With cold and flu season in full swing I spent some of my holiday break foraging for immune support around the homestead and one of my favorite go to mushrooms for this has become the Piptoporus betulinus aka Birch Polypore... though some updated science will direct you to its new taxonomy of Fomitopsis betilina. This mushroom was made famous by the Ice Man discovered frozen in the Alps in the 90's and his presence dated back 5,400 years ago. In his possession was this mushroom that was also found in his digestive tract. The benefits of this mushroom are that its properties are anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral as well as having immune-boosting properties.
I found it most accessible by slicing it into quarter inch slices and simmering it for 2-3 hours. The potency seems to withstand a couple batches and I usually spruce its bitterness with fresh squeezed lemon juice and a dribble of homestead maple syrup and a dash of dried ginger powder.
Simmering is better than a full boil and I usually strain it gently and label it so I know what and when I made it.
It is a very easy mushroom to forage as it doesn't have many if any "looks-a-likes" and it seems the birch logs I used for our garden beds are a great source for finding them but any forest with a decent stand of birch trees should reap some opportunity to find some. The most likely spot to uncover it is on fallen birches or almost dead standing birches.
Stay healthy and don't let a little frost and snow keep you from spending some time outside!
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