Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Illinois
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Nature Bulletin No. 34   September 29, 1945
Forest Preserve District of Cook County
Clayton F. Smith, President
Roberts Mann, Supt. of Conservation

The Jimmies are here! Sunday, September 23, the first bunch was found at the base of an oak stump in one of the Palos preserves. The Jimmie, so named because it appears about September 28, the name-day of St. James, called Vaclavky in the Czech language, is one of the finest edible mushrooms. When it comes, and how abundant they are each year, depends upon moisture and temperature conditions. The moon has nothing to do with it, but you can't convince the Bohemians of that.

It grows in clusters at the base of dead oak trees or on their stumps, and out along their decaying root systems. It is the fruit of the shoe-string fungus that spreads underground along the roots of dead, unhealthy or weathered trees and on up the t rungs beneath their outer bark.

Its Latin name is Armillaria melba. "Melees' means honey, and the Jimmie is also commonly known as the "honey" mushroom, It has the distinctive honey color. Because it is very solid and firm, and has a delicious flavor, it is preferred by most mushroom hunters -- particularly the Bohemians -- above all the hundred or more edible species commonly found in the Chicago region.

They can be canned in salt brine, or dried and hung in bags in an attic for future use, They can be broiled, fried in butter, cooked with eggs or in soup, and the immature ones -- "buttons" -- are superior to the commercial varieties when cooked with a steak.

So when you see vacant cars parked along the highways these days, you will know that the occupants are out slowly searching the woods for Jimmies, carrying a basket or sack and a long sharp knife, It's a fascinating pastime. It' s free.

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