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Tips for Hunting Wild Mushrooms

Tips for Hunting Wild Mushrooms

Picking mushrooms has been an important part of stocking the homesteader’s pantry for many generations. Lessons are passed down from generation to generation, shared with friends, written in books and presented in workshops. These tips will help you get started as a mushroom hunter and improve your skills and methods.

Chanterelle, Bolete, Coral mushrooms

Chanterelle, Bolete, Coral mushrooms

    1. Take a class or workshop before you pick your first wild mushroom. Better safe than sorry. One mistaken amanita could end your mushroom hunting days…permanently. The workshop or class should include a hands-on mushroom walk with an experienced guide. Or, go with a friend who is well versed in mushrooms and doesn’t hesitate to say “I don’t know what it is.” Look for workshops and classes through land trusts, cooperative extensions or organic co-ops.
    2. Invest in guide books. They are no replacement for a knowledgeable person but they do have a solid place in mushroom hunting. Read the books as needed, study the photos, look up answers to your questions. Write down questions that pop up as you’re reading. Look for guides with color photography.
    3. Have the tools you need. You don’t need much.
      • A knife. You’ll cut off the dirt-covered end of the stem to keep the rest of the mushroom lean. A sharp pocket knife is plenty. Dirty mushrooms can be hard to get clean so keep them as clean as possible.
      • Newspaper. A layer of newspaper between layers of mushrooms will absorb moisture and block dirt from falling to the mushrooms below.
      • A basket or other container to hold the mushrooms you’ve picked. It should be wide but not too deep. You don’t want to stack delicate mushrooms so high they get crushed. Recycled bread trays are great. They have plenty of room between trays for larger mushrooms and will stack as high as you have room to stack them. Line the bottom of each tray with newspaper.
      • Your guide books. This is when ebooks are handy. One Kindle weighs a lot less than three or four books and take up less room.
      • A camera is handy when you’re unsure of a mushroom you aren’t going to pick. Take pictures of the mushroom from different angles and of the surrounding. Knowing what kinds of trees are growing nearby, the amount or lack of sunlight and proximity to water can be helpful.
      • Paper and pen, in case you want to make notes or jot down questions.
    4. Start out in familiar territory and ask permission where necessary. Nobody need get lost over a mushroom. Stay on the trails when possible. Many of us hunt from the road and look into the woods and up and down banks. If you’re tagging along with an experienced hunter before courteous and respectful of that person’s favorite places, and don’t go back unless invited. It can take years to find a good spot.
    5. Leave some of the mushrooms in every patch you find. They don’t all grow in groups so there are exceptions. If you find a few leave one to spread its spores. If a mushroom is past its prime (“going by” or “gone by”) you should leave it untouched.
    6. Look around. Where are the mushrooms you find growing? Some varieties are very particular. They might grow only at the base of an oak tree or dying hardwoods, for example. Make notes:
      • “Chanterelles. At a hemlock near the stream.”
      • “Corals. On a decaying log on the road to Ben’s camp.”
      • “Unknown. Photo taken. Red top, white flesh and stem. Gills on top, solid stem.”
    7. Back at home, use your resources to make sure your mushrooms are safe if you have any doubt. If you’re still not sure you should pass on eating it this time.
    8. Clean the mushrooms by wiping them with a dry or slightly damp towel. Don’t get them wet.
    9. Try one new variety of mushroom at a time. If you have a reaction you need to know what mushroom didn’t agree with you. One or two bites of one cooked mushroom is a good start. Wait a few days between new varieties.
    10. A little salt and maybe some pepper are all you need for that first bite. You want to know if you like the taste of the mushroom. From there you can decide what you want to add when cooking.
Coral Mushroom

Coral Mushroom

Chanterelles are a popular mushroom that most people seem to favor. The going price in northeastern Maine right now is $28 per pound, and around $50 per pound in New York City according to friends who wild harvest and sell to chefs. Knowing that makes them that much better! This recipe is hard to beat.

Cooking Chanterelles

1 pound of Chanterelles, cleaned and sliced into 1/4″ thick slices
1/4 cup bacon fat
4 tablespoons butter
1 small, mild onion, diced

Saute mushrooms and onions in the fat and butter until the onions are translucent.

Lobster Mushrooms

Lobster Mushrooms

If you pick more mushrooms than you can use fresh you can put them up for later. Personal preference plays a large part in your preserving method. Some folks prefer to saute mushrooms in olive oil and then freeze them. Others can their mushrooms and some dehydrate their extras.

Ultimate Cheese Press Instructional Video

The Ultimate Cheese Press and More!

Wardee from GNOWFGLINS shows us how to use The Ultimate Cheese Press step by step. It’s very simple and seeing it in action lets us know we’re doing it just right.

You’ll find supplies you need to make cheese on our website. Calcium chloride and lipase are hereCheesecloth and muslin.  We have a great variety of cultures.

Do you need drying racks, funnels and other cheese making tools? We have two cheese making books. And kits. We have great cheese making kits.

And there’s more! You’ll find more cheese making supplies here.

Cheese Recipes

Bay, basil, sage, roasted bell pepper and olive oil makes a delicious marinade.

Bay, basil, sage, roasted bell pepper and olive oil makes a delicious marinade.

Farmer's Cheese with Garlic & Chive seasoning. Ultimate Cheese Press can be used to form a wheel.

Farmer’s Cheese with Garlic Chive seasoning

We’re proud of our American made products. Made in the USA, they keep our dollars in not just our country but in our communities.

Homemade Summer Drinks From Your Kitchen

Homemade Summer Drinks

Homemade Summer Drinks

Homemade Summer Drinks

Ahhh summer! It’s time for delicious homemade summer drinks that quench your thirst, taste great and are healthy. These recipes are child friendly. They can be turned into an adult beverage with the addition of your choice of alcohol. We know a lot of fruit and sweetener can be out of the question for many diabetics so we have a smoothie recipe that’s suitable for most everyone.

Garnishes are easy ways to make homemade summer drinks prettier and might add some flavor. Edible flowers such as chive blossoms, violets and rose petals are perfect. Be sure they haven’t been sprayed with pesticide. Sprigs of mint are great, and an established plant will continue to grow and provide more sprigs.

It’s easy to substitute fresh fruit in your summer beverages as they come into season. Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, gooseberries, plums, watermelon, cantaloupe, peaches, grapes, apricots…the list is long.

Freezing fruit to use in place of ice cubes will keep your beverage from being watered down as the fruit thaws. Pureeing fruit before freezing is a nice treat. As it melts you’ll be able to drink the fruit through a straw so you don’t lose it beneath the ice.

Coconut Peach Lemonade

  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave
  • 2 cups of coconut water
  • 2 peaches, peeled and pit removed
  • Juice from five lemons
  • ice
  • garnish – peach slice, spring of mint or a slice of lemon is nice

Put everything but the garnish in the blender. Blend on high until you reach the consistency of a Smoothie. Pour into a tall glass. Garnish and serve with a tall straw.

Freeze strawberries for "ice" cubes that won't water down your beverage.

Freeze strawberries for “ice” cubes that won’t water down your beverage.

Strawberry Watermelon Lemonade

It’s hard to beat sweet, juicy watermelon and strawberries on a hot summer day.

  • 3 cups of watermelon, seeds removed
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced strawberries. Slice one cup, leave 1/2 cup whole.
  • 1/4 cup agave or honey
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 4 cups sparkling water

Combine watermelon, 1 cup strawberries, agave or honey, and lemon juice in the blender. Blend until smooth, approximately 30 seconds. Stir in sparkling water and pour into glasses. Garnish with a strawberry.

Peach Smoothie

  • 1/2 cup sugar free yogurt, peach or vanilla flavor
  • 1 peach, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup ice

Combine all ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.


Container Gardening: Carrots

Anyone can grow something somewhere thanks to container gardening. How’s that for an abstract statement about a concrete subject? We can grow something somewhere. How about a pot of lettuce in the kitchen window, a celery stalk cut down and planted in a coffee mug, or carrots in a food storage container?

Carrot Container

Carrot Container

This container is 10 inches tall by eight inches across. I filled it with a 75/25 mix of ProMix and well-finished compost.

Choose a carrot variety that is at least an inch shorter than your container. I’m growing Napoli, a variety that grows up to seven inches long. They do well in containers, raised beds and in the regular garden.

Carrot seeds were planted one inch apart starting one inch from the outside of the container. You don’t need to measure. They’re carrots, they’re not that fussy. Carrot seeds must stay moist while germinating so I covered the container with plastic wrap.

Carrot seedling

Carrot seedling

You shouldn’t have to deal with many weeds when container gardening but just in case, this is a carrot seedling.

Carrot Container

Carrot Container

I moved the container outdoors as soon as the weather warmed enough during the day, bringing it inside on cold nights. Small containers like this one are easy to move around as necessary. On cold days that kept the container in the house I moved it to follow the sun if I walked by.

Napoli carrots grown in a container

Napoli carrots grown in a container.

Thin the plants as they grow. If you managed to get just one tiny carrot seed per inch you are my carrot-planting hero and I hope you’ll share your seed-spacing tips. I plan to pull every other carrot as they run out of room but it doesn’t always work out that way. Pull the carrots that need to be pulled. They should all be ready to pull within 10 days of each other.

If you’d like to start again you can dump the growing medium out, amend it with compost and replant. I use the same growing medium two or three times for carrots and once for a leafy green before dumping it into the garden and starting again.

Have questions? Leave a comment and we’ll come back to help.


Wonder Junior Deluxe Manual Grain Mill

The Wonder Junior Deluxe manual grain mill is diverse. It grinds grains, peanut butter, almonds and coffee beans! The Wonder Junior Deluxe is the only hand mill on the market that can truly grind nut butters. Nut butters are growing in popularity as we learn more about how our food is grown and processed, and they’re expensive. This hand mill will save you money, as will buying grain in bulk. Easily grind your grains into a fine flour or choose a heavier grind cereals – the choice is yours.

grain mill, wondermillComplete with stones, Burr heads (use these for coffee beans) and the clamp. And until the end of the year, a free drill bit adapter worth $29.95 is also included.

Like with many of our products, shipping is free in the lower 48 states.

Wonder Junior Deluxe manual grain mill features:

  • Beautiful Scratch and Chip Resistant Powder Coat Finish
  • Large Lifetime Lubricated Bearings
  • Heavy Duty Uni-Body Construction With Set Back For Easy Flour Collection
  • Clamps or Bolts To Surfaces Up To 2 inch Thick.
  • Large Hopper Holds Over 1 Quart.
  • Simple Texture Adjustment From Super Fine Flour To Cracked Grains.
  • Long 10 inch Easy Turn Arm.
  • Ergonomic Handle Grip.
  • World’s Only Patented Super Grip Dual Clamp. Will Not Slip Like Other Hand Mills.
  • Includes The Flour Guide, Cleaning Brush and an attractive storage box.

A redesign of the auger has made grinding flour much faster. It increased the output of flour per minute to 65% over the closest competitor, The Country Living Grain Mill. With this new auger the Wonder Junior Deluxe will produce over 1 1/4 cups of bread flour in 1 minute (80 turns). The Country Living will produce 3/4 cups of bread flour in 1 minute (80 turns). You’ll save time with each batch of grain you grind.

You can learn more about the Wonder Junior Deluxe manual grain mill by watching this video.

Tis’ the Season for Homesteading and Giving Gifts

Homesteading Supplies make the best gifts for everyone!

The holidays are just around the corner and traditionally are a time for reflection and gratitude.  But it’s also a time when we have to figure out what gifts we will need to give.  We at Homesteader’s Supply appreciate your business especially knowing that many of you have experienced hard times this past year.

thanksgiving web pictureHomesteader’s Supply is a home-grown venture, offering friendly customer service just like an old-fashioned store. You deserve to be treated well when you spend your money!  We were just selected as a 2013 winner of the Talk of the Town Customer Service Awards with their top rating!

Our store always tries to provide the best prices on our quality products, all year round, not just Black Friday or Cyber Monday, so keep checking in for our special sales!

So read on and get an idea of some of our homesteading supply products and best sellers.  Because of what is happening in our economy today, it’s a great time to buy functional gifts for your family and friends… gifts that can actually used for a self-sustaining endeavor, no matter how big or how small. And best of all, this is a good time to pick up a good offer for your own homesteading venture.


  • Encouraging self sufficient, self sustainable living and homesteading of all varieties… family farm, urban homestead, country homestead, or even in NYC!
  • Environmentally friendly products, U.S.A. made and manufactured whenever possible
  • Dairy Milking equipment and supplies!
  • Livestock care.
  • Poultry, equine, bovine and even pet supplies!
  • Canning / Preserving / Processing of Fruit, Veggies and Meat!
  • Heirloom Gardening
  • Cultures and supplies for Cheese Making! Even our own kits!
  • Variety of items for the homestead kitchen and so much more!

Check out some of our current best sellers:

Our own in house designed and manufactured Ultimate Cheese Press, almost two years in the making and go strong with overwhelming great feedback. cheese press

Very easy to use, ergonomically designed, presses your cheese the same every time!


And we also carry all the cheesemaking supplies you need to make just about any favorite cheese.   You will find only our HS Cheese Kits such as our best selling  Best Basic Cheesemaking Kit  and our Supreme Cheesemaking Kit which are flying out the door!   We designed all of our kits to contain the same supplies professionals use, and only the supplies you will actually use.  supreme_kit_2







Interested in fermenting supplies?  We offer our own designed and manufactured Pickle-Pro Lids to fit both wide mouth and regular mouth sized canning jars.  Lacto-Ferment all your veggies and fruits into delicious foods which are better for your health.  We even offer fermenting cultures and the Polish Crocks!   PP05

4gal fermenting crock






What a great time to get a good deal on Meat Processing Supplies!  All of our smokers are on sale.  Homesteading folks and others just love the Country Smoker… smoker inside







And then another best seller is our Stainless Steel Manual Meat Grinder

10 SS meat grinder


And we have everything else you might need like jerky and sausage making supplies, meat tenderizers, meat mixers and patty makers, and more.  Don’t see what you are looking for, give us a call.. We carry the three main suppliers products… Weston Products, TSM, and LEM…  and we can probably get what you need.  Want to bargain for a better price or better shipping charge… you know website software is not always accurate and we want you to pay exactly what is charged to your home. So give us a call if you have any questions about a product you want.

Here is a great peek at some of our other best sellers for your homestead.  We have used many of these products on the HS homestead and put our stamp of approval on them.  How about the Squeezo Strainer and Sauce Maker  which we believe is the best strainer out there and will last a lifetime… hs squeezo4sm





The WonderMill Electric Grain mill wondermill






WonderMill Junior Manual Grain Mill  … the delux model has both burrs and stones and so it can do just about anything.  Dry and Wet grains… even your coffee beans!wondermill_junior_deluxe





Now would be the perfect time pea sheller newto get the Electric Mr Pea Sheller!  Most folks wait until their crop of beans come in and then need a sheller yesterday, Get prepared and be ready! This unit will last you a very long time.


And a few of our other best sellers….

wine press stainless Stainless Steel Wine Press… these go very fast!


Everyone needs a Stainless Steel Dehydrator! It’s the way to dry and preserve a good part of your bounty… veggies, fruit, jerky etc.  ss dehydrator






Not everyone needs one of these, cherry stonerbut it sure comes in handy if you have a large crop of cherries to pit.  This Cherry Stoner is all Stainless Steel and at a great value. Will last a lifetime!






And of course, let’s not forget our furry friends!  Eco-Naps-w-Dog luxury_cat_beds_greta Organic-Bumper-w-Dog-OttoWe now carry Pet Beds made here in the United States with natural materials.  We decided to carry these products because of the company standards in providing a great natural product to ensure our pets will be healthy and happy! And of course, a great way to support another American Small Business!








Well folks, we hope you have enjoyed our presentation of suggestions for gift giving this holiday season.  We wish everyone a time full of peace and happiness!

Have questions or concerns, or just want to say hey… give us a call.

From all of us at Homesteaders Supply, we wish you all a wonderful and safe holiday season! jerri HS_logoNewSm