Pembina Valley Wild Chaga Harvest Oct. 2021

Posted on Categories:Blog Posts, Harvest Stories
green and yellow trees in a forest

As with most of our greatest adventures, this one started as a simple hike in the Pembina Valley.

Pembina Valley region Manitoba, Canada.

There have already been a couple of frosts by now and so it did not come as any surprise that most of the choice edible mushroom harvest window had closed for this year. However, we always keep our eyes open.
It’s a good thing we did too1 Mixed in with the Aspen trees, a Birch stand showed evidence of a delightful surprise!!

Chaga growing wild in Pembina Valley, Manitoba, Canada.

Low and behold I was right!! There it was in the trees, the “king of mushrooms”, wild Chaga!

What is Chaga?

Inonotus obliquus, commonly called Chaga, is a fungus in the family Hymenochaetaceae. It is parasitic on birch and other trees. The sterile conk is irregularly formed and resembles burnt charcoal.

Harvesting wild Chaga in Pembina Valley, Manitoba, Canada.

Animal and test-tube studies found that Chaga extract may boost immunity, prevent chronic inflammation, fight cancer, lower blood sugar levels, and reduce cholesterol.

Once we successfully harvested the Chaga, we said a short prayer of gratitude to the Creator and we brought it home for processing. We set it up on drying racks for about two weeks. We placed the Chaga in jars and have saved 20g sample bags for those who may be interested!

Drying Chaga chunks.

Preparing Chaga

My prefered way to take the medicine is tea. Take a chunk and simmer until the water is dark, there is no science to this and the longer it soaks the more flavour it will have. Some folks leave the chunks in water all day. You can prepare it by placing it to steep on something warm like a stovetop or perhaps the woodstove however, simply boiling water and letting it steep in a cup works fine as well. You may want to powder it a bit more so that it mixes in a bit better! I often throw in a few pieces and reuse them over and over until the flavour fades as you can see below…

Preparing Chaga tea.

It has a slight vanilla flavour and is a wonderful coffee replacement. It is one of my fave teas!!

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