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Thread: King Alfred Cakes

  1. Question King Alfred Cakes

    Hi All
    This is prob going to be the first of many post as i am very new to the world of bushcraft. I have read some books and now find myself actually looking when walking about in my local woods.
    On one of these walks I have found the king Alfred cakes. My question is what do i do with them now. How do I store them, how do i know that they are ready to use, when should i pick them.

    Hope you can help this blunndering novice

    Matt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Pembrokeshire
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    Pick 'em when you find them
    Dry then ia breathable container (paper bag, cotton stuffsack etc) not loose as they can leave loads of sooty spores on your radiator shelf
    Use them when they are dry
    Love makes the World go round......Lust makes it all go pear-shaped...

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    northern ireland
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    morning matty and welcome mate.

    i would remove your email adrress from your user name mate, you'll drown in spam otherwise !

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    taverham, thorpe marriott, norfolk
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    hi matt, i pinched this off woodlands.co.uk for ya. hope it helps

    Walking through a woodland you will often see ash trees with black blobs on them, usually on dead branches or on branches that have fallen off the tree. This has several names including coal fungus or cramp balls or King Alfred’s cakes. These hard, semi-spherical black lumps are usually about 3-4 cm in diameter and are the fruiting bodies of a fungus, which decays the dead wood of the ash tree. The photo shows the inside of one of these pictured on a log in my back garden – not on an ash tree.

    Legend has it that King Alfred, when in hiding from the Danes, once burnt some cakes by failing to take them out of the oven. These fungal growths, which look as if they have been burned, are a reminder of his poor cooking and hence are nicknamed “King Alfred’s Cakes”, but their correct Latin name is Daldinia Concentrica. They grow in either a black form or a dark brown – perhaps the lighter colour shows that Alfred did remember to take out the cakes before they were totally incinerated!

    The black variety can be very useful for lighting fires because the inner flesh, once dried out, can be easily lit from a “firesteel” (this is an “artificial flint” which creates a spark for starting fires, much used in bushcraft). A spark will ignite the flesh of the fungus and, although it burns slowly like a barbecue briquette, once it has been lit one can transfer the glowing part to a ball of tinder and get a flame started.

    Like so much in woodlands once you know to look for these you look out for them and see them very often.
    Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense

    http://bushcraftmunki.blogspot.co.uk/

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