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Understanding Sepp Holzer's method for harvesting mushrooms  RSS feed

 
janet jacobsen
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I am new to foraging for mushrooms and I've been with friends who have taught me how to forage for chanterelles and oyster mushrooms. I ran across something sepp holzer said about harvesting; he says that the mushroom should not be cut, cleaned and the remaining parts left behind. Does he mean you should cut lower than the stem? This is on page 158 of "sepp holzer's Permaculture" book if this is helpful. I have been cutting low on the stem and placing in a basket then when I get home I brush the mushroom off with a soft brush and possibly trim a little more off the bottom of the stem. I have not cut down into the part the stem grows out of. I appreciate any clarification you can give me.
 
John Elliott
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It makes no difference.

Whether you cut the mushroom or yank it from the ground with little bits of dirt attached, all you have done is equivalent to pulling an apple off a tree. If some leaves and a twig come with the pull, it doesn't matter much to the apple tree. If you cut or pull up some dirt and mycelium, doesn't matter much to the hyphal net of the fungus. One advantage of cutting, rather than uprooting, is that it makes the job of cleaning in the kitchen much easier.

 
nathan luedtke
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The point he is making is that you shouldn't clean and cut up your mushrooms at the site of your mushroom patch. You should bring all your mushrooms in to the kitchen and clean them there, and give the trimmings to your hogs or compost.

This is because if you leave trimmings in the mushroom fruiting area, they will decay and provide a vector for that rot to infect your fruiting mushrooms. I think he compares it to peeling your apples over the apple barrel.

I think this is also why he advocates pulling up the mushrooms- pulling them allows them to cleave along natural lines (like the stem of an apple), while cutting leaves exposed surfaces that can invite rot. To follow on from John Elliot's example, you could compare it to cutting off the bottom half of an apple from the tree, which would invite all sorts of unwanted insect and bacterial activity.
 
John Elliott
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nathan luedtke wrote:
This is because if you leave trimmings in the mushroom fruiting area, they will decay and provide a vector for that rot to infect your fruiting mushrooms. I think he compares it to peeling your apples over the apple barrel.


That's not really how the lifecycle of mushrooms works. Mushrooms are just spore dispersing bodies for the underground (or inside a tree trunk) mycelial network. When they rot, they do so without infecting the mycelium that spawned them. There is even a genus of mushrooms, Coprinus, where the mushroom is not yet fully grown before the gill edge starts to rot and drip black spore-filled exudate. This is how they get their common name, ink caps. They can be quite tasty, but like squid ink, you have to look past the black color when you are cooking with them. Needless to say, this variety could never be commercialized, because a few hours after picking, all you have is a handful of black goo.
 
janet jacobsen
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Ok, I've been cutting on the spot and cleaning at home (never occurred to me to clean in the woods with all the ticks and chiggers around and making themselves comfortable on my body). Sounds like I'm doing it the "Sepp Holtzer way except, perhaps, cutting instead of pulling. Thanks!
 
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