oysterclusterhartwood4It’s amazing what a little bit of rain and conducive temperatures can do.  A sugar maple that was just a sugar maple last week is now a sugar maple overflowing with oyster mushrooms.

That’s the way nature works, and I don’t mind.  Nothing is static, changes are swift, and everything unfolds in perfect time.

Oyster mushrooms, as holograms of nature, teach another valuable lesson:  there is no end to the mushroom season.  If there was, when would it be?

October?  What about the late-fruiting maitake and honey mushrooms?  November?  How about the blewits and brick caps?  December?  There’s enough enoki to fill several baskets.  January?  Hello new year, and hello oysters.

You see, oyster mushrooms are among the world’s top edible fungi.  They’re easy to identify, making them popular among wild mushroom hunters, and they’re also easy to cultivate.  In other words, there’s no shortage of these delectable decomposers.

What’s especially fascinating is that oyster mushrooms, particularly Pleurotus ostreatus, can be found even in the middle of winter.  When the lakes are frozen and the only green in sight is the backdrop of coniferous trees, oyster mushrooms — if the conditions are right — can be found.

If you’ve never experienced the thrill of finding wild oyster mushrooms, I can help.  While hiking through the woods in Western Pennsylvania one late December afternoon, I encountered a beautiful cluster of oyster mushrooms.  With a camera in hand, I decided to create a brief video explaining their key identifying characteristics and medicinal benefits.

If you’re interested in learning more, I encourage you to check out the video!

Enjoy!