them in the refrigerator.  If it were more comprehensive, it would also include storing the scions without refrigeration, which maybe I'll do later, but same basic concepts apply.  Mostly, I was trying to address the potential of excess water and the use of paper to cause problems.

And for those of you who are lucky enough to have black trumpet mushrooms in your neck of the woods, this video is on how I clean them really fast, and dry them. It also includes a (what in my opinion is an all too short) rant on efficiency and work as a symbolic activity.  It is a long video for how to do something really fast, but I think the stuff about intention and mental attitude is just as important as the physical part, and it will save your a lot of time in the long run if cleaning large quantities.

DOOOOODS!!!  Two flowers from the first batch of Daffodil Seedlings grown from seeds pollinated in 2011 have put forth flower buds!  The bulbs arestill rather small, so I wouldn't be surprised if they are under-developed, but that's still pretty exciting, especially considering that I haven't taken stellar care of them.  I figured I was at least another year off from seeing anything.  I seem to pick breeding projects that take a long time.  Daffodils typically take about 4 years or more, and apples 5 or more years.  They should open within the week, at which point I may have to update the Daffodil Lust series with a new post.  Even more exciting, one of the seedlings is from Young Love, the daffodil that inspired it all!

Young Love seedling
Young Love seedling

I just recieved 50 apple rootstocks in the mail for grafting up my latest round of red fleshed apple seedlings, and last year's pollinations are sprouting up in the greenhouse.  Good news, I just talked to my friend Freddy Menge, who is sort of my apple guru or early inspiration.  We talk about apples on the phone about every other year.  He's getting results from his apple seedling trials, which I believe are mostly open pollinated, but he has a good collection of quality hand selected varieties growing, not just some random stuff.  He say that he gets more apples that are worth eating than ones that aren't.  That's just what I suspected when I started my breeding project and what Albert Etter seemed to be saying.  It also is totally at odds with what passes for common "knowledge".  He has sent me two of his seedlings that I'm trying out, one I've been calling King Wickson (not sure if he has a name for it) which he thinks is a King David x Wickson cross.  The other selection is Crabby Lady a small, more intensely flavored version of the latest ripening apple here, Lady Williams, also thought to be crossed with Wickson crab.  Crabby Lady ripens at the same time as Lady Williams, and sounds like a real improvement on an already very good and super late apple, so that really got my attention.  I'm hoping King Wickson will fruit this year, but I just grafted Crabby Lady this past week.

Freddy also said that about 1/4 to 1/3rd of his red fleshed apple seedlings have red flesh.  I was hoping for a little higher percentage than that, but such is life.  I may do some crosses between red fleshed apples this year to try to reinforce the red fleshed trait.  Another amateur plant breeder just contacted me through the blog who is also gearing up to do some red fleshed apple breeding.  Yay for grass roots apple breeding for the masses!

I'm off to get ready for the farmer's market in the morning.  Not much in the way of vegetables to sell anymore, but I cleaned up selling Erlicheer narcissus flowers on Valentines day and have a new batch ready to go.  It's nice to have that plan working out.  The Erlicheer are planted along both sides of a row of oblique cordon apple trees, so they require no extra care other than what I already do in taking care of the apples.  By the time the apples are leafing out, the flowers are thinking about going to sleep, so they have nearly opposite seasons

Flowers for market.  !Kaching!
Flowers for market. !Kaching!

Black Trumpet Mushrooms

The Black Trumpet mushroom, also known as Trompette de la Mort and Horn of Plenty, is a delicious winter treat in Coastal Northern California.  These relatives of the Chanterelles appear from around December through April up here, but are usually at their best January through March.  They will have growth flushes throughout this period.  Black Trumpets dry and reconstitute very easily retaining a rich flavor and aroma.  Because the dried mushrooms are available to us all year, have become a cornerstone of Turkeysong cuisine.

The mushrooms vary greatly in shape and size.  Tidy symmetrical specimens are somewhat rare with the majority being some manifestation of folded, twisted, doubled, twined, lopsided, inside out or otherwise mutant looking.  Because they look much like dead leaves or pieces of bark, it takes some experience for one to be able to spot them consistently.  The fruiting bodies tend toward gregariousness however, so if one is found there are usually at least a few more very close by and occasionally multiple pounds can be harvested from a patch.

The Black Trumpet is a mycorrhizal mushroom, meaning that it associates with certain species of trees- the mycelium of the mushrooms exchanging nutrients with the tree’s roots.  This mushroom, like many other mycorrrhizal mushrooms, prefers to associate with the Tan Oak (Lithocarpus densiflora).  We have an abundance of Tan Oak, and we have an abundance of Black Trumpets!

STORING:  The fresh mushrooms can be stored for a few days to a week if left unwashed.  Cover them with a damp cloth out in the cold weather or put them in the fridge.  Do not put them in plastic.

The dried mushrooms will keep well in airtight containers in a cool area.

CLEANING:  As the mushrooms are emerging from the ground, they pick up a lot of dirt, leaves, bugs and other crunchy, chewy goodies.  We have streamlined the process of removing these unwanted items.  Tear the mushrooms in half lengthwise from the top of the funnel to expose the interior surfaces of the .  If there are still folds that are closed, tear again lengthwise to expose all interior surfaces.  Put the mushrooms in a generous sized bowl with enough water to easily stir and slosh them around.  Slosh for 15 seconds or so and then remove the mushrooms from the water.  The grit will all sink to the bottom.  If this rinsing process is repeated three times, the mushrooms should be 100% grit free.  For the less fastidious, two rinsings should be adequate.

DRYING:  If you have more fresh mushrooms than you can eat, or you want to stretch your Black Trumpet supply out over the whole year, drying the mushrooms is easy.  Wash as above, but spin in a salad spinner to dry.  The mushrooms dehydrate quickly above the woodstove, in the sun, or in a power sucking plastic landfill destined piece of dehydrator junk.  The dashboard of a car makes a great drying area.  They are best placed on a permeable and slatted surface such as a basket.  If a cookie sheet or other vapor proof surface must be used as a last option, lay several towels on it first.  Try to dry the mushrooms quickly.

RE-CONSTITUTING: The dried mushrooms reconstitute quickly enough to be a good last minute addition to dishes with adequate moisture.  If using dried mushrooms on top of pizza or in other drier preparations, you can reconstitute them by brief simmering.  Do not waste the cooking water!  Only a very small amount of liquid is need and the excess can be cooked down until there is little or no liquid and the flavor is mostly reabsorbed by the mushroom pieces.


The Black Trumpet mushroom may not look like the most delicious thing ever, but it is very tasty and is a prized element of French gastronomy, which gives it major credibility right out of the basket.  The flavor is decidedly savory and somewhat  reminiscent of aged cheese.  Cooking develops the flavor.

These mushrooms are not only imminently edible, but they are also versatile and can lend their special savoriness to many different ingredients and combinations.   In our kitchen, Black Trumpets find their way into an increasingly wide array of preparations.  Hardly a day goes by where they aren’t used and most days they are used more than once.

We cook on the fly here and even when we follow recipes, they are usually modified or adapted to the ingredients on hand and in season, so I’m presenting guidelines more than recipes.  There are many Black Trumpet recipes online.

Black Trumpets, fresh or reconstituted, are delicious on pizzas and foccacias.  The dried mushrooms can also be crushed lightly and added to the the dough or to other savory breads.

Soups, stews and slow cooked moist meats are all good destinations for the Black Trumpet.  Wherever it’s salty and savory, the trumpet will often fit reasonably to exceptionally well- Beef stew, chicken soup, slow cooked meats with onion and herbs, miso soup and preparations with meat broth to name a few.

A flavorful sort of sauce or drizzle can be made quickly by simmering a handful of Black Trumpets in a small amount of stock or even plain water and then thickening slightly with Arrowroot powder or Corn starch.  Pour this over some grilled or broiled fowl breast, cauliflower or broccoli, or a discreetly sized mound of pasta.  A light sprinkling of aged cheese will generally complement well.

When heating oil for a stir fry, scrambled eggs, sauteed onions or other dishes, try crushing a small amount of the dried mushrooms into the oil.  This is a great Black Trumpet trick.  It is fast and easy and infuses the whole dish with flavor.

Rich, nourishing and flavorful Greek meatball egg and lemon soup is a favorite dish around here.  Our version uses Black Trumpets in the meat balls.  It is best made with lamb, but goat, beef, venison or pork will all make delicious meatballs.  It is preferable that the meat be reasonably high in fat such as one would use to make sausage, at least 15% though closer to 30% would be best.  Season the meatballs with adequate salt (use more salt than you would for just meatballs because most of it will end up in the stock.  Taste the stock as soon as the meatballs are cooked through and add more salt to taste).  Add crushed spearmint and pepper.  A small amount of dried oregano and/or thyme is optional.  Fresh finely minced parsley is mandatory.  We like to add a small amount of minced preserved lemon peel as well.  Add a small handful of dry rice grains to the meatball mix.  Don’t forget the dried and crushed, or fresh minced Black Trumpets!  Add small bite sized meatballs carefully to simmering water and cook gently until done.  Turn off the heat and remove the lid so the soup will cool.  Mix 2 to 4 egg yolks in a bowl with a few tablespoons of water. Stir the yolks while very slowly drizzling in some of the slightly cooled stock so as not to cook the yolk.  Just before serving, add the yolks back to the broth and squeeze in lemon juice to taste.

We’ve discovered that Black Trumpet sausage is excellent!  Salt pepper and Black Trumpets, thats it!

Posted on April 5, 2012 and filed under Uncategorized.