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Topic: The Edible Mushroom Thread, ..and what you make with them< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 27 2011, 2:17 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

So, I don't know about the rest of you, but one of my favorite things to do on the trail is find wild mushrooms and incorporate them into our meals during trips.  It adds a really fun element to our trips, as searching for mushrooms is sort of like a modern day treasure hunt! It also adds that element of "fresh foods" that is often lacking on backpacking trips, and you don't have to carry any extra weight since you hunt for mushrooms along the trail!   

It must be noted, right off the bat, that you should never eat a mushroom you've found on the trail unless you are ABSOLUTELY sure you can positively identify it.  There are many types that can cause gastrointestinal distress, and a few that can kill you, so the importance of correctly ID'ing mushrooms cannot be overstated.  Also, even if you can positively ID the mushroom, if you haven't eaten it before, as with any new food, do not eat it on the trail; instead try it at home, in case you have an allergic reaction to a non-poisonous, edible mushroom.  Better to figure that out at home than in the backcountry!

For identifying mushrooms:  your best resource is to go with someone who's an experienced mushroom hunter... if they'll be willing to show you their mushroom spots  :D  Also, a book Eclectic and I have found really helpful is "All the Rain Promises, and More" by David Arora.  It's a GREAT field guide to mushrooms, with color photos, detailed descriptions of the mushrooms' key features, where the mushrooms can generally be found, and even includes some recipes.  It's also sort of pocket-sized so it can be brought on the trail without adding too much weight.

To get the thread started, below are some photos of mushrooms we've found on the trail, and a few ideas of how you can incorporate the mushrooms into your trail diet.   If you've found some cool edible mushrooms on the trail, please post pics!

The Chanterelle Mushroom


chanterelles are one of my favorites!  They are very easy to identify, incredibly delicious, and really fun to "hunt" thanks to their orange coloring.  
My favorite way to eat them is with a little olive oil, sea salt and pepper, on a pizza, or in baked chanterelle puffs (these puffs were made at home, but the recipe is simple enough for the trail too):


The Morel Mushroom

The morel is another one of my favorite mushrooms.  It has such an incredible flavor.  I hear these grow all over in the pacific northwest...but down in San Diego we have to hunt pretty hard to find these guys.  

Eclectic and I had an impromptu hunt for these on Friday night (in the mud, in the dark, in nice clothes.  Not your typical date night!  :D).  We're going to make morels stuffed with goat cheese, cream, sherry, nutmeg and garlic over pasta tonight, I'll post pics and the recipe (from All the Rain Promises and More) if it turns out well!

And last, but definitely not least for this post...

The Candy Cap Mushroom


These mushrooms are pretty surprising for most people...because they can be really sweet!  When dried (and to an extent, when fresh) they smell and taste like maple syrup!  Even leaving one tiny candy cap out to dry on your kitchen counter can make your house smell like maple syrup, it's incredible.  Because of that, you can use them in desserts!  I made candy cap cookies last night, and they tasted fantastic!  Whoever would have thought mushrooms could be used in desserts?

I've also seen recipes where people made candy cap cheesecake (I'll be trying that soon!) and candy cap cupcakes!

There are so many fantastic mushrooms out there, and as people who frequent the backcountry we have a great chance to access them!  

If you have any cool edible mushroom pictures, stories or recipes, please share!  :-)


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 27 2011, 3:31 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

You are far, far braver than I am.  There is no way I would risk eating wild mushrooms on the trail, even if I were pretty sure of what it was.  A dude here (a mushroom expert with 30+ years experience) died a couple of years ago after eating a wild mushroom he'd foraged while hiking.  Before that, I would likely not have risked it, but after?  No way.

(At least not with a kid at home who depends on me.)


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 27 2011, 6:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

yum. I would definitely want to be with someone who knows mushrooms. I know morels, but then there is the false morel.

take it from one who had her stomach pumped at the age of 4 from eating "toadstools", you better know what you are eating out there.  :blush:


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 27 2011, 7:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'll eat berries galor but I am soooooo chicken with wild shrooms! Though I did use to have a secret patch of Morels behind my house when I lived on the Island. Yum!

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 27 2011, 7:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

PS: What is funny are the fungi pickers here in Washington - they are VERY territorial, holy cow :O Many are from Eastern Europe. Once they see you are a hiker then they are nice though :p In fall on the PCT they are all over - they sell to the pricey restaurants in Seattle, huge business!

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 27 2011, 10:26 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(CajunHiker @ Mar. 27 2011, 3:31 pm)
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You are far, far braver than I am.  There is no way I would risk eating wild mushrooms on the trail, even if I were pretty sure of what it was.  A dude here (a mushroom expert with 30+ years experience) died a couple of years ago after eating a wild mushroom he'd foraged while hiking.  Before that, I would likely not have risked it, but after?  No way.

(At least not with a kid at home who depends on me.)

yeah - you gotta know what you're doin'. i don't know about the deceased expert you're referring to, but often the 'experts' really are not very good at identifying mushrooms. i follow poisonings in the paper, as does my mushroom club, and the logic these 'experienced' mushroom hunters employ often seems pretty poor. ie: they are not 'experts' - not by a longshot.

i'd suggest joining a local mushroom club - mycology club - and going on field trips. they're called forays. the folks in the club are generally unbelievable foodies....................

'all that the rain promises,' i agree, is a terrific book - at least for the western united states. don't know about the midwest or east.........
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2011, 12:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(sarbar @ Mar. 27 2011, 7:53 pm)
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I'll eat berries galor but I am soooooo chicken with wild shrooms!

That's funny...I feel pretty comfortable with mushrooms, but would never eat any wild berries!  I don't know too much about wild berries, so I guess that's where my reluctance comes in.  I hope to learn more about berries!  And I'm SO jealous that you had a patch of morels near you!

Damnedjose:  I totally agree that you really need to be sure what you're doing; mushrooms aren't something to play lightly with.  

That being said...I posted the above mushrooms because they are all pretty easy to identify (even the morels, as the differences between a true morel and a false morel are pretty noticeable once you've seen both types).  I'd say the chanterelle is one of the easiest mushrooms to identify, and there's nothing that can kill you that looks like them if you DO somehow ID them wrong; the Jack O Lantern and the False Chanterelle look the closest to the true chanterelle, but there are marked differences that make it easy to figure out if you're looking at a Jack O Lantern, False Chanterelle or true Chanterelle, both in terms of the way the mushrooms look and where they are growing.

To err on the side of caution, I would never eat any white mushroom I found on the trail, as the stakes seem to be a lot higher for white mushrooms since there are so many types that look pretty similar to amanitas, including delicious looking edible mushrooms that look VERY similar to the Death Cap and Destroying Angel mushrooms (the two most lethal mushrooms).  It's just not at all worth the risk when there are plenty of other delicious mushrooms that are far easier to identify.  I'm pretty certain Eclectic and I found a HUGE patch of fairy ring mushrooms (can't remember their scientific name) very close to his house, and those mushrooms are supposed to be delicious, but neither of us would consider eating them without someone more experienced ID'ing them for us....and even then I'd probably be hesitant.  Better safe than sorry!

It's definitely best to go with someone who is experienced at identifying mushrooms, and a mycological society is great for that!

Mushroom hunting on the trail is SUPER fun though, so if you're willing to put in a little time learning to identify a few types of mushrooms, it can add a whole new element to backpacking (and trail cooking!)  :D


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2011, 12:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Also, here's a photo of the pasta I made with the morels Eclectic and I gathered on Friday night:

Lucky for us, the pasta tasted better than it looks in this pic :-)

It was a simple (and not at all healthy) recipe with cream, goat cheese, shallots, garlic, parsley, salt, pepper, nutmeg and pecans, and we baked the morels in the sauce, poured it over pasta and topped with sliced steak.  It was delicious!


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2011, 10:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It looks absolutely delish!  :)

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 28 2011, 11:47 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I LOVE mushrooms and live in an area that has lots of morels, puff balls and shaggy manes.  Not sure if I have the right names for the last two but that is what they are called around here (northern Indiana).  Unfortunately for me, morels (the easiest and most plentiful to find) do not agree with me.  Nothing life-threatending, just very disagreeable gastrointestinally, to put it politely.  Still fun to hunt and I never have trouble giving them away.  My kids love them too so I cook my fair share as well...
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(medicmom @ Mar. 28 2011, 11:47 pm)
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I LOVE mushrooms and live in an area that has lots of morels, puff balls and shaggy manes.  Not sure if I have the right names for the last two but that is what they are called around here (northern Indiana).  Unfortunately for me, morels (the easiest and most plentiful to find) do not agree with me.  Nothing life-threatending, just very disagreeable gastrointestinally, to put it politely.  Still fun to hunt and I never have trouble giving them away.  My kids love them too so I cook my fair share as well...

I haven't seen any puff balls or shaggy manes in person, just in books!  Morels are plentiful to find in your neck of the woods?! I'm jealous!  They're really tough to find in San Diego!  

Just a thought, but when you've eaten morels, have you had wine or any alcohol with them?  For some reason drinking any alcohol with morels seems to exacerbate the ill effects, so I've read.  If you consistently get sick I doubt alcohol is the problem, but it it made me think of alcohol.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2011, 1:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I've had ice cream made with mushrooms... Might have been candy caps. The shrooms were from California.  Tasted like maple nut ice cream - it was good!

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(Dicentra @ Mar. 29 2011, 1:25 pm)
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I've had ice cream made with mushrooms... Might have been candy caps. The shrooms were from California.  Tasted like maple nut ice cream - it was good!

yes!  If it tasted like maple it was most likely candy caps.  Awesome!  Maybe I'll try to make some ice cream with my next batch.  

Eclectic and I opened our bag of candy caps last night from Saturday's forage, and discovered they all went moldy  :(  Just an excuse to go play in the woods to get some more, I guess  :laugh:


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(adventurelawyer @ Mar. 29 2011, 10:38 am)
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(Dicentra @ Mar. 29 2011, 1:25 pm)
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I've had ice cream made with mushrooms... Might have been candy caps. The shrooms were from California.  Tasted like maple nut ice cream - it was good!

yes!  If it tasted like maple it was most likely candy caps.  Awesome!  Maybe I'll try to make some ice cream with my next batch.  

Eclectic and I opened our bag of candy caps last night from Saturday's forage, and discovered they all went moldy  :(  Just an excuse to go play in the woods to get some more, I guess  :laugh:

Where do you live? I don't think we have those here. (Seattle area).

I so need to get back into the mushroom hunting... :)


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2011, 1:54 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

And some Mushrooms just add some color to your vision. :D

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2011, 1:55 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(Dicentra @ Mar. 29 2011, 1:42 pm)
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(adventurelawyer @ Mar. 29 2011, 10:38 am)
QUOTE

(Dicentra @ Mar. 29 2011, 1:25 pm)
QUOTE
I've had ice cream made with mushrooms... Might have been candy caps. The shrooms were from California.  Tasted like maple nut ice cream - it was good!

yes!  If it tasted like maple it was most likely candy caps.  Awesome!  Maybe I'll try to make some ice cream with my next batch.  

Eclectic and I opened our bag of candy caps last night from Saturday's forage, and discovered they all went moldy  :(  Just an excuse to go play in the woods to get some more, I guess  :laugh:

Where do you live? I don't think we have those here. (Seattle area).

I so need to get back into the mushroom hunting... :)

I live in San Diego.  There are some candy cap spot locally, but more so up toward Santa Barbara (that's where we do most of our mushroom hunting)

Yeah, mushroom hunting is the best! I just joined the San Diego Mycological Society (and looked at their pictures and realized I'll probably be the youngest one there by 30 years, but who cares!) :D


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2011, 1:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

LOL!!

It was like that when I belonged to SCMS. All retirees. But they were all super nice.

I'll be in your area next month. Come by ADZPCTKO (google it) and say hello if you can. :)


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(Dicentra @ Mar. 29 2011, 1:59 pm)
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LOL!!

It was like that when I belonged to SCMS. All retirees. But they were all super nice.

I'll be in your area next month. Come by ADZPCTKO (google it) and say hello if you can. :)

I was actually thinking of going to that! I'm fascinated by the PCT and have fantasies about quitting my job, packing my life into storage for 6 months and hitting the trail.  Maybe some day when I don't have crazy student loans to pay off  ???  If I go I'll PM you before hand so I can stop by and say hi!


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(adventurelawyer @ Mar. 29 2011, 11:04 am)
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(Dicentra @ Mar. 29 2011, 1:59 pm)
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LOL!!

It was like that when I belonged to SCMS. All retirees. But they were all super nice.

I'll be in your area next month. Come by ADZPCTKO (google it) and say hello if you can. :)

I was actually thinking of going to that! I'm fascinated by the PCT and have fantasies about quitting my job, packing my life into storage for 6 months and hitting the trail.  Maybe some day when I don't have crazy student loans to pay off  ???  If I go I'll PM you before hand so I can stop by and say hi!

Absolutely!!

Hoosierdaddy is flying down with me, so you'd get to meet him too. Ben2World and Colton were there last year too... Fun to meet forum peeps.

We fly down on Thursday morning. I'm speaking in the Pavillion on Friday (not sure what time yet) then I'll have a vendor table all day on saturday.

It is the BEST hiker party of the year. You have no excuse not to come if you live in the area. :)

Just a heads up...  if you plan on camping, you have to register on the website ahead of time.


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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2011, 3:07 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

While I wish I could confidently pick wild mushrooms, this ol' boy is gonna stick with easily identified berries.  

Every time I think of trying to learn mushroom ID, I think of the old Clint Eastwood movie, "The Beguiled." :O



EDIT: I do know about the 'shrooms that bleed blue; but, I am crazy enough without such foolishness.


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(adventurelawyer @ Mar. 29 2011, 12:44 pm)
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I haven't seen any puff balls or shaggy manes in person, just in books!  Morels are plentiful to find in your neck of the woods?! I'm jealous!  They're really tough to find in San Diego!  

Just a thought, but when you've eaten morels, have you had wine or any alcohol with them?  For some reason drinking any alcohol with morels seems to exacerbate the ill effects, so I've read.  If you consistently get sick I doubt alcohol is the problem, but it it made me think of alcohol.

I was introduced to shaggy manes by a neighbor.  He had ridden his horse over and we were standing in the lane talking.  He pointed to a couple mushrooms along the side of the lane and asked if we were going to eat them.  I'm sure I probably gave him a look something along the lines of "hell no, I'm not eating that", LOL.  I didn't realize at the time they were even edible.  They grow in the same area every year and I still haven't gotten the courage to try them after my problems with morels.

I'm sure I've tried morels without alcohol.  My family has cooked them up for years.  Crops vary from year to year but we always manage to find some.  One year we found over 250.  They sell for $20+/lb but I usually end up cooking them for the kids and giving them away.  They are fun to hunt even if I don't eat any.

I'd love to try the candy caps.  I've never heard of them so I'll have to do a little research to see if they even grow in Indiana.
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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2011, 7:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(medicmom @ Mar. 29 2011, 4:09 pm)
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I was introduced to shaggy manes by a neighbor.  He had ridden his horse over and we were standing in the lane talking.  He pointed to a couple mushrooms along the side of the lane and asked if we were going to eat them.  I'm sure I probably gave him a look something along the lines of "hell no, I'm not eating that", LOL.  I didn't realize at the time they were even edible.  They grow in the same area every year and I still haven't gotten the courage to try them after my problems with morels.

I'm sure I've tried morels without alcohol.  My family has cooked them up for years.  Crops vary from year to year but we always manage to find some.  One year we found over 250.  They sell for $20+/lb but I usually end up cooking them for the kids and giving them away.  They are fun to hunt even if I don't eat any.

I'd love to try the candy caps.  I've never heard of them so I'll have to do a little research to see if they even grow in Indiana.

Over 250 morels?! Wow!  That's how chanterelles are in certain areas in southern california.  Eclectic and I will spend an hour or so foraging and come back with about 30-40lbs! (and usually a few itchy poison oak rashes too, unfortunately! :angry: )


My family members think I'm turning into some crazed hippie.  Who knows, maybe they're right  :D


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(adventurelawyer @ Mar. 29 2011, 6:32 pm)
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My family members think I'm turning into some crazed hippie.  Who knows, maybe they're right  :D

Mine too - my sisters talk about the weird things I grow in my yard and the things I like to cook with them.  If I brought home a crate of shrooms like that, they'd probably commit me!  :p

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PostIcon Posted on: Mar. 29 2011, 11:37 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(adventurelawyer @ Mar. 29 2011, 4:32 pm)
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(medicmom @ Mar. 29 2011, 4:09 pm)
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I was introduced to shaggy manes by a neighbor.  He had ridden his horse over and we were standing in the lane talking.  He pointed to a couple mushrooms along the side of the lane and asked if we were going to eat them.  I'm sure I probably gave him a look something along the lines of "hell no, I'm not eating that", LOL.  I didn't realize at the time they were even edible.  They grow in the same area every year and I still haven't gotten the courage to try them after my problems with morels.

I'm sure I've tried morels without alcohol.  My family has cooked them up for years.  Crops vary from year to year but we always manage to find some.  One year we found over 250.  They sell for $20+/lb but I usually end up cooking them for the kids and giving them away.  They are fun to hunt even if I don't eat any.

I'd love to try the candy caps.  I've never heard of them so I'll have to do a little research to see if they even grow in Indiana.

Over 250 morels?! Wow!  That's how chanterelles are in certain areas in southern california.  Eclectic and I will spend an hour or so foraging and come back with about 30-40lbs! (and usually a few itchy poison oak rashes too, unfortunately! :angry: )


My family members think I'm turning into some crazed hippie.  Who knows, maybe they're right  :D

ha, yup. but there are worse thangs to be. hippies rock! :laugh:

morels are plentiful in burn areas and we all know there are lot of them these days. sigh.

at least there is something wonderful to come from natural disasters.
look for rainbows...


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 05 2011, 4:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Eclectic and I went to our first meeting of the San Diego Mycological Society last night! (and were pleasantly surprised to discover we weren't the only pre-retirement folks there!).  It was a fun meeting, so I'm hoping I'll be able to learn lots more about edible mushrooms to find on the trail!  Will post pics if I do find any :-)

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 25 2011, 5:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I just saw this somewhere our PBS station did a special on this last weekend.  I had no idea these existed:

http://www.wisconsinmycologicalsociety.org/

So what is the noun for people who are into mushrooms?
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 28 2011, 9:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

It has been a cold, wet spring in the Upper Midwest.  Morel hunting should be at its best in 3 weeks.  I like my morels prepared simply and my wine French.  $30 - 40/lb in the speciality store or a day well spent hunting and enjoying nature.

- David


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(Dornblaser @ Apr. 28 2011, 9:30 pm)
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 $30 - 40/lb in the speciality store or a day well spent hunting and enjoying nature.

- David

Exactly!  Mushroom hunting is like a modern day treasure hunt!  (Though here in San Diego the only place I've found morels was in a very well-manicured, landscaped area so not much nature there!)

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PostIcon Posted on: May 04 2011, 3:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

The moist forest here has an abundance of fungi.  Right now, every evening after work, every turnoff in the state forests has a truck parked in it and the woods is full of people hunting morels.  I am comfortable with a number of species that almost universally taste good when sauteed in butter.  Out of over 10,000 species, there are only a dozen that are seriously poisonous.  Knowing the look alikes is part of the skill.  I also forage for wild plants, and there is nothing like fish, greens and shrooms all fresh from the wild.  

Chantrelles, wood ears, oyster shells, morels, shaggy manes, puffballs (beware of amanitas which start out looking like a puffball, but have a distinct stalk hiding inside), and chicken of the woods are all seasonal treats here.  Most of these I can collect on a short walk on the property where I live.  One of my favorites is King Boletes which I used to collect in the Beartooths when I lived in Montana.

Learn to distinguish a few basic structures and how to take a spore print.  This is best learned form someone experienced, using a book to double check your ID.  Experts get sloppy, it pays not to rush.  It is also a good idea to not ID fungi while impaired.  If you lack the patience for taxonomy (like counting how many segments in the antennae of a bug) you might want to buy your mushrooms from the store.  Avoid collecting mushrooms anywhere that pesticides or other chemical runoff might be a problem.  Mushrooms feed by absorbing organic compounds from their environment.


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