Tag Archives: Fungi

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Russians Put Frog in Milk to Prevent Spoilage

Click on the title to link to the original scientific article describing how they found many antimicrobial compounds secreted by frog’s skin.

This study was inspired by the old practice of Russians in putting frogs in their milk to keep it fresh!

1280px-European_Common_Frog_Rana_temporaria

Rana temporaria. Credit: Wikipedia

The ancestral art of keeping milk fresh had a clever, simple solution for Russians; put a russian brown frog, aka the common frog (Rana temporaria) in it! This frog (which ranges across Europe and has many congeners across temperate areas such as the US) secretes a battery of antimicrobial compounds, preventing the milk from bacterial or fungal growth and souring.

I doubt it affected the milk flavor much if at all. I don’t think it’s disgusting; what sure is gross though is tasting or smelling rotten milk!

The only other way known to keep milk fresh without refrigeration (also accomplished of old by constructing chambers to trap cold air from springs or cold creeks), is to let the microbes take over and grow cheese or yogurt!

Note there is a frog in the tropics called “milk frog,” but since its name comes from the toxic milky secretions it exudes from its skin, it may not be a good choice as a milk preservative!

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Oyster Mushroom Gathering

Ringtail Cats

The rains have finally begun here in the east SF bay area, and you know what all they promise?…. Mushrooms!!! That’s right, from the toxic to tasty, they’re a-springing up everywhere in the dank woods.

Now being from a highly fungophobic culture, no one has ever personally showed me what wild mushrooms are good to eat. Although Chris Hobbs once ID’d some pics I’d taken of a Boletus sp. for me back when we were co-gsi’s for intro bio:

Boletus rubripes Boletus rubripes – bitter bolete

Boletus rubripes - bitter bolete Boletus rubripes – bitter bolete

But with All That the Rain Promises and More, plus Mushrooms Demystified by David Arora, perhaps the best field guides ever written on any subjects, I’ve finally gone and collected huge bunches of wild edible oyster mushrooms, and feasted on their tasty flesh!

I was also able to identify some toxic and artistic mushrooms on the same foray!

I love eating…

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