Our property is dominated by trembling aspen, a very common tree found in the northern forests of North America. On these trees grow the Aspen Oysters (Pleurotus populinus). They’re generally found on dead or dying Aspen from late spring through to mid summer in cooler climates. Clusters of these shelf like mushrooms are usually found close to the base of trees, but we’ve also found them up a little higher, which required the use of a long stick to knock them off the trunk.
The mushroom itself is quite soft and delicate. They break apart easily, so care must be taken when harvesting, handling and transporting them from the bush to the kitchen. One very distinct attribute of these mushrooms is a faint anise or black liquorice like aroma. It isn’t an overwhelming black liquorice aroma, but it is definitely there and is one of the easiest ways of identifying this species of Oyster mushroom.
Its easy to harvest far more Aspen Oysters than you can eat while they are fresh. These mushrooms are easily canned, and we have a canning recipe just for that! Check out our canned Oyster Mushroom recipe to learn how. It’s easy!
First Things First – Mushroom ID
National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms – It doesn’t get handier than this. It’s a great resource to have for mushroom identification. With more than 700 mushrooms detailed with color photographs and descriptive text, this is the most comprehensive photographic field guide to the mushrooms of North America. If you intend to forage mushrooms, this is a valuable resource.
Spore prints produced by Aspen Oysters (Pleurotus populinus) are white to very slight greyish in colour. Using spore prints for wild mushroom identification is a highly recommended method of determining what species of mushroom you are looking at.
*Disclaimer – If you intend to forage for your own wild mushrooms, be sure you know exactly what you are harvesting and consuming. Many wild, edible mushrooms have deadly look alikes. When in doubt, throw them out.