Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Hunters turn to Gathering

The first mushrooms of the season! It is kind of funny to find mushrooms with all the dry, clear, sunny weather we've been having in the Pacific NW... but here they are.
Last year we didn't find Shaggy Mane mushrooms until the end of November... but here they are!
Shaggy Mane's taste pretty good - alot like normal 'store-bought' mushrooms. The best part about them is that they are easy to identify, and that they grow everywhere around town! They seem to like bark dust, lawns, and landscaping. We have about a dozen spots where we can find them pretty regularly.
These ones were pretty dry and firm. We sauteed them in just alittle butter. SMs are very mushy if they get too old - because they have so much water in them.
It is best to pick them when they first appear and before they open up. They are also great deep fried. The contain alot of water, and absorb it quickly, so keep them dry as possible.

After sautee'ing them we made a creamy sauce with them.
Great on the potatoes.

Usually in the fall and winter we keep small paper bags in our pockets in case we find some... paper is better than plastic, because it lets moisture out.

I didn't have a paper bag handy, but I did find a bag! Perfect!
This will keep the kids out of them, too - they won't go snooping in my bag, now!
Maybe I should use more of these for my Halloween candy...

As they mature, the Shaggy Mane (SM) gills get very dark, and turn inky - they are also called Inky mushrooms.
They are usually tall and oblong shaped, and of course shaggy.
The best way to ID a mushroom is using a spore print. Simply cut the top off a mushroom and place it (cap up) on a white piece of paper for a day, to let the spores drop out of the cap.
Here's the spore print of a SM. Pretty, isn't it. By the time the SM turns black and inky, it isn't much good for eating... too watery and mushy.
And too black...
Time to check our Chantrelle mushroom sites...