One of my favorite things to do is to go mushroom picking or “foraging” as most call it. As a child, my parents were members of the Northwest Mycological Society and we’d go to “mushroom meetings” with them once a month to look and learn about the varieties of mushrooms that grow in the Pacific Northwest. On the weekends almost year ’round, we’d drive to forest, grove or glen with our little bags and pocket knives, heads down, searching and rummaging around on the Earth’s floor trying to locate the elusive fungi. We’d find morels, chanterelles, shaggy manes, lions mane, lobsters, corals and many varieties in between. Our family favorite is the morel. My mother would dip them in Krusty’s seasoning and fry them in oil in a skillet. They rarely made it to the dinner table because we’d stand around the stove and as soon as they came out of the pan onto the serving plate, someone would snatch one up not really caring about burnt fingers or tongues. Delicious morsels indeed AND always worth it!
The new phenomenon I’ve witnessed in the last couple of years is the home grown mushroom kit. Many companies have sprouted up offering kits made from a block with spores that you water and grow at home. There are many varieties to chose from including shiitake, enoki, reishi, lions mane, and the very popular oyster mushroom which comes in a beautiful variety of colors such as black, grey, white, pearl, yellow and pink. My husband and I recently grew shiitakes from a kit and it was fun to watch them grow, harvest AND eat! Maybe not as much fun as going out into the wild to find fresh ones, but the kit is a sure thing! Going out to pick, maybe not so much?!
Happy foraging for fungi, even if its in your own kitchen!
Tracey Bartel – Fungi Lover & Gourmand