Monday, August 4, 2008

"...the world's mine oyster."

Pleurotus ostreatus hit me in the face. We were driving home a couple of nights ago when the high beams pointing uphill flashed on a tree sprouting billows of pillows of oyster mushrooms. "Stop! There's some oysters!" I yelled. Ted squeaks the brakes and pulls over nearly into the ditch on this cloud covered night. I pull a folding scissor from the "glove" compartment. (When was the last time you had gloves in yours?) There were pounds of these overlapping oysters, but most were too high as is often the case, unless you are lucky enough to find them on a fallen tree. They grow on deciduous live, dying, and already dead trunks. Oyster mushrooms do not have serrated or saw tooth edges and they have a stem, known as a stipe in the mycological world. More common are inedible polypores which also grow on dead trees, but they are hard and have no stipe. The next day we took our pole saw and lopped off the remaining bounty. This summer I could write a foodie poem about why I love the rain. Meanwhile, scan the wooded roadside and you may find a pearl in your own little world.