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Thread: Do Any of You Hunt Mushrooms?

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    Do Any of You Hunt Mushrooms?

    When I was younger, I used to spend the whole Autumn out in the woods, gathering edible mushrooms. It was, and continues to be, one of my most favorite and beloved activities. Where I grew up, in the Redwood forests of Northern California, mushrooming is a very popular hobby that yields a great time out of doors, and some tasty morsels for the kitchen, as well. The most common varieties of mushrooms that I would pick were:

    Chanterelles -



    These were probably the most common mushrooms I would find... my favorite part about hunting these was always that I could smell them out, before I would ever see them. When they are around in abundance, they make the whole area of forest you are in smell like freshly minced garlic... you just had to follow your nose, and there they would be.

    Morels -



    These are wonderfully tasty mushrooms with a very 'nutty' flavor... Finding these was a bit of a rarity, in my neck of the woods. I'd have to hike atleast 2 hours from my home, in order to find the groves of Manzanita trees that were a favorite home to these elusive Morels... It was alwasy worth the long trek, though, as the flavor of these mushrooms is unbeatable (especially stuffed inside of a broiled chicken breast... yummy!)

    Black Trumpets -



    I would always find great big clusters of these guys... I have never cared for the taste of Black Trumpets (they taste like dirt, literally. ), but these were my mother's favorite. Everytime I would come back from mushrooming, she would come over to my baskets eagerly, and start poking about them, wondering if I happened upon any "treats" for her... Sometimes, I would pretend I didn't find any, or say that I just didn't want to waste any space in my basket by putting in a bunch of Trumpets... she would look so crestfallen and disappointed, but then I'd always surprise her with a great clump of them, and a kiss... I still can remember those looks of joy and suprise that she would give me, after presenting her those dirty clods of mushrooms. I swear, by the way she acted, it was as if I had giver her nuggets of gold.

    Honey Mushrooms -



    These are excellent! The only thing about Honey Mushrooms, though, is that they only taste good when they are young, in the "button" stage, with their veils still attatched (like the photo, above). When they get mature, the veil breaks open and the cap becomes large, flat, and broken at the edges, with the veins becoming very distended and 'sharp'... at that point, they are really tough, fiberous, and not very great tasting. It's hard to find them when they are still young and perfect, so when I did, it was very rewarding.

    Shaggy Manes -



    I picked these often, but only if I found them close to my house... they are really quite tasty, almost 'buttery' in richness, but after you pick them the caps start to turn this inky-black color, and then they are ruined... It happens quite quickly, well within a half of an hour, so you have to be very quick about picking, then cooking them. I can remember more than a few times stumbling upon a great meadow of Shaggy Manes, picking a big basket full, and then having to race back to my house as fast as I could to get them cooked... more often than not, though, such a swift flight through the forest left me with only a basket of inky mushrooms, and a great deal of cuts and scrapes from crashing through the foliage. :redface:

    Velvet Foot -



    Hard to find, but always a pleasure. I used to love eating these so much, but it's been years since I tasted a Velvet Foot. The only thing that I didn't like about picking them was that they have a sticky coating on their caps, and you have to keep them separate from other mushrooms that you pick... If you don't, they seep their sticky fluid all over everything in your basket, and it's quite messy.

    And finally... the elusive prize:

    Matsutake -



    These mushrooms I have never eaten, but oh how I have spent hours, and hours scouring the forests for them. You see, Matsutake's are very, very valuable... you do not eat them, you harvest, and sell them. Where I lived, from the first part of September, to the end of November, it was all about Matsis... in my little forest town, caravans of mushroom buyers would park their campers at the edge of town, and set up shop... just waiting for all the mushroom hunters to bring in the Matsutake motherlode. Back then, the buying price for 'perfect' Matsis (like the one in the photo above) was upwards of $250 a pound! When they are young, and in the 'button' stage, with their veils still attatched, they are worth the most money, and are practically considered the Holy Grail of all Matsutakes... When they become mature, like this, they are still valuable ($30 - $100 per pound, depending on quality), but everyone is always searching for the buttons, in particular.

    Fortunatlely for me, my woods were prime Matsi territory. Even still, they were rather difficult to find. Unlike most mushrooms, they take awhile to poke out of all the dead foliage and plant matter that litters the forest floor, so you don't initially see them... usually, by the time they do emerge into view, they are past their youthful growth stage, and therefore less desireable. Because the best ones are often times 'invisible', you have to hunt them in a completely unconventional manner: Do not look for the mushrooms, but for the mounds of earth and leaves that cover them. It's slow going work, and rather frustrating at times, but if you are patient and attentive enough, you can find whole groves of Matsutakes just waiting to be picked.

    Once you find a mound that looks promising, gently clear the dirt and matter away, until you see the pale, shining buttons poking out of the ground. After that, you have to carefully clear as much of the dirt away from the stalk of th mushroom, and it will be fully visible from cap, to ground. At that point, you cannot simply "pick" it, as you would any mushroom. Because they veiled beauties are the real prize, you have to gently coax them out of the ground, so as not to pierce the veil, and ruin the mushroom. The best way to remove them from the earth is to place your palm on the cap of the Mushroom, and carefully apply pressure while rocking back and forth in a circular fashion... before you know it, the Matsi eases up out of the ground, and you've got yourself a precious little gold mine. Such delicate work, but it's not just the money that you earn from selling them that makes it so worth it... It's the whole adventure of the 'hunt', and the thrill of find such elusive little things that makes it so satisfying, and rewarding.
    _____________________

    Aieee! I love mushrooming!

    So, I was curious if any of you ever go mushrooming, too? If so, what varieties can you find in your area? What are your favorites to eat? Perhaps mushroom hunting is a tradition in your family, or a part of your heritage? It would be great to learn if there are others who enjoy this thrilling and enjoyable treasure hunt in nature.

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    Senior Member Thruthheim's Avatar
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    Sorry im still abit prejudice against Mushrooms, i still see them as dangerous Fungi
    I hope your search didn't continue into the mushrooms known as "Magic Mushrooms" ...Ofcourse, that's entirely your business
    Tired

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShieldofDanelaw
    Sorry im still abit prejudice against Mushrooms, i still see them as dangerous Fungi
    No need to be sorry... actually, you're 'predjudice' is well founded. No matter how experienced one is at identifying mushrooms, it is very easy to make a potentially fatal mistake. Mushrooms can be very decieving, and there are many edible ones that have dangerous, even deadly, look-alike counterparts. Extreme caution must always be used, and even still... the risk is always there.


    I hope your search didn't continue into the mushrooms known as "Magic Mushrooms" ...Ofcourse, that's entirely your business
    I was once young, and wildly curious... Kids try stupid things, and eating psychadelic mushrooms a couple times was something I happened to try. ani:

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    Senior Member Thruthheim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Enhjørning
    No need to be sorry... actually, you're 'predjudice' is well founded. No matter how experienced one is at identifying mushrooms, it is very easy to make a potentially fatal mistake. Mushrooms can be very decieving, and there are many edible ones that have dangerous, even deadly, look-alike counterparts. Extreme caution must always be used, and even still... the risk is always there.




    I was once young, and wildly curious... Kids try stupid things, and eating psychadelic mushrooms a couple times was something I happened to try. ani:
    Don't worry.. Life isn't all about rules and morals, some of it's for living and experiencing
    Tired

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    I have always thought that I may be a vestigial Hobbit, because as it happens I love mushrooms.

    Creamy chantarelle soup is a delicious autumnal treat, and "korvasieni" are wonderful too -- they look a bit like the black trumpets in the OP.

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    Thumbs Down

    Yup, love 'em too. Don't pick them more than maybe once every five years, tho.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enhjørning
    So, I was curious if any of you ever go mushrooming, too? If so, what varieties can you find in your area? What are your favorites to eat? Perhaps mushroom hunting is a tradition in your family, or a part of your heritage? It would be great to learn if there are others who enjoy this thrilling and enjoyable treasure hunt in nature.
    Have done so since my childhood and still do at least once a year.

    I only care for Pfifferlinge (chanterelle) and Steinpilz (boletus):



    To my knowledge it is better to cut the mushroom shortly above the ground instead of plucking or screwing it out because this way the root tissue doesn´t get damaged and the mushrooms continue growing at this place.

    There is no antitoxin for mushroom poison so one should only collect what one certainly knows.
    Tolerance is a proof of distrust in one's own ideals. Friedrich Nietzsche


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    Quote Originally Posted by ShieldofDanelaw
    I hope your search didn't continue into the mushrooms known as "Magic Mushrooms" ...Ofcourse, that's entirely your business
    Whoops., tried myself at Liberty Caps as well once or twice. Damn that pink writing! Or: heck, last time I saw I was playing computers. F**k, how do I get back to school...ouch...bloody fence...

    Well, we've all been young once, and all made little mistakes.
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
    -Die alte Seele trauernd und verlassen / Verblassend in einer erklärbaren Welt / Schwebend in einem Dunst der Wehmut / Ein Schrei der nur unmerklich gellt-
    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

    (Heimdalls Wacht, In kalte Schatten versunken, stanzas 4-6)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zyklop
    To my knowledge it is better to cut the mushroom shortly above the ground instead of plucking or screwing it out because this way the root tissue doesn´t get damaged and the mushrooms continue growing at this place.
    I suppose that is an option... but, mushrooms have a very high turnover rate, and they way they reproduce is by the realeasing of "spores"... those spores are kind of like their 'seeds', and when they meet the meet the soil, they immediately start to germinate... If you pluck a mushroom from the ground, it doesn't mean a mushroom will no longer grow there... actually, the reason why one usually sees mushrooms growing in groups and clumps is because they are all from the same sporing source, and each adult mushroom release billions of microscopic spores after it has passed full maturation. When you see a fully grown mushroom poking out of the ground, there's a good chance that there are many young mushrooms sprouting up along side of it, just under the surface of the ground.

    Mushrooms are really unlike regular plants, in this respect. If you de-root a flowering plant, for instance, that is it... the plant is gone, and the only way more of it would grow in that same place would be if another seed was introduced to the soil. With mushrooms, you can de-root a mushroom, but since the patch of earth that is is growing from is already infested, and infused, with billions of it's microscopic spores, more and more will keep on growing there, as long as the environmnental conditions are optimal.

    Another reason why I personally do not cut mushrooms, and prefer plucking them completely from the soil, is that many of the varieties of mushrooms that I hunt are rather delicate... once they are cut or pierced, they begin to wither, and if they are not used right away, their cooking value starts to decrease... When I'm mushrooming, I do not drive to a convenient location, pick the mushrooms, and drive back to my house... I usually make a whole day of it, spending sometimes 10-12 hours hiking and picking mushrooms, and that is just too long for cut mushrooms, in my experiences, to keep well enough until being cooked. When the whole mushroom is kept in tact, it will keep fresh and succulent for long periods of time, and I don't have to worry about them spoiling or going to waste while I'm enjoying my time out of doors.

    To each his own, though.

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    I like the look of those Morels.

    Have you ever found a Death Cap on your outings?

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