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Yep.  Looks like it is a little past prime.  Likely will be on the same tree again next fall though.  Make a mental note for next year!

Found these two little ones growing right next to the one I've been tracking with photos.  Don't know how I missed them before.  

Watch your step and take a look around before breaking out your mushroom dance!

image.jpeg

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How does one know when they are ideal for picking?  Not a shroomer myself.  Been watching this forum for awhile and trying to learn, I was walking and trying to ID some for my folks in Thier "yard". One large chicken, and two of these hens and various others I don't have a good ID on yet, not likely of edible variety.

Thanks guys.

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I'm far from an expert, but I'll share my (limited) experience.  Younger is almost always better than waiting.  They grow fast.  Early in the season, I've found the bugs/worms get in there within a week.  Later in the season (October) I've had better luck letting them grow longer.  But one week seems to be a good guideline for me.  I've read they are good to eat until they start "sporing out" by turning white/dropping spores.  But they will probably be buggy before then in my experience.

It's my favorite mushroom, but it's also been hit or miss for me.  Sometimes the ones I find are so full of dirt/debris, that it's like eating a bowl of grape nuts cereal.  You can't really soak or scrub the dirt out because the mushroom grows around it on some.  But if you can find a young, clean one - they are awesome!

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Nice!  Were those the three you've been photographing?  Keep posting - not much activity on here and your pics are the only thing bringing me back.

I harvested my first hen last weekend.  It was just over a week old, but had worms/bugs and too much dirt.  I tried to just pluck the cleanest portions, but it was still too gritty for me.  As I've wrote before - I find them hit or miss because of that problem - especially September hens.

The good news is I find hens in Sept, October and even into November by me (South of Twin Cities).  I've had much better luck with hens in Oct.  I think the cold weather keeps the bugs/worms down.  So, I'm pretty confident I'll get a good one soon.  In fact, I had another baby starting on a different tree last week which I'll probaly harvest tomorrow.

Happy Shrooming!  With all this rain, I'd think it should be a good next few weeks.

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Not the same three I've been tracking. I passed one of these three on to a friend and cleaned up the other two.  No bugs to speak of.  One was really clean, but I had to be a bit picky with what I kept from the other one.  I don't like eating too much sand either!

Another pic with the cleanest one flipped over.  They really are a nice looking mushroom!

image.jpeg

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Yeah.  I never really read anyone else mention the sand/grit on hens.  I was starting to think I was the only one who had a problem.  My process has been to clear leaves/debris away from baby hens so they don't become part of the mushroom as it grows.  But I wonder if that process contributes to more dirt getting splashed onto the hen when it rains as there isn't a leaf barrier between bare dirt and hen?  IDK.  Just something I've been trying to figure out.  I don't like eating leaves/twigs/grass anymore than sand/grit - so I guess pick your poison.  The clean ones are really fantastic though.  And unlike most mushrooms, you only need to find one and you have plenty for a meal or three.  I'll be walking my woods today to check on the one I left last week is ready and see if any more are popping.

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I'm not sure what is best, but I will say that the cleanest of these three had come up through a pretty thick layer of leaf litter, and the dirtiest one was right along the edge of a trail where it was pretty well exposed.  I could definitely see that the recent rains had splashed sand and dirt on the top and underside of the dirty one.  The one that had been in the leaf litter had very little sand/dirt to clean off.  

Either way, we had scrambled eggs with maitake for breakfast - yummy.

Good luck today!

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Hmmm...you have me leaning towards just letting the next one grow over the leaves vs. clearing debris as I have been doing.  It will be a good experiment.  Speaking of which, the one I had left last week (just a baby) was total mush today when I came back.  That was a first for me (I've only been doing this a few years).  It didn't look like it grew much in the week.  Today, it was like a rotton apple i.e. soft/discolored.  Bummer.  I guess too much rain?  Who knows.  It's still early.  There will be more.  Glad you were able to get a good meal out of yours.  That sounds great!

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That's a lot of hens Caddis - nice find!  I had three babies just starting last weekend in my woods, so I'm hoping to get some this weekend.  I've found hens through October by me (South of Metro), so we still have a full month of good shrooming ahead of us.

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Nice to see the hen pics, guys.  It was a crazy year for them, that's for sure. 

The key for me when eating them is to make sure the underside is completely white. As soon as the underside gets even a little off-white, the taste goes downhill, at least for me.  Sometimes that happens when they're the size of a softball; othertimes they'll be 30 pounds and still perfectly fine. 

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