June Mushroom Forging 2010

This past weekend, on Saturday, Evan, myself, and our friends Aaron and Susan decided to spend a bit of the afternoon looking for mushrooms.  Aaron and Susan had never been mushroom forgining before and so were quite excited to get out and look for fungi.

The whole foray ended up being a huge success as we managed to find vast quantities of chanterelle mushrooms.  Just about a year ago Evan, Meg and I had experienced similar success in chanterelle finding, the only major difference is in the sheer quantity.  We estimate that we likely gathered over 20 lbs worth of chanterelles during the couple of hours that we were out in the woods (and with the sweltering heat it felt like we each lost just about as much body weight in that amount of time).

Besides chanterelles we found a wide variety of other mushrooms.  There were several varieties of russulas and amanitas out (we didn’t pick any because of the potential for hard to identify poisonous species).  There were also quite a number of various boletes out in the woods.  of this latter group of mushrooms the most exciting find (in fact possibly almost more exciting than the chanterelles) were a good number of Boletus edulis, aka porcinis.  Evan and I were terribly excited by this discovery because we have never found porcinis before, even though we have heard that they are available in our region.  Several of the porcinis were of inedible quality due to insect and worm infestation but we did manage to forge a few high quality specimens.

After the forging we all gathered at Aaron and Susan’s house for some lengthy (too lengthy really) mushroom cleaning, as well as some food making.  One of the biggest pains about forging for wild mushrooms is in the cleaning aspect as usually the fungal fruits are covered with dirt and other detritus.  However, in the long run it is a small price to pay for getting to have some awesome wild mushrooms.  We made two dishes with our finds; a chanterelle and scallops dish and a porcini risotto dish.

As always, I will note that people should not eat wild mushrooms unless they have had a lot of experience with identification.  I do not claim to be a great expert in mushroom identification but I have learned several edibles like chanterelles, morels, and various boletes (as well as distinguishing features of their potential inedible look-a-likes).  I always stem on the side of caution and do not eat anything that I have even the slightest doubt about.  As such I have not had any negative consequences of my mushroom eating yet.  If you are interested in forging for mushrooms get several well reputed identification guides, and also try to go with somebody who has some experience, and always remember that just because it looks like something in a picture that does not mean that it is the same thing (many mushrooms look very similar to one and another).

A few pictures Aaron and Susan took:

bowl of chanterelles

One of the several bowls of chanterelles we had after cleaning them off.

mushroom dinner

Scallops and chanterelles on the left and porcini risotto on the right

dried mushrooms

Our finds after going through a dehydrator. Chanterelles do not generall reconstitute too well, but when dried they can be ground into a bread crumb or flour-like consistency and used to coat or add to other foods to get the delicious flavor.

~ by Nathaniel on June 15, 2010.

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