Authored by Stephanie Modkins in Nature and Wildlife
Published on 09-15-2009
Edible mushrooms are easy to find if you know how to identify them and where to look. They can be a lifesaver for hikers lost in the woods or for gourmet cooks looking for a change of pace. Below are five edible mushrooms that can be found growing wild. Pick a cluster of them and treat your self to a tasty dish.
Boletes. The boletes is an edible mushroom that usually appears on the ground near pines. Brown or red in color, this mushroom is sturdy with a thick stalk and cap shaped like a hamburger bun. By turning this mushroom upside down, you can see the pores under the cap. If you see red or orange ones, the boletes is poisonous. Boletes bloom in the summer or fall. Cook them without the stems and add to vegetable soup.
Puffballs. Puffballs are edible mushrooms that are oval in shape. They can be mistaken for golf balls from a distant. Tan, gray or white in color, Puffballs grow one to twelve inches in diameter. The interior is initially white and will progressively change to yellow and brown with age. This edible mushroom blooms in the summer and fall all over the place – in lawns, pastures, and on trees. If you cut open a mushroom that resembles a Puffball and see signs of a developing mushroom with a stalk, gills and cap, it is the poisonous Amanitas. Don’t eat it because you will get sick. Cook puffballs right away when their insides are white. Slice them and fry them in butter.
Shaggy Mane. This edible mushroom is very unique. The cap is long and cylinder in shape with upturned, brownish scales. The gills are white. The shaggy mane grows four to six inches in height and crumbles easily. This mushroom jets up in the spring, summer and fall all over lawns, pastures and even in wood chips. Best eaten before the caps turn black, cook this mushroom in butter and garlic. Then, mix it with cheese atop an egg to make a flavorful omelet.
Oyster Mushroom. Ivory and tan in color, the oyster mushroom has gills trailing down a slightly bent stem. Always found in clusters and on a tree or log, they grow two to eight inches in width. This edible mushroom grows all year long. So, it can be picked in every season. Black beetles are attracted to the oyster mushroom; as a result, watch for them. Soak in salt before cooking this mushroom. Then, chop it up, dip in a beaten egg, and roll in cracker crumbs and fry.
Hen-of-the-Woods. This edible mushroom is grayish-brown with large fans overlapping one another. (Visualize a chicken.) One clump of a hen-of-the-woods mushroom can grow very large, weighing up to 100 pounds. Usually available in the summer or fall, you can find this mushroom at the base of trees or on stumps. There are no poisonous look-a-likes to the hen-of-the-woods. Cook slices of this mushroom in salted water until tender and then add to a vegetable cream sauce.
These five mushrooms are only a few edible ones you can find growing wild. Learn about more about the varieties of edible mushrooms by visiting MDC.online.