One of our favorite activities is mushroom hunting. There’s something about the Easter Egg Hunt quality of it all that makes it exciting. Then you go home and you eat your success.
Getting started is difficult because it’s intimidating. There are more poisonous mushrooms than there are edible ones. Some may be edible but not worth the time or effort to make them so. Some are awful. But those few rare selections out there make it all worth while. It’s like digging for gold and this year it has been plentiful.
I forgot to include my morel mushroom pictures (they are on another computer) but we’ve had the privilege of collecting 3 wonderful varieties so far this month. My very top picture is a single mushroom that we believe is edible but didn’t eat it. We just took it’s picture and it came out so lovely I had to share it.
This scruffy looking mushroom is our favorite – Bolete. It’s plentiful here and easy to identify. They can be huge. They are also fairly wormy. They are well loved by all as you can see by the picture. We did find better looking mushrooms but it’s hard to take pictures when you are climbing up the mountain in the rain.
This beauty is a Coral mushroom and a pain to clean but good eats.
I thought about talking about how to identify mushrooms and prep them but the reality is – there’s a better way to start. Just like we started. You need an expert and to do that, you need to shell out a little money. Once you get started, you can go on your own.
We started with forays – an event where a group goes out into the woods and looks for mushrooms. Then you bring them back where someone tells you which ones are edible and other useful information.
Joining a club is another great way. Our local club is $25 a year for our family. Their most recent foray would have cost us $25 per person for the event and $20 per person per night for lodging. It was a two day event so the cost for me and my husband would have been as high as $90 plus membership. While that might seem a little on the high side, $90 for a weekend getaway is almost free when you look at the grand scheme of vacations (most campgrounds would have cost us that much just for camping 2 nights).
The best part is that they are local. I get knowledge about what grows in my area, where they grow and what season. No matter how good the book or website, you just aren’t going to find easier information. So if you want to seriously add mushrooms to your foraging check out the North American Mycological Association and see if there is a club near you.