October is always an exciting time for a forager as it is the start of the mushroom season! The woods and walkways are layered with fallen amber leaves and there's a fresh chill in the air, what else would you really rather do than explore?
The month is devoted to the Birch Polypore and it is a fantastic fungi, it is available all year round and only grows on dead or dying birch so its very hard to confuse or misidentify.
Most would pass it as off and keep on foraging for other edibles as it has a slightly bitter taste,but you couldn't be making a bigger mistake. Besides the fact that all you need is a good recipe, if your a prescriper to the monthly blog you can find one there ;-) the benefits of this mushroom really are phenomenal!
If used to brew into a tea the Birch Polpore is a strong antiseptic, anti-imflammatroy, anti fungal ,strengthens the immune system and had been shown to help the immune system find and destroy cancer cells.
Not bad, but there's more, because of the small pores on the underneath of the mushroom and its firmness you can actually cut it into thin strips and it works perfectly as a plaster, a plaster already packed with antiseptic! When in strips it can even be attached to wood to make a strop to sharpen blades.
Dry your Birch Polypore out in a low oven or airing cupboard and it will set rock hard, it can then be carved for various things. It even burns incredibly slowly so perfect for transporting fire.
You may have heard of Otsi the Iceman from 3300bc even he was found to be carrying two types of mushroom, one believed to be for fires and other, Birch polypore for medisinal reasons.
I have attached a beautiful autumnal recipe for you that id love you to try, If you cant find any Birch Polypore then Oyster mushrooms would be great too. I must stress the dangers of foraging for mushrooms, Identification is a must. When hunting for new mushrooms always seek expert advice.