fall goal list : a new mushroom! - The Dainty Squid

fall goal list : a new mushroom!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I can cross one thing off my fall goal list. I found a new mushroom. Putting "find a new mushroom" on my list was kind of a gamble. I really can't help where things grows! Perhaps the goal should have just been "spend more time identifying mushrooms". Regardless, I found a mushroom I had never seen in person before and was able to identify it.
This is Coprinus comatus, the shaggy ink cap. Aren't they beautiful?!

Kevin and I were at the beach collecting beach glass for one of the last times of the season (well probably not, I'll search as long as I can bundle up warm enough and it's not frozen). We found some nice pieces but it was pretty chilly so I was ready to go home. While walking back to the car I spotted these guys in the sand near where the sidewalk started. I knew right what they were as they were already on my "to find" list.
After double checking they were in fact shaggy ink caps I knew I had to bring one home to study it further. Once a shaggy ink cap releases it's spores the mushroom will begin to autodigest, meaning the cap will basically just turn into a big black mess leaving only the stipe. I had planned on taking a photo an hour or so of it depending on how quickly it deteriorated. Unlike what I had assumed from what I had read it didn't really happen that quickly. Before the end of the day it had started to show black at the bottom and when I woke up it was nearly half black. By the end of the second day it looked like this...
After doing a bit more reading on them (once I identify one that strikes my fancy I maybe, kind of, becoming just a little bit obsessed!) I saw you could make ink from them (ink cap - get it!) and I most definitely need to try that. Not that I think it will even be efficient or better than my favorite pen but because I'm super curious and who doesn't want to get a letter that was written with mushroom ink? I will certainly let you know if I give it a spin, even if it doesn't work out for the best.

The day after I found them at the beach I really wanted to go back check out how the ones I hadn't brought home to study were doing.  They obviously didn't deteriorate as quickly as the others but you can definitely still see how it's changing already. Also if you take a peek at the sand right in front of mushroom you can see the spores. Isn't that super cool?!
 After a few more days I went back to the beach to check on the mushroom again and this is what I found. It always takes me by surprise, despite the fact I see it all the time, what a quick life cycle most mushrooms have.
 Pretty crazy, huh!?

I've got my fingers crossed I find more soon. I'm definitely interested in using them to make ink and quite possibly cooking some up. Shaggy ink caps are edible, supposedly they're pretty awesome fried in butter.
xoxo

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36 thoughts

  1. that's so cool. Does the ink smell like mushrooms?

    http://enidtwiglet.blogspot.com.au/

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  2. Wow.. that is wild! I love how it brings out that all-star naturalist investigator Nancy Drew in you. 'Caps' off to you! Thanks for sharing...
    from a fellow fungi' freak. ;o)
    mel
    needle and nest design

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  3. Usually mushrooms give me the creepy chills, but this one is pretty cool! I didn't even know that mushrooms could be used as ink. It looks like it sort of exploded in the last picture :0

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  4. So neat! My husband and I greatly enjoy hunting for morel mushrooms when they're in season :).

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  5. So cool!! I would love to see how the ink works out. I used to make ink from "black walnuts".

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    1. Ooh! That's such an awesome idea. I'm going to have to be on the look out for walnuts now. Making ink sounds like fun.

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  6. So neat! I've learned a little something today. Thanks for that!

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  7. Haha funny, can't imagine that you'll get a letter in your mailbox written with mushroom ink. Love the shape of the mushrooms, never seen them before.

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  8. Very interesting post, mushrooms have always been mysterious to me..

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  9. These are amazing looking mushrooms! I don't know how keen I would be on eating a mushroom you can get ink from though, just a little bit too weird for me xo

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    1. It's obviously not the same ink used in pens so it's not really all that weird. You're just able to make a substance you can write with from it. I'm sure you could make "ink" from all sorts of foods you eat every day.
      :)

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  10. You know, every time you talk about mushrooms I have a weird mix of emotions. Sometime fungal things gross me out, there is definitely some yucky looking plant life out there. But, I recently fell in love with eating mushrooms and when I think about pretty and fascinating mushrooms like the ones you find and photograph, I never think about eating them! I hope you find some again, I would love to see you write with ink from them and cook some up! Yum!

    xomando

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  11. Whoa, that mushroom is really interesting, I never knew you could make ink from them or that they grew in the sand! Very interesting, thanks for sharing. Can't wait to see your beach glass collection :)

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  12. that's so neat! Well, at least I learned something interesting today :)
    I've been noticing lots of mushrooms around my area, it's been very wet and the temperature has been all over the place, so they seem to be thriving! I am no mycologist however!

    --Erin

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  13. Did you eat any? I haven't tried them myself yet, but I hear they're pretty tasty before they turn black.

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  14. Beautiful and interesting, i'd love to see how the ink works out! Thank you for sharing x

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  15. Yay for crossing things off of goal lists! I've actually eaten shaggy manes lots of times before. They are good with butter. I also like to add a little bit of garlic. They grew in the backyard of my childhood home. Happy hunting!

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  16. Hii ^^
    Have you ever tried cooking mushrooms before? I live in Eastern Europe and we do that all the time, and they taste great! Considering you're really good at identifying them wouldn't put you at any risk of eating the wrong ones ;> Anyway, as far as I know, mostly you have to boil them at least one before frying them in a pan (I don't know about these particular shrooms though), and you can try them with boiled potatoes and sour cream, and also some fried onion.
    Best wishes,
    M.

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  17. That's crazy that that was on your to do list and you did it! Pretty interesting stuff!

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  18. this is so neat! i wonder how permanent the ink would be if you managed to make some? i didn't even think of letter writing but i was imagining hand stamped tights or hand towels— i can't wait to see if you get it to work! oh, and thanksgiving is coming up— i bet you could make a mean vegan mushroom gravy with those!

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  19. I'm glad I'm not the only one into eating mushrooms. Room mate hates them.
    I have always liked the idea of mushrooming but never actually find any around anywhere.

    Sara
    http://saraivy.org

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  20. this is amazing!!! So weird. I wonder if there are any time lapse videos of them autodigest ...
    There is!! It seems to stop before the best part though

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9uVN3gYgzc

    chloe

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  21. This is pretty funny to me because we have absolutely loads of these growing in our garden, it's always driving my mum mad as it messes up her lawn!

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  22. I adore everything about this post. The fact that a) it was on your to-do list for fall to find a new mushroom, b) you found one and knew what it was already, c) you took one home and watched it decompose, and d) you went back more than once to check on the remaining mushroom.

    I am a huge mushroom fan, although I don't know the names of many. In Jasper we have tons of them, so I make a habit of going out on mushroom hunting adventures. There's snow here now, so the mushrooms are long gone. But I do look forward to another mushroom hunting season next year.

    Happy hunting!

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  23. Weird .. I was looking for "coprin" this very weekend. We found plenty of them, as people usually prefer boletus and leave them aside. It's really tasty, but only when there's no greyish or even pinkish part. Otherwise, it's toxic !

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  24. Outstanding! This is such an exciting find. I'm hoping to get a mushrooms book for Christmas this year.

    <3 Melissa
    wildflwrchild.blogspot.com

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  25. That is so cool! I'd love to make ink and send someone a letter with it. Glad you caught them in time to see them and inspect :)

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  26. this is so cool! and pretty! and interesting! aaahhh I love it!

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  27. You are brave going down to the beach this time of year. I live in Willoughby and it's just been rain last couple of days. Has been really nice temp wise though... I had no idea a mushroom could grow in sand and I cant wait to see how the ink turns out!

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  28. We have at least 100 of these growing in our vegetable garden right now. They have been great in pasta.

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  29. Ohh nice find! I'm hoping to take my Mycology obsession to the next level soon and try growing some varieties at home :) Just got to be careful and find a space where I can comfortably grow pretties out of reach of my dogs!

    Alli xx

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  30. I admire your enthusiasm. Great hobbies. Interesting information!

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  31. Whoa! Really interesting! I'd love to hear how making ink goes for you, that sounds so fun!
    xo Heather
    http://ahopelessnotebook.blogspot.com/

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  32. I found an enormous one of these not too long ago (http://blog.ponypeople.nl/2012/06/shaggy-ink-cap.html) and it was just soooo weird! It appeared in a day and next day it was just one big inky splatter blob! So fascinating <3

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  33. My goodness, how I LOVE mushrooms! Seriously, I could eat mushrooms every day if I had to (actually...I think I basically do!) Thanks so much for sharing. I would LOVE to know how this turns out, if you do try preparing them!

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