Friday, December 18, 2009

Final Harvest of the Year

We're usually far south by now but this year has been a rather stationary year for us dogs and I'm enjoying the harvests of the late fall.

Like persimmons. They were the only fruit I never cared for. Past tense, because after tasting these guys, I've had to change my mind. They're quite different from the crunchy persimmons we had in Japan. You have to wait 'til they get really soft and then they're like this exotic, almost tropical jelly. Very interesting flavor! The small ones are about 2-3 inches in diameter, but the big ones are HUGE.

It's going to be a good season for mushrooms, too, with all this rain. Too bad I know next to nothing about them because some of them are downright yummy looking. Apparently our valley is famous for the variety and volume of mushrooms -- it's considered one of the mushroom "hot spots" of California! Neighbors keep warning us about trespassing poachers during mushroom season, but we've got rabid mushroomers on our ranch so it's doubtful there will be much left for the poachers. Here's a small collection of the different kinds I caught (on camera) during a brief stroll.







There are a few I can't even imagine picking up...but others look like they would be great in a cream of mushroom soup...like these that are sprouting all around our house.

And finally, chanterelles.
Actually the mushrooms in the photo above were a gift from the caretaker of a neighboring ranch and look a little different from regular chanterelles. They smelled and tasted the same...and we're still alive. For your reference, here's a USDA picture of a more typical chanterelle.

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