Edible Gardening

Are you going to EAT that?

Kousa Dogwood with fruit

Saturday, walking out of Jazzercise at the Summerfield UMC, my friend Lisa spotted this beautiful tree at the door and asked what it was. My reply: “A Kousa Dogwood”, these are the fruit, and BTW they are not particularly delicious, but they are edible.” Patty, our instructor, walked out just as Lisa was putting one in her mouth.  She screamed, “Don’t EAT That!”  It may be shocking to learn that there are actually LOTS of edible things in our landscape, and I learn more every time my Montagnard friends come over.

As I was trundling about my gardens today with my backpack of deer spray, there it was – the perfect edible mushroom, still young enough to be delicious. It was the kind of mushroom my Dad had taken us hunting for every summer after a big rain.  An Admirable Bolete!

Then it was like buying a new car, and you start noticing every other car on the road.  Here was another nice specimen, aahhhh… but if the underside turns blue when you write on it, it could give you a tummy ache!  And the funky black bolete…sure it is not poisonous, but it is definitely in my “I’m NOT eating that category.”

Blue bruising


Black Bolete

But right in front of my workshop, messing up my perfect pathway…OMG it was clumps of white chanterelles!  (Yes, the happy dance again!) This is the kind I saw in farm markets in German for $30 a pound!  Score!


Then the coolest of all.  I had only read about the “Indigo Milky”, it is truly a BLUE mushroom!  Honest this photo is untouched! When I cut it, thick, gorgeous blue “ink” flowed out of the stem and stained my hand.  Wow!  While it is NOT a poisonous mushroom, it is not considered “choice”,  so just love it for what it is … Wierd!         (CLICK ON PICTURES TO EXPAND THEM.)

Indigo Milky

Indigo Milky topside

So Jim and I had pasta with peas & pancetta tonight with Chanterelles, and also fried my big Admirable Bolete. They were delicious!  I expect we will be alive tomorrow but it is OK if you call and check.  A final word: DO NOT EAT mushrooms (or other wild things) until you are sure about them.  There are mushrooms that can make you seriously ill (and others that can make you believe that the pink  frog who reads to you at night is totally stealing your jewelry.)  My favorite Mushroom book is Edible Wild Mushrooms of North America, authors Fischer & Bessette.

And the last edible – my first BIG ripe fig from my Mission fig tree!   Remember I told you that most figs I had tasted were about the same and all yummy? My Brown Turkey fig IS as sweet as the Mission fig, but my pretty red “LSU” Fig is NOT ( & soon to be compost!)

Happy gardening!  Ellen

Mission fig