I’ve always been curious about mushrooms; something that you can go out and receive from nature just by taking the time to examine the crevices of your surroundings. But my curiosity has never led to me actually coming home with some eatable mushrooms to prepare. If like me you’re interested in actualizing your mushroom curiosity and eating right out of nature’s generous hand, or if you just want to geek out on non-psychadelic shroom-speak, here are a few options to look for on future foraging adventures.
This mushroom is found in the fall near conifers, and can be detected through it’s uniquely spicy smell. You can cook Matsutakes in soups or you can grill them and eat them with dipping sauces. Side-note: It’s interesting when you get to actually imagining taking a bite of something and you have no idea what the taste will be. Infinite possibilities.
Also called the Hen of the Woods, Maitakes are polypores, which can be detected through the tiny pores on the bottom of their surface. Unfortunately for us Seattleites, these guys are mostly found throughout northeastern North America, growing at the foundation of oak trees. If you’re ever in the area, you can spot a maitake by its sizable presence; they can be as wide as two feet and over a foot high. Maitake mushrooms can be used in soups or sauteed and pickled for use as a condiment.
This species of ‘shroom can be found almost anyplace where trees exist. Here’s more than you ever wanted to know about identifying and cooking them properly.
You’ll have to go east again to find Blewits, autumn mushrooms that grow underneath oak leaves. Blewits can make up a fine dish of their own when grilled.
If you do decide to give mushroom hunting a try, be sure to get a field guide so you can know for certain you aren’t about to eat anything poisonous.
Have you ever gone foraging before?