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A Banner Year for Mushrooms

Some friends of ours are mushroom foragers.

Crimini mushrooms
Porcini mushrooms

Every fall they forage for mushrooms in secret spots in the Rocky Mountains and come home with baskets of beautiful mushrooms.

Shelly holding two giant Crimini mushrooms.
Shelly holding two giant Porcini mushrooms.

This year Shelly and D have reported a bumper crop of Porcini mushrooms as a result of our wetter-than-usual summer weather, and their harvest was truly spectacular. We were lucky enough to receive a couple of massive toadstools from their haul and plan to cook them up for supper tonight.

Mushroom foraging must be undertaken with caution as eating the wrong mushroom can make you sick or even kill you. Positive identification of mushroom species involves spore prints, examination of the gills and growth patterns, and more.

I love this warning from “There ought never be such a book as “The Dummy’s Guide to Edible Wild Mushrooms,” because identifying edible wild mushrooms and eating them is sort of like packing a parachute: any one mistake can be your last.”

Drying freshly-harvested mushrooms.
Drying freshly-harvested mushrooms.

Luckily, Shelly and D know what they’re doing when it comes to foraging for mushrooms. The only question left was what to do with a abundance of mushrooms? Once harvested, mushrooms won’t last too long. Keep them in paper bags in the fridge if you’re going to use them fresh, or dry them for long-term storage.

Daughter Milan showing off her mushrooms.
Daughter Milan showing off her mushrooms.

Shelly and D sliced the fungi and laid the slices out to dry on screens in the sun. Dried mushrooms store well and rehydrate easily with hot water. They make excellent additions to soups, stews, sauces, stir-fries, and of course, to Glorious One-Pot Meals, too!

Posted in: Gardening

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