Any Mushroomers?

Discussion in 'Camping, Hiking, Cooking' started by jimmydub, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. jimmydub Active Member

    Posts: 197
    Mill Creek, WA
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    Just seeing if anyone else is getting as excited for the spring season as I am. It won't be long now before some of the tastiest things known to man start popping out on this side of the mountains. I'll be making my first scouting trips for morels soon, hopefully the daytime highs can stay around the low to mid 50s.

    I really can't wait for the large burns to thaw out. There are going to be some serious lodes of mushrooms coming from the eastern slopes! I'm planning some fishing/foraging trips around some of the more "promising" areas :)
  2. bitterroot Love vintage graphite!

    Posts: 1,428
    Montana
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    I've always wanted to forage for shrooms but never learned enough about it to know what I'm looking for.
  3. Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

    Posts: 5,663
    Somewhere on the Coast
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    Morels? I've seen 'em, but never prepared 'em for the table.
    What kind do we look for in the Spring? I haven't hunted for mushrooms in recent years. I used to find a couple varieties of what are referred to as "pine mushrooms" here at the beach.
    Forgot their names, but I know them by sight.
    One is a pale orange or light tan on top, with orange gills. Cracks in the top of the cap on larger ones will turn green. (I looked it up: can't recall any common name, but they are "lactarius deliciosus").
    The other is yellow, also gilled, and I think its called "Man on Horseback."
    Usually find these in the Fall. Also King Boletes, if you get to 'em before the flies find them. You need to get these as soon as they pop up, because the flies don't waste any time. Nearly impossible to find a nice big one that hasn't already been discovered by the flies. However, a couple of those little maggots aren't bad, since they get cooked. More protein!

    (As an aside, before we had pesticides, there was no such thing as a "Vegan." They ate bugs with their veggies, whether they wanted to or not! Same for all those "vegetarian" animals. Those "herbivores" actually are omnivores, just eating their meat lower on the food chain). But I digress (a lot!).

    We are supposed to have Matsutakes growing here in the dunes, too (also known as "pine mushrooms"), but I'm not sure how to identify them, although I think I have. Not willing to be a guinea pig, though!
    Nobody's talkin' about their secret Chanterelle spots, though. Nobody in their right mind, anyway. Next time there won't be any mushrooms there, if you talk about 'em.
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  4. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,261
    Willamette Valley, OR
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    Morels? Well.... as an outdoor family, we fished, hunted and picked morels. When my folks were alive, we'd make a yearly trek back to NEO on Memorial Day to hunt for mushrooms and fish.
    It was a tradition.

    Once my folks died we started looking for morels in the Oregon Cascades and have found some spots. So the tradition carries on... we just don't drive all the way to North East Oregon to find them. There were a few forest fires in the Cascades last year so they should be good places to look for the morels this Spring.

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    Hunting for morels in the spring is one of our favorite outdoor activities. Wandering through pine forests with the smell of the trees and the crisp air. Patches of snow still on the ground.

    We look forward to mushroom hunting each year. We never got into the Fall mushrooms and stick primarily with morels and snow mushrooms (which I prefer in regards to taste).
  5. jimmydub Active Member

    Posts: 197
    Mill Creek, WA
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    GAT, those are some nice looking morels! It looks like a good mix of the species too. I mapped out the large forest fires in EWA on Google Earth, so come spring time I'll have a few hundred square miles of burnt public land to look through :) Some of the fires also burnt around alpine lakes, making for a convenient all in one vacation.

    Jim- Those matsutakes are worth some money, if you can find the pristine young buttons (up to $50 per shroom). I have found a few chanterelle spots, but I have yet to find King Boletes or matsutakes. One way to know if you've got a matsutake, or if they're around, is the strong cinnamon smell they emit. Pretty hard to confuse any other mushroom with that smell, apparently.

    I've heard that you can find morels, chanterelles, king boletes, and a number of other tasty varieties during spring/summer in and around the burn sites.
  6. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,261
    Willamette Valley, OR
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    The year after a forest fire is ideal for morels and snow mushrooms. I keep track of where the fires occured so we can check them out in the Spring. After growing up looking for morels, I have a fairly good idea where to look for them but as we've always said, morels are like gold, they are where you find them.
  7. Matthew LeBret Active Member

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    clarkston, wa
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    I loved them....Cooked them.....ate them.... and as of 2 years ago I will not touch them :( great family time picking them in the spring. As of late for some reason my body wants nothing to do with them, I can't even pick them all day bare handed with out getting sick, I have to wear gloves. I still have a month and a half before we start poking around but really looking forward to it.
  8. jimmydub Active Member

    Posts: 197
    Mill Creek, WA
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    Oh man, that's too bad! I have read that people can develop sensitivities to morels. There are some pretty nasty chemicals in morels, you have to cook them thoroughly to release them. I think the chemicals are related to some kind of jet fuel.
  9. GAT Active Member

    Posts: 4,261
    Willamette Valley, OR
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    That's a new one for me. As long as they are genuine morels, I've never heard of anyone having a reaction but some folks can't even eat button mushroom from the store so anything is possible.

    One reason I only eat morels and snow mushrooms is because I know exactly what they look like and it is difficult to confuse them with any other 'shroom.
  10. Matthew LeBret Active Member

    Posts: 753
    clarkston, wa
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    It turned to all mushrooms but it started with morels. We are always careful about cleaning and salt rinsing. For the first year I started getting sick I tryed everything from isolating the bags of mushrooms to cooking them different. It was only morels the fist year that made me sick but as of last year just about all mushrooms make me sick. I found out that cooked mushroom make me more sick then raw mushrooms like the salad type. It seams that my body just doesn't want them anymore. But I still love picking with the family
  11. dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

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    Near the Fjord
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    I haven't eaten morels, only chantrelles. Anyone eaten both? Which do you feel is the better tasting of the two?
  12. Richard Torres Active Member

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    Mill Creek
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    My son and I both love mushrooms but we've never gone out to look for them and I know you're flirting with disaster if you don't know what to look for. I know plenty of locations, some close to where we live, that i'm sure would support decent mushroom populations ( young stand's of evergreen's). I'd be willing to share some locations for experience.
  13. jimmydub Active Member

    Posts: 197
    Mill Creek, WA
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    That's a tough one. They each are distinctly delicious. When it comes to morels, chanterelles, king boletes, or any of the highly sought after fungi, the preferences change from person to person. I'll go with the morel, as I've only ever been "lost" looking for them.

    Another incredible mushroom is the bear's head, or Hericium abietis. They are a little less common, but are unmistakable: they look like frozen waterfalls, cascading upon one another. They taste like lobster or crawfish, and you can cook them like fish. The most remarkable thing, in my opinion, is that they contain compounds that have been shown in laboratory trials to aid in regenerating nerve cells. I found some near Carnation, along the Tolt river, while doing an invasive species sweep and destroy. They were popping out of a partially buried fallen conifer (too far gone to be identified), right next to the first holly bush that we found. Our four person crew went nuts, it was an awesome day to be sure.
  14. jimmydub Active Member

    Posts: 197
    Mill Creek, WA
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    Well sure, I'm more than willing to get you started, thanks for the offer. The spring season, as I said before, should be starting soon. I haven't found morels around here yet, but I know they're out there. I have multiple locations that have produced well on the east side, though. Oysters are a tasty mushroom, and can be really easy to find and harvest. I've seen hundreds of pounds hanging off alders in recently formed beaver ponds.
  15. Alex MacDonald Dr. of Doomology

    Posts: 3,336
    Haus Alpenrosa, Lederhosenland
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    With the fires on Blewett Pass this fall, there should be "huge tracts o` land" ready for hunting. How do you cook these things? I've never gone after them, but also would like to. I'm leery about it due to all the poisonous varieties though. Would love to learn.
  16. jimmydub Active Member

    Posts: 197
    Mill Creek, WA
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    Morels can be cooked a number of ways, just be sure to cook them thoroughly. Some people like to bread and deep fry and eat them as is, or they are great in soups, sauces, sprinkled on top of steak, or any of a number of applications. I have personally never had better pasta than that made with morels. They have a steak-like flavor, but also their own distinct "morel" taste.
  17. porterHause Just call me Jon

    Posts: 350
    Seattle, WA
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    I'm pretty pumped about the season as well. I hunt chanterelles in the fall as well, and they provide a sweet, apricoty taste to dishes. Would be good with some grouse! Alas, I usually cook them with chicken or chowder.

    Morels are more of a woodsy taste. I pick, then dry in the dehydrator. Seals up all the flavor. Then when I'm cooking them, rehydrate in water, using the water as base/stock for sauce. Simmer them shrooms, add cream, reduce until saucy and awesome. Serve with steak...with pasta, etc. Soooo good!

    Cooking or dehydrating releases all the gnarly chemicals. Get "All That the Rain Promises, and More" for a good guide to get you started. There are a couple of look-alike's that could get you in trouble..."false morels" and another reddish one that looks like a brain. Some eat the false morels (cooked), but I stay away from them. The red one's are bad news.
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  18. jimmydub Active Member

    Posts: 197
    Mill Creek, WA
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    pH, great post.

    "All That the Rain Promises, and More" by Arora is probably the simplest, most effective mushroom identification guide you can buy. I highly recommend "Mushrooms Demystified" by Arora as well, it's much more in-depth and is probably the most detailed and readable mushroom identification book around. "Mycelium Running" by Stamets is one of the coolest things I have ever read, not an id book but amazing for understanding mushrooms. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the natural sciences.
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  19. Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

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    Somewhere on the Coast
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    Thanks for the field guide recommendation, jimmydub.

    And thanks for the Morel photos, Gene. In recent years, I've only just collected a couple of King Boletes (in the early Fall), found only one spot with Chantrelles (top secret, not that great a spot, anyway), and have sampled some young, fresh Puffballs.
    I haven't been going after the local ones that are found under the shore pines. A couple of the properties that I used to take care of had King Boletes popping up, usually underneath Spruces, and I'd try to be on top of those. I found a nice one popping up right on a creek bank once, below a big Spruce.
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  20. Matthew Gulbranson Resident Swinger

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    Seattle, WA
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    I haven't done much picking in the spring for Morels, but get out when I can in the fall for any of my favorites: chantrelles, milky caps, cauliflower, different boletes, etc. I like them all differently. About 10 years ago my brother used some compost that had ash in it to spread around his yard. He put down some cardboard first, and the next year he had TONS of morels. So tasty! I wish I had more time to get out and take long walks through the woods. I love the smells during the different seasons. It's like therapy/meditation and treasure hunting all rolled into one.
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