You are now entering the magical land of Mycelium; with king oyster, lions mane, chanterelles, black trumpets, morels, and hen-of-the-woods hidden all around you. Once you learn about their presence, every trip you take to the park or into the woods will leave you searching for treasures in your path! 🍄
If you’re looking for an activity that’s always an adventure, where you can learn a lot along the way, and you get to eat delicious morsels without paying a dime, you’ve landed in the right place. Mushroom foraging is the perfect way to do it all! Whether you’re heading out solo or taking the whole family, forays into the woods make the experience almost magical—with mushrooms popping up all over the place!
And while there are many mushrooms you shouldn’t add to your pasta later, we’re about to meet a few of the tasty ones you can welcome in with open arms!
I had my first taste of mushroom foraging by accident.
It was late last spring and I was out for a walk when I bent down to pick up an old glass bottle and to my surprise, two plump morel mushrooms were right there! And then I was off from there; peering into every nook and cranny to find more of those wrinkled, tasty little cones sticking up from the dirt to fry up in butter later that evening.
It’s an intoxicating search; a treasure hunt for edible morsels to share with your family and friends, growing right from the forest floor! But how do you know which ones are great in your pasta, and which ones will send you to the emergency room? Your best chance is to hang out with two people like the ones we’re about to meet.
Our first stop to look for mushrooms is actually in my home state! We’re heading out on a hunt, into the forest of Brattleboro, Vermont with two mushroom fanatics, Ari Rockland-Miller and Jenna Antonino DiMare! (Who are surely keeping their eyes peeled for morels right now.)
Find more awesome content from Great Big Story by clicking here!
Mycophiles—people who really, really love mushrooms, like Ari and Jenna—are your best bet in getting the most out of your mushroom forays!
Just a few ventures through the forest with someone who knows the ropes in the fungus world can get you feeling confident about your bounties.
To discover foraging groups in your area, see what’s happening on Facebook! A quick Google search could also bring up groups that go out to forage together or at the very least, information that will let you know which edible mushrooms are growing right in your area. Please be careful if foraging on your own, many mushroom species are inedible and can even be deadly! But, they’re definitely still cool to look at.
But why do you use a basket?
This was one of the many burning questions from our next foraging guide. On this hunt, we’re looking for high-elevation porcini mushrooms! In a hilarious boys trip through the duff of the Pacific Northwest, Brad Leone, host of the show It’s Alive from the culinary magazine, Bon Appetit, brings us along to see what his fungus friends had to say about foraging. And, of course, answer a few more important fungi foraging questions for us. Take a look…
Catch more of Brad Leone’s adventures into the wild culinary world by clicking here!
There are intricate, unseen systems that have helped keep our world running for millions of years.
And sometimes, if we’re lucky enough to stumble upon them at the right time and the right place, we can enjoy a few delicious treats!
It seems that mushroom foraging has everything: spontaneity, adventure, scrumptious rewards, and a little bit of magic. At the very least, you discover who is who and what they enjoy growing in, and it’s a great way to learn more about the natural world around you! Not to mention, your basket may be full enough to share with your neighbors, and there’s nothing more wonderful than that, is there?
So, that must be why I’m itching to get out with my own basket this year. What do you say, will ya’ join me?
If you don’t see yourself going into the forest anytime soon, I totally get it. I’m actually growing mushrooms under my bed! I bought an Oyster Mushroom grow bag from Smugtown Mushrooms, for about $30 and it’s been a blast seeing it come to life!
I’ll just come out and say it: mushrooms are the coolest
It’s because of the mycelium (mushrooms are actually the reproductive bits that grow from mycelium) that trees are able to chat with each other to exchange nutrients, how the world cleans up after itself, where a new treatment to help the bees is coming from, and so much more.
You can learn about 8 other ways fungus is awesome in this circle:
The next time you’re a-walkin’, see who’s poppin’ up!
You can use an app like iNaturalist to identify what you find just by taking a photo. It’s pretty handy!
I also have a thing for pictures of mushrooms in baskets. If you have them, please send them to me!
As always y’all, stay open to new possibilities! Next year, you may find yourself just like me: waiting for it to warm up enough for the morels to really pop through the earth.
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- Great Big Story. “Mushroom Hunting in Vermont.” YouTube, 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4yev2YR6Zs. Accessed 21 Apr. 2020. ↩
- Bon Appétit. “Brad Forages for Porcini Mushrooms | It’s Alive | Bon Appétit.” YouTube, 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=sexYJ-J-AVo&feature=emb_title. Accessed 21 Apr. 2020. ↩