IMPORTANT NOTE: Mushrooms can be dangerous and even deadly! Be careful and know what you’re eating. As the saying goes: “There are old mushroom hunters, and bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters.”

Black Trumpet

Black Trumpet, photo by I am Jacques Strappe

The Michigan Morel Hunters Club features mushrooms that are in season in their Mushroom of the Month. One of the late summer mushrooms they have  highlighted are Black Trumpets (Craterellus cornucopioides):

Black Trumpets (aka horn-of-plenty) mushrooms are a wonderful edible mushroom that grows in Michigan from July through September. They are fragile mushrooms that look like a cornucopia (horn-of-plenty) or maybe like trumpets but are black or gray instead of gold. Despite somewhat funereal descriptions and European names (trompette de la morte in French and trombetta dei morti in Italian), they are very tasty mushrooms that can be widely used in cooking. They are strongly flavored mushrooms with a fragrant aroma. Their strong flavor and aroma allows them to be used in a wide variety of dishes. Though they are difficult to find, they are definitely worth pursuing. Fortunately, they grow in clusters so there often are many where one is found.

…Trumpets are ideal for sophisticated dishes because of their fragrant aroma and strong flavor. Because of their fragrant aroma they are often dried and pulverized for use as a seasoning for everything from soup to steak. They are very easy to dry requiring only a few hours in a dehydrator or a couple of days of open air drying. They are delicious sautéed in butter with parsley and chives as a side dish.

Read more at the MMHC including how to identify them. A good thing is that the only similar mushroom (black chantarelle) is also edible! Also check out these black trumpet photos and ID tips at MushroomExpert.com.

Marjorie says that they found a grove of these tasty critters and harvested a large bag full of them … and that they smell like apricots. View her photo bigger and see more in her surprisingly large fungus & lichen slideshow. There’s lots more from Marjorie on Michigan in Pictures including her multi-day Michigan Photographer Profile.

More mushrooms on Michigan in Pictures!

U-Pick peach

U-Pick peach, photo by Alissa Holland

“Life is better than death, I believe, if only because it is less boring, and because it has fresh peaches in it.”
― Alice Walker

Peaches are rolling in at farm markets all across Michigan.  A favorite article that Michigan History Magazine shared on Absolute Michigan tells the story of A Peach of a Man:

Many people have contributed to Michigan’s fruit industry, but Stanley Johnston stands above the rest. Johnston not only developed a new peach that is the most widely grown peach in the world today. He also made Michigan the nation’s leading producer of blueberries.

Johnston was the superintendent of Michigan State University’s (MSU) experiment station in South Haven from 1920 to 1969. There, he developed a better peach. Johnston took peaches that had good features, like ones that ripened at different times or did not turn brown when canned or frozen. He took pollen from the male plant and joined it to the flower of the female plant. When the fruit grew, he collected seeds and started a new tree. When the tree produced fruit five years later, he could see if he made a better peach.

During his career, Johnston grew and studied more than 20,000 peach trees. Eight different types, called “havens” (for South Haven), were planted by farmers. Havens ripened earlier, so the peach-growing season was longer, which meant more peaches could be grown and sold. One of these peaches, named Redhaven for its nice red color, is the most popular peach in the world today.

Johnston received much praise for his work with peaches. Comparing him to an artist, one man called Johnston a “Picasso among peach breeders-a plant breeding artist.”

Read on at Absolute Michigan and definitely get down to your local farmer’s market for some peachy goodness!

Check Alissa’s photo out bigger and see more in her Michigan’s west lakeshore slideshow.

More food on Michigan in Pictures.

farmersmrktMQT_starwberrysmichigan_0471square

farmersmrktMQT_starwberrysmichigan_0471square, photo by CreateWithKim

Ed Vielmetti has his annual strawberry report up for 2013.  He reports that in the Ann Arbor area they’re expecting the first strawberries next week or early the following week. As you move north, the first strawberries move back a few days.

Kim shot this a few years ago in Marquette – check it out bigger and see more in her Farmer’s Markets slideshow.

More strawberries on Michigan in Pictures!

 

May 30, 2013

May 30, 2013, photo by rickrjw

As you can see from Rick’s photo taken yesterday, 2013 has blessed Northern Michigan with a strong morel season that is still going strong while lilacs are out! Doesn’t get much better than this!

Check this out on black and see more in Rick’s giant Boyne City, Michigan slideshow.

Of course there are morels & lilacs aplenty on Michigan in Pictures!

A day's find

A day’s find, photo by HLHigham

Morels are popping up all over, and though you might not find 98 like Heather did, even a handful of these delectable  mushrooms will make it all worth it. If you’re in the Boyne City area this weekend, they hold their annual National Morel Mushroom Festival. You might also be interested in Five Things You Need to Know about Michigan Morel Mushrooms on Absolute Michigan.

Heather got this tasty haul near Rapid City and she might write about it on her blog, Rapid City Recess. Check it out background bigtacular and see more in her slideshow!

Lots more morel goodness on Michigan in Pictures!

morel in the wild

morel in the wild, photo by the little red hen

Reports are trickling in from around the state about morels, including some tasty photos from yesterday of morels folks are finding on the Michigan Morel Facebook. Michigan in Pictures has a ton of morel mushroom information to help you find these elusive but delicious delicacies.

Check this out on black and see more in Lynn’s In the kitchen… slideshow.

Speaking of slideshows, don’t miss the morel slideshow in the Absolute Michigan pool on Flickr!

Maple syrup 2

Maple syrup 2, photo by Deb Perry Studio

One of the best things about spring for my money is that it’s the one time of year that you can make maple syrup! Michigan ranks 5th in the US in maple syrup production, and the Michigan Maple Syrup Producers Association has a page about the history of maple syrup production that shows we’ve been a maple syrup player for a long time:

Native Americans have many wonderful stories about how they began making maple syrup. The first is the legend of Glooskap. Many, many, many years ago the Creator had made life much easier for man. In fact, in those days the maple tree was filed with syrup and all man had to do was cut a hole in the maple tree and the syrup dripped out. One day the young prince Glooskap (known by other names in other tribes) came upon a village of his people that was strangely silent. There were no dogs barking, no children playing, no women minding the cook fires, and no men getting ready to go hunting! Glooskap looked and looked and finally found everyone in the nearby maple grove. They were all lying at the bases of the trees and letting the sweet syrup drip into their mouths. Even the dogs were enjoying the syrup. “Get up, you people,” Glooskap called. “There is work to be done!” But no-one moved.

Now Glooskap had special powers, and he used these powers to make a large bark container. He flew to the lake, filled the container with water and flew back to the maple grove. When he poured the water over the trees it diluted the syrup so it was no longer sweet. ”Now, get up you people! Because you have been so lazy the trees no longer hold syrup, but only sap. Now you will have to work for your syrup by boiling the sap. What’s more, the sap will soon run dry. You will only be able to make syrup in the early spring of the year!”

…The Chippewas and Ottawas of Michigan tell a similar story of the god NenawBozhoo, who cast a spell on the sugar maple tree many moons ago, turning the near pure syrup into what is now called sap. He did this because he loved his people and feared they would become indolent and destroy themselves if nature’s gifts were given too freely. This legend is unique in that, in various forms, it can be found almost universally throughout the Eastern Woodland Indian tribes. This is unusual for cultures that did not have a written history.

Read on for more about how the process and techniques have evolved through the years. Michigan in Pictures has a ton of photos documenting the process of making maple syrup. that you’ll want to check out as well!

See Deb’s photo on black and see how it fits together in her maple syrup slideshow.

Today is National Pie Day!

January 23, 2013

National Pie Day ~ January 23, 2012

National Pie Day ~ January 23, 2012, photo by Trish P. – K1000 Gal

Today (Wednesday, January 23rd) is National Pie Day. A whole day just for pie? The Pure Michigan Blog explains:

Created by the American Pie Council, ‘Pie Day’ is dedicated to celebrating America’s love of pie. And in Pure Michigan, we know and love pie. In fact, Michigan produces:

  • More than 50 percent of the nation’s apple slices and is the largest supplier of apple slices used in commercially prepared apple pies.
  • Roughly 75 percent of the country’s tart cherry crop every year. Those are the ones that go into pies, juice and preserves.
  • 25 percent of the national highbush blueberry crop (110 – 180 million pounds)

While there are many flavors and variations of this classic American dessert, nothing makes for a better pie than using pure, fresh ingredients and fruits – Michigan’s surrounding Great Lakes and rolling hills create a perfect climate for fruit-growing and is a leading producer of many popular pie fruits that can be found in local bakeries as well as national store-bought brands.

To celebrate, Pure Michigan has teamed up with the Grand Traverse Pie Company to offer fans on Twitter the chance to win an entire pie every hour between 10 AM – 5 PM on the 23rd. Just tweet your favorite type of pie to both @PureMichigan and @GTPie. Tweets must include the hashtag #puremichiganpie and entrants must follow both Pure Michigan and Grand Traverse Pie Company on Twitter. Click through for more.

Trish made a peach/blueberry pie with Michigan fruit: Peaches from Steimel & Sons Farm in Suttons Bay, Leelanau County and blueberries from Hazen’s Farm in Howell, Livingston County.  Click to see it on black  and get lots more tasty goodness in Trish’s Michigan Harvest slideshow.

Michigan Bean Elevator - Saginaw, Mi

Michigan Bean Elevator – Saginaw, Mi, photo by jhoweaa

I know that many of you have been losing sleep because you don’t know the location of the world’s biggest bean elevator. You can rest easy now, because Waymarking.com explains that the largest bean elevator in the world is in Saginaw MI:

As a young man, (Albert L.) Riedel was one of the organizers of the Producers Elevator Company of Port Huron which later grew into the Michigan Bean Company. He was elected secretary of Michigan Bean when it moved its headquarters to Saginaw’s Bearinger Building and he was only 27 when he was named general manager of the company.

…In 1937, Riedel became president of the company as well as general manager and served in that capacity until the firm was sold to the Wickes Corporation in 1955. As president of Michigan Bean, Al Riedel pushed the idea of selling packaged, trademarked beans to the retail market instead of relying on bulk sales.

He was instrumental in making the Jack Rabbit brand of beans known all over the world. And it was while Riedel was president that the famous Bean Bunny neon sign was erected at the top of “the world’s largest bean elevator”.

The Bean Bunny, now proudly relit, has become one of Saginaw’s most beloved symbols. During World War II, too old for active service, Riedel volunteered as a dollar-a-year-man and served as a consultant attached to the Quartermaster Corp. He revamped purchasing and shipping programs and designed and developed waterproof bags for shipping food overseas.

You can learn a lot more about the Bean Bunny sign and see photos at mLive. The Michigan Bean Commission has tons of information about Michigan beans.

James also has some information about the bean bunny on his blog as well. You can also buy a print or a card there. View his photo on black and see more in his Interesting slideshow.

More from Saginaw on Michigan in Pictures.

FARMERS MARKET Nov 2012-963

FARMERS MARKET Nov 2012-963, photo by RichardDemingPhotography

The story of Thanksgiving is one of our country’s oldest and best stories. At the heart of it is the sharing of the rich and diverse bounty of the land.

Michigan is the second most agriculturally diverse state, and here’s hoping that some of Michigan’s varied fruits, vegetables, meat and other local and tasty foods will make it to your table today and throughout the holiday season.

See this bigger and in Richard’s massive Farmer’s Markets 2012 slideshow.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

More Thanksgiving on Michigan in Pictures.

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