Learning to hunt for edible wild mushrooms was an education that rewarded my adventurous spirit. It began one autumn day a few years ago when I and a few other interested locals explored the woods with three mushroom experts. One by one, we brought our finds to the guides, who carefully examined them before giving us mostly the thumbs down sign. We were, however, advised to hold onto the rejects and study them for the purposes of identifying them again and again.
Recently, I took a long hike in the woods behind my home and found this tree loaded with chicken of the woods mushrooms. I found a long and sturdy branch about 10 feet long and starting jumping up and down, laughing and poking the ruffled chicken of the woods mushrooms high on the dead hardwood tree until, eventually knocking them down. 10 lbs! Dried about a gallon, ate lots and gave away some.
I am a true lover of mushrooms, and have cooked them in risottos, stir-fries, lasagna, roasted vegetable dishes, and even a wild mushroom strudel with chevre, which has become a favorite dish for Thanksgiving. Based on the local harvest, I am constantly changing and reinventing these recipes, swapping seasonal vegetables and different varieties of wild and domestic mushrooms. You will find many recipes in my vegetarian cookbooks: Gluten-Free Recipes for the Conscious Cook and Going Wild in the Kitchen.
If you are as wild about these delectable gems as I am, and you find yourself exploring the woods for edible varieties, just be sure that you know what you are picking. Learn about foraging for mushrooms from an expert.
Have a great organic feast!