Alberta experienced a lot of rain along with warm temperatures that made the perfect conditions for mushrooms to flourish. I have a secret mushroom forage area* located in the dense wooded areas of the foothills in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. While in any wooded area it is important to note that you are a visitor and its possible you may come across animals that are in the area. Staying on a trail and being alert in the forest is important to staying safe.
Mushrooms are not quite plant nor animal and are formed by their mycelium deep in the undergrowth of the forest. When conditions are right, they begin to pin, developing a foot and cap, then forming into what we know as a mushroom. Reishi, chaga and shiitake are a few species of mushrooms that have been used for hundreds of years for their medicinal properties – they are full of antioxidants which help boost the immune system.
I often forage in areas of tall pine trees and when the wind blows, there is a cool refreshing scent of pinene in the air. Pinene is a terpene that is found in pine and spruce trees, and it can also be found in garden herbs like rosemary and dill.
This year was a bummer crop for the species Leccinum boreale or commonly known as the red cap mushroom**, its name given for its distinctive red cap. These mushrooms grow large but the small ones are best for eating; the bigger ones can be dried and used in soups or sauces.
After a successful day of foraging I can find myself with too many mushrooms and preserving them is necessary. My favorite way to preserve some of the season until next year is to clean, slice and dry excess mushrooms at 110 C in a dehydrator. The red cap mushrooms, when dried, have a unique aroma of dark brown sugar and nutty caramel.
I love mushrooms for their umami taste, intriguing texture and sometimes bizarre appearances. I have included two cannabis edibles recipes highlighting mushrooms and pinene. The first is a classic pairing of parsley, garlic, rosemary vinegar and broiled mushrooms. These would make a great snack that is quick to prepare or could be served as an hors d’oeuvre at an infused dinner party. The second is a not so classic pairing for a semi-sweet mushroom cheesecake with roasted pecans and strawberry pinene syrup.
Infusing the syrup with some freeze-dried spruce tips, rosemary and strawberry jam along with a cannabis strain high in pinene (such as Shishkaberry) adds the perfect balance of sweet, sour, fresh and savory to the cheesecake.
Makes 2 portions of infused mushroom bites at 5mg per portion.
This is an easy, delicious salad to prepare for a dinner party. I love these mushroom caps, as when you eat the whole button cap the liquid inside is pure mushroom flavor.
You will need:
1 lb button white mushrooms
¼ cup picked parsley
¼ cup chopped parsley
1 tbsp olive oil for the mushrooms before going into the oven
1 tbsp cannabis-infused olive oil (equivalent of 10mg***, choose a strain high in Pinene)
1 tbsp rosemary vinegar
2 pinch sea salt
1 tbsp fresh garlic slices
Fresh cracked pepper to taste
Makes 4 portions
You will need:
125g (approximately ½ block) cream cheese at room temperature
5g dry red cap mushrooms (porcini mushrooms can be substituted)
¼ cup 18% cream
1 tsp beet sugar to taste
2 tbsp roasted pecan pieces
Makes 4 tbsp cannabis-infused syrup at 5 mg per portion
You will need:
3 tbsp strawberry jam
2 tbsp water
¼ tsp fresh dried rosemary
¼ tsp freeze dried spruce tips (can be substituted for ¼ tsp fresh dried rosemary)
¼ tsp decarboxylated cannabis (equivalent of 20mg***)
*Mushroom hunting is fun, but exercise extreme caution when foraging as lots of wild plants and mushrooms are not safe to consume. Never consume any wild mushroom before consulting with an expert first. Only forage in approved areas and in accordance with local laws.
**The red cap mushroom in this recipe is Leccinum boreale, not to be confused with the poisonous variety Amanita muscaria, which also has a red cap.
***Cannabis doses vary based on personal preference. This dose is not a recommendation on behalf of Zenabis. For more information on dosing, remember to “Start Low and Go Slow” and reference Health Canada for guidance.