September 26, 2012
The Mycological Society of San Francisco entry for puffballs (Calvatia, Calbovista, Lycoperdon) says
Puffballs come in many sizes, some as small as a marble and some as large as a basketball. The name “puffball” is used here to refer to three genera of fungi, Calvatia, Calbovista, and Lycoperdon. Their surfaces may be smooth, covered with small or large warts, or ornamented with spikes. Puffballs are usually white and round, and are attached to the ground with little or no apparent stem.
Puffballs seem to prefer disturbed earth, and enjoy surprising the forager, for they are seldom the prey being sought. The largest ones are members of the genus Calvatia. It is estimated that the average mature specimen of C. gigantea contains 7 trillion spores stored inside the puffball!
Most puffballs are safe to eat, although rare reactions have been reported.
Two important notes:
- They must be all-white inside. Any shade of yellow or purple makes them inedible or upsetting.
- When cut, they must have a uniform internal consistency. The external appearance of immature Amanita species is similar to puffballs. However, the cap and gills of these unexpanded mushrooms become apparent when the egg-shaped fungi are cut in half. The Amanita genus includes the most poisonous species of mushrooms.
They note that puffballs are often known as the “breakfast mushroom” because they pair so well with eggs. Read on for some recipes.
You can also get a recipe for puffball fritters from the Cornell Mycology department where they note that if each of those 7 trillion (7,000,000,000,000) spores grew and yielded a ten-inch puffball, the combined puffball mass would be 800 times that of the earth. I’m not sure exactly what you can do with that knowledge, but here’s hoping it comes in handy.
More Michigan mushrooms on Michigan in Pictures.
September 10, 2012
Orange Pippin says that the Wolf River apple (first discovered along the river of the same name in Wisconsin) is:
A well-known American cooking apple, notable for its large size. Wolf River is mainly used for cooking, and it keeps its shape when cooked. It is fairly sweet and doesn’t need much sugar added.
Wolf River has a very high natural resistance to the disease apple scab, and good resistance to fireblight and mildew. It is also very cold hardy, making it a good choice for growing in the northern part of North America.
The Freep notes that the extreme damage to Michigan’s 2012 apple crop has created problems for those in the apple business:
Prices will vary, but consumers can expect fresh apple prices to be about 30% to 50% higher than last year, according to Bob Tritten, Michigan State University Extension Service fruit educator for southeast Michigan. Cider prices are up about 50%.
Last year’s Michigan apple crop was about 26 million bushels, said Dawn Drake, manager of the Michigan Processing Apple Growers Division, a branch of the Michigan Farm Bureau. But early warm weather forced the apple blossoms out early, and that was followed by several days of freezes, which killed most of the tender young blooms.
“This year they’ll be lucky to have 2 (million bushels),” Drake said.
Sergei didn’t think much of the taste when he tried it at the Tree-Mendus Fruit Farm in Eau Claire, but I read that the Wolf River doesn’t reach full flavor unless it gets hit by frost. Check it out bigger and see more in his Fall slideshow.
September 7, 2012
Here’s the latest in the always popular Michigan in Pictures Duckie Series.
Seriously, untouched—-exactly how it grew and the markings are natural…just a little saturation of color and edging but this is really Gods duck.
July 23, 2012
Peaches (like everything else) are ripening earlier this year and South Haven peaches are starting to show up at farm markets across the state. This nice Michigan Peach Industry History article from the Michigan Peach Sponsors begins:
The first peach tree in western Michigan was probably planted by William Burnett, who established a trading post on the west bank of the St. Joseph River a mile upstream from Lake Michigan in the 1780s. Burnett planted an orchard near his post and was credited with having taken great pains in caring for it. When the first permanent settlers reached the area in the late 1820s they found Burnett’s orchard healthy and still bearing fruit. Besides a few peach trees, the settlers also found a few seedling peach trees growing along the east bank of Hickory Creek and at the future site of the community of St. Joseph.
The next peach trees planted in Berrien County were at the Carey Mission in present-day Niles Township. In 1826 the Reverend Isaac McCoy, founder of the mission, had a peach orchard of “two or three hundred” trees.
Berrien’s earliest permanent settlers brought seedling fruit trees with them and planted enough trees to provide for their personal needs. Because trees took a long time to mature, some of the more resourceful pioneers budded their fruits on the roots of wild plum trees to acquire crops more quickly. Most early settlers planted apple and pear trees that were hardy and relatively disease resistant. They also planted a considerable number of the more delicate peach trees. Nearly every pioneer family had at least one. The growing of peaches was slow to catch on, but when settlers realized the region was suited for successful cultivation of the climate-sensitive fruit, peaches quickly gained popularity.
Read on for more and also see Ready to Pick: Peaches on Absolute Michigan.
More great Michigan foods on Michigan in Pictures!
July 7, 2012
The National Cherry Festival (July 7-14) kicks off today in Traverse City. From Black Diamond jets screaming across the skies to Cherry Queen candidates parading across the stage to all manner of parades, tasting events, concerts and games for all ages, this is the biggest party anywhere in celebration of Michigan’s mighty cherry!
One downside is that Michigan’s cherry crop was devastated by our wacky spring, but hopefully we’ll be back at the top of cherry production in 2013. Also see more about the Cherry Festival from Michigan in Pictures.
June 30, 2012
Yesterday I was talking with some folks about how tasty a daylily is. I’ve always called them tiger lilies, and last summer I learned that you can eat them so we stuffed the flowers and baked them!!
It’s important to note that these are NOT the poisonous easter lilies, and as with all wild food, know what you’re eating is of supreme importance. This article about harvesting and eating daylilies has some excellent tips and you might also enjoy dining on day lilies by Hank Shaw.
We interrupt this blog for a little commercial for a project that I and my co-workers have been hard at work on for the last several months. Like these grapes, it’s a long road from planting the vines to harvesting the fruit to crushing the grapes and making and bottling the wine. It all comes to fruition this Saturday June 30th from 3-10 PM at the Traverse City Wine & Art Festival.
The festival celebrates the wine, food & culture of northwest Michigan with a daylong party on the front lawn of the Grand Traverse Commons in Traverse City. In addition to 27 local wineries with over 150 wines, we’re bringing together 20 artists, 8 restaurants and some incredible music featuring Michigan’s own Orpheum Bell and national headliner Rusted Root! Click the link above for information
June 25, 2012
If duckies are your thing, view the complete Duckie collection at Michigan in Pictures.
May 21, 2012
May 17, 2012
“This is the worst that Michigan has experienced in the past 50 years at least. I don’t know how far you’d have to go back to find something similar.”
~Michigan Farm Bureau commodity specialist Ken Nye
Over on Absolute Michigan we have a report on the cataclysmic losses Michigan fruit farmers are facing in 2012.