Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fungus Fields

As evidenced by my blackberry post, the Pacific Northwest if full of wild foods just waiting to be harvested, including fungus.  Every time I go hiking, I want to put them all in my mouth, but I know that's a terrible idea, because many are poisonous. Some cause death, others vomiting, etc., while others make you do "funny" things. 

This weekend I went on an adventure to find edible fungi. I know they're edible because:
1. I've seen them in grocery stores.

2. I've harvested them with an experienced "shroomer" before.

3. I have harvested from this particular site before.

Up in the fungus fields of Sultan, you have to be careful of all the imposters.  They're all over the place.  They range from weird...

... to pretty....

... to something else...

But, to my knowledge, none of these are edible.  The only wild mushrooms I can positively ID, and therefore harvest and eat, are morels (spring growers, harvested as late as Memorial Day) and chanterelles.

They're golden. Their gills are interwoven and extend down the stalk. These are the things I know about chanterelles. That and they're SUPER tasty.

Chanterelles grow on the ground near older-growth, and can often be found under ferns and downed logs. If it's growing off of the side of a tree, don't eat it!

Luckily, I found several patches of the good kind and came home with two grocery bags full of chanterelles on Sunday. They're just as good as I remember.

And, at $8.99/lb at the grocery store, I feel like I cheated by spending two hours in a beautiful location and harvesting $60 worth.

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