In my quest for self reliance, foraging for food in the forest is a major step, and a free coffee replacement is great – chaga mushroom and dandelion root are two wild edibles that can do this for me. While neither contains caffeine, they have a remotely similar taste and color and are actually much healthier. I can’t say that I’ll replace coffee completely with chaga mushroom, but I do drink it almost every day, along with other herbal teas and coffee replacements. What you saw is all I do. Break it up, throw it in a kettle of water and simmer as long as you want. That kettle has a rough strainer in the spout to keep chunks out of my cup. “Earthy” is the only way I can describe it.
This spring, brewing chaga tea in maple sap has been eye opening – not only does it taste great, the pair seems to provide an immediate energy boost similar to caffeine. Free, natural wild edibles like this make off grid living in the wilderness that much more enjoyable, and the more I add them to my diet, the less I miss modern conveniences and commercial food.
As with all wild edibles, take only what you need and leave enough to keep the host and fungus healthy.
The chaga infection will ultimately kill the host tree, but the tree can survive for decades if not mistreated.
When collecting the chaga, leave some behind (about 15-20%) as this will help keep the chaga healthy and allow the sclerotia to regrow.
If the tree has multiple instances of sclerotia, leave at least one instance completely intact for the benefit of the chaga fungus as a whole.
Avoid harvesting the small specimens, and stick to pieces roughly larger than a grapefruit in size.
To see what I’m up to during the rest of the week, please follow me on my other online channels;
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/MySelfReliance/
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/myselfreliance/
My Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 20042