November 4, 2020

Fall Foraging: Mushrooms

Our home mushroom growing attempts have not been successful. Yet, wild mushrooms so very well! Which got us to thinking that maybe we should learn something about mushroom identification.

After one of our rainy spells, we found this next to the driveway. . .

This is Hen of the Woods; kin to Chicken of the Woods but not as colorful. I gathered some for dinner.

I sliced them up

and sauteed them in olive oil.

They had a good flavor, but they weren't as tender as the button mushroom I buy at the grocery store.

Then we had another hot dry spell and no more mushrooms until it rained again. This same patch of hen of the woods grew back.

This time, I decided to dehydrate them and make mushroom powder.

I harvested about one pound and put them in the dehydrator at the vegetable setting.

By the end of the afternoon they were crispy dry. Then I powdered them in the blender.

One pound fresh filled about a third of a pint jar. So it would take about three pounds of mushrooms for a pint of mushroom powder. If I find more, I'll make more.

Mushroom powder with a few flakes.

Not exactly an appealing color, but it smells really good. I'll use it in gravies and soups this winter.

Anyone else foraging fall mushrooms?

Fall Foraging: Mushrooms © November 2020


Michelle said...

Yes, I've harvested and used shaggy manes here.

Leigh said...

Michelle, so far I've not had the good providence to find shaggy manes here. Nor morels! Supposedly, I'm in the growing zone for both, so I may yet!

Ed said...

I'm pretty much a one trick pony when it comes to mushrooms and only feel confident about morels. I love eating mushrooms so I really should learn a few more tricks and be able to identify some more. I guess I technically have two tricks as I helped a couple I know in Arkansas set up a Shitake mushroom growing area and have eaten some of those as they have been gifted me over the years.

daisy g said...

What a great idea to dry them. They will be a wonderful addition to soups, stews, and sauces!

Leigh said...

Ed, I'm extremely cautious as well. I only harvest something I've ID'd through at least 3 or 4 sources!

Daisy, yes, I'm pretty excited about trying mushroom gravy. :)

Toirdhealbheach Beucail said...

I admire your knowledge and courage. Not that I have lived anywhere that we had something akin to an edible mushroom, but they freak me out.

Seeking Serenity said...

years ago when i lived in the country there was a VERY good mushroom year & we picked a Ton of chicken in the woods. it was a pain to wash it all but wow what an experience. Now i have learned a new thing= mushroom powder! sounds delicious

wyomingheart said...

Like you, Leigh, we are supposedly in the morel zone, but we have never found any. We do have a lot of mushrooms throughout the fall, but we are not educated enough to try any of them. I have watched the squirrels caching away several, but still we are not smart enough about them to take a chance. Hoping to learn, though! Did you get the big freeze there, that we got here? The cockscomb flowers still look great, but the mums took a beating, even though I covered them, dang it! Supposed to be back in the 70s in a couple of days, though...yay! Have a perfect week!

Leigh said...

TB, I confess that in the past they freaked me out as well. But after failing at every attempt to grow our own, yet seeing how prolific mushrooms can be around here, I thought it was time to learn to ID some of the more common ones. I double/triple/quadruple check everything!

Serenity, they can be a pain to wash! But, so can store-bought mushrooms. Did you preserve any of them? I know they can be canned and dried. My powder was just a whim.

Wyomingheart, we got light frost. It was enough to damage the sweet potato leaves, so I harvested those. The difference between my garden grown and keyhole grown is amazing! I took some photos and will do a blog post soon.

I agree about the education on wild mushrooms. Fortunately, there are a lot of good books and good videos on YouTube.

Rosalea said...

Leigh, that one is a beauty! I found a 'hen' earlier this fall, but was too unsure of the ID to consume it. I have morels growing around the apple trees in a normally moist spring, which this year wasn't. I found several 'Bear's head' tooths this fall, and tried them. Not as much flavour as other 'shrooms. I dry a big jar of commercially available mushrooms for pizzas in the winter, and should try powdering some. Adam Haritan of You Tube's 'Learn your Land' is a good resource.

Ulvmor said...

Well.... in northern Europe we have different mushrooms. I forage them, false morels I pick for my father in law, who likes them, a lot. Yes, they are deadly poisonous if not prepaired right. Chanterelles emerge usually around late July, as well as porchinos. But my son likes hedgehog mushrooms and yellowfoot more, so those I try to forage as much as possible. We eat mushrooms maybe once a week, shop bought mushrooms we eat only on top of pizzas. They're boring.
I preserve most mushrooms in freezer, black trumpets and porchinos are good to dehydrate.
I've foraged mushroom my whole life, my grandma was from Russia and foraging is everyday thing there. My kids know edible mushrooms and know how to pick them. And they all eat mushrooms!

Cockeyed Jo said...

That's the thing about this type of mushroom, if you harvest wisely, it will return after each rain. Unfortunately, I can traipse through the woods to forage for wild mushrooms. At least not here. I wish some would grow near our driveway. LOL Haritan (youtube) is the best for foraging mushrooms very good visual. We love us us some 'shrooms!

Carolyn said...

I actually enjoyed the more "chewy" texture of the chicken of the woods. But then again, I really like stale cheese puffs. I just sauteed some up with bacon grease & onions on Monday. Good stuff! I'm going to go back to that same spot and see if another patch came up.

Leigh said...

Rosalea, thank you for the video recommendation! I can use that. Lucky you to have morels. I'd love to find some someday. Not familiar with bear's head tooths, though. But then, there are very few edible mushrooms I'm familiar with. :)

Ulvmor, sounds like you have a lot! We have chanterelles here, and I was hoping to find some this year. I recognized the picture from mushrooms I photographed myself, many years ago (before I ate any foraged mushrooms). There's obviously a whole world of mushroom flavors out there!

Jo, I was hoping I'd get a third sprouting after our last good rain, but alas, no more. I'll have to look up that youtube recommendation too!

Carolyn, well, there you go. Texture is such an individualized texture. Sounds really yummy with bacon grease and onions!

Retired Knitter said...

No picking mushrooms for me - I am not very good at identifying them but I LOVE them for cooking. And I think they are the most interesting plant with all their shapes and sizes!!