Edible Wild Foods- Mushrooms
Free food, now that is an attractive phrase; who does not want to reduce their food costs or for that matter, their overall expenses?
But is anything really, truly free? You may not pay cash or pull out your credit card, paying for food with a credit card makes me nervous by the way, but there is always a cost.
In the case of wildcrafting, whether it takes place in your backyard, an abandoned site, a city park, a country field or the forest, you need to spend time in educating yourself about what you are looking for and harvesting.
A mistake can be very serious and in the case of wild mushrooms, deadly.
You can buy a field guide and that is an important step but if you can find an expert and go out with them when they go picking. This is one area where a small mistake can have big consequences, so know what you are doing.
Now once you know what you are harvesting, the edible mushrooms open up a world of tatse sensations and dining experiences. Even the simple button and portabella mushrooms we can readily buy offer numerous possibilities but the wildcrafted ones are even more tasty and no money exchanges hands at the checkout counter.
Some Common Edible Mushrooms:
Chantrelles (Cantharellud cibarius). It is possible to confuse this mushroom with a posinous look alike the (Jack-o-lantern) or (Clitocybe illuden). Chanterelles are a vase shape and are usually a dull egg-yellow colour. The chanterelles are often found in dry coniferous forests.
Puffballs . Puffballs come in many sizes, some as small as a marble and some as large as a basketball. The name "puffball" generally refers to three genera of fungi, Calvatia, Calbovista, and Lycoperdon.
The surface of the puffball may be smooth, covered with small or large warts, or ornamented with spikes. Usually white and round, puffballs are attached to the ground with little or no apparent stem. The puffball must be all white inside, if not do not eat.
Shaggy manes (Coprinus comatus) These are best collected while young and are often found in loose soil along roadsides and in waste places and fields.
Cooking with puffballs
Puffballs and eggs are a common dish, however, the puffball also goes well as a side dish served with your favourite vegetables, an ideal vegetarian meal.
A thickly sliced section of puffball can be browned slowly in butter; the slice will turn a golden colour during this process. You can also cube puffballs for stir fry or dip slices in a batter of egg and milk and cover with bread crumbs seasoned with salt and pepper.
If you are new to wild mushrooms start with identifying a few species that you are certain of and enjoy adding them to your menu.
- Edible Wild Mushrooms - Resouces for anyone interested in wild mushrooms
Wild Food Field Guide to Leeks, Morels, Chanterelles, Black Trumpets, Porchini and Hen of the Woods
- Mushroom-Collecting.com - Edible and Medicinal Mushroom Species of Maine and New England
Mushroom-Collecting.com is about finding, collecting, identifying and preparing the more safe and common edible and medicinal mushroom species of Maine, New England, and Eastern Canada
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