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Wild Mushrooms

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mushrooms!

Postby cgundersen » Fri Mar 23, 2007 4:39 pm

Hi Vince,
In my experience, timing is crucial, and as others have noted, rain. I have collected bushels of morels in recent burn areas between 5000-8000 ft (ie., not HIGH Sierra) in May and into early June. But, for higher elevation delights, boletes are definitely out there, but seldom before mid-August. My best times for boletes have been early September on the way up to Minaret Lake and also toward Duck Pass, but I've had scattered success in a lot of other areas, typically in the 7-10,000 ft range with a decent pine canopy. Left to dry, the flavor really stands out when added to just about any decent freeze dried meal!
CG



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mushrooms!

Postby cgundersen » Fri Mar 23, 2007 4:47 pm

Hi Vince,
In my experience, timing is crucial, and as others have noted, rain. I have collected bushels of morels in recent burn areas between 5000-8000 ft (ie., not HIGH Sierra) in May and into early June. But, for higher elevation delights, boletes are definitely out there, but seldom before mid-August. My best times for boletes have been early September on the way up to Minaret Lake and also toward Duck Pass, but I've had scattered success in a lot of other areas, typically in the 7-10,000 ft range with a decent pine canopy. Left to dry, the flavor really stands out when added to just about any decent freeze dried meal!
CG
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Postby BSquared » Sat Mar 24, 2007 6:19 pm

Yeah, we dried a bunch of them from Wyoming a couple of years ago and it takes me back to the mountains just to open the bag! They're great, but not nearly as good as when fresh!
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Postby Lightning Dog » Mon Mar 26, 2007 1:24 pm

OK experts.... Instead of waxing poetic, instruct a hungry man about what to eat.
I want to learn about mushrooms, fungus, etc. I love them but am petrified to eat the wrong thing and get sick. Classes?? Books?? How do you learn what's what?
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Postby Kerstin » Wed Mar 28, 2007 11:23 am

Lightning Dog, look up a mycological society in your area. Go on field trips with them. Learn as much as you can about the deadly poisonous mushrooms as well as the edible and non-edible varieties. There aren't too many deadly varieties but they can be common and you don't want to make a mistake.

I had a knowledgeable friend take me foraging for King Boletes and Chanterelles. He carefully showed me how to identify them. We went out several times. We'd also find deadly mushrooms like the Death Cap (Amanita phalloides) and I would familiarize myself with them.

I feel very comfortable going out and gathering King Boletes and Chanterelles now. There are lots of King Boletes in the Sierra Nevada in August and September. They are delicious. If I could only find Chanterelles here! There were lots in Santa Cruz.

Books I'd recommend are "All That the Rain Promises and More" by David Arora and "Mushrooms Demystified" by the same author. The first book mentioned is a smaller but wonderful guide to some of the more common mushroom varieties. It includes edible, non-edible and deadly mushrooms. I like his approach to mushrooms--he's not coming from the paranoid point of view of "Mushrooms are dangerous and can kill you!!" Instead he provides solid and sensible advice about gathering mushrooms.

It's important to have a knowledgeable person show you mushroom varieties. Don't try to learn about them only by yourself.

Happy foraging!
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Postby vpoulin » Wed Mar 28, 2007 1:02 pm

LD - Kerstin's advice is excellent. There's mycological groups in nearly every area and they love teaching new people about mushrooms. Attend a meeting then try to get out a few times with them. That's the best way - it's what I did, and most people I know. Having said that, the field guides mentioned are easily followed. Over time you'll learn there are only a few, really good mushrooms worth the effort. I have 35 on the list of edibles and only 30% or so are worth messing with and none are even remotely close to being mis-identified with a seriously poisonous cap. That King Bolete for example - a treasure. Boletes are the safest mushroom for beginners. There are only a few that would cause stomack upset and they are readily distinquished using images and a "spore-print". This is where you place a mushroom on a piece of white paper with the gill down and leave it for a period of time. The mushroom drops its spores on the paper leaving a tell-tale print and revealing the color of the spores. Spore color is a valuable idenfication tool. King Bolete is an easy mushroom to identify - any good hiker, naturalist would have no problem identifying it using the pocket guide Kerstin recommends. Same with Chanterelles - once you see one in the fall, you'll never need to see another to be certain what it is. Another easily identified mushroom is - the Delicious milky cap. This one is orange in color and found close to streams (wet sites, seepages). It has no look-alike. The trick is to cut the stem and place it on top of your hand. This mushroom leaves a milky, orange residue. No other mushrooms, except milky caps leave that tell-tail mark. This one is orange. Other milky caps that are not eaten leave a white mark or ring. Just using the pocket guide you can nail this one without risk. There are seveal others, that we have in the PNW that are fool-proof. A really great one is the Hedgehog mushroom. This one has gills that hang below the cap like spines, hence the name, "Hedgehog". It is a wonderfully firm mushroom, orange to light orange in color, and really good. A related mushroom is a crazy thing that looks like a goats beard, it grows on dead logs and has a very nice taste (Hericium abietis). Another is an interesting beast that looks like a cauliflower head. This one again, can not be confused with any other mushroom once you've seen it. The name is Sparassis crispa, and a great find. Like the boletes and lactarious (milky caps) there are a few Hydnums that would make the stomack ach, but they are nasty looking things that you would cringe at thinking of eating. A look through the guide would show you the obvious distinctions between the few I've mentoned and the species in the same group that would create stomack upset. With just these, you've got 8 of the best - and not even come close to confusing them with something like a posionous Amanita. A good rule is to avoid anything white, and stay away from all "little brown mushrooms". After capturing a few Kings and some Chanterelles this fall, you'll be on you way, but try and get to one of clubs. They will set you straight on the Death Angle, and open up the opportunity to harvest another really fine selection of wild mushrooms that lie in the family of Agarics - these have white caps, but wonderfully pinkish to brown spores and mostly found in pastures. Our Safeway mushroom is an Agaric. The Death Angle (very deadly) throws WHITE SPORES, so pass all white mushrooms until you make contact with a micological expert. In fact - that should be your rule. Get to know the guys in the club and everytime you think you've got it right, go to them and get it checked. I always did that before eating anything. I quickly went to 35 on the list and now no longer need expert advice.

Good hunting
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Postby Lightning Dog » Thu Mar 29, 2007 11:05 am

Thanks for the info everyone. I have found the website for the LA Mycological Society and will check them out. Thanks again.
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Re: Wild Mushrooms

Postby Cross Country » Tue May 18, 2010 6:38 pm

I thought someone might appreciate this picture taken near a lake in Ten Lakes Basin from Tioga road. There were several (Late Aug) of about this size. Had I known they were edible I would have cooked and eaten them. I love mushrooms.
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Last edited by Cross Country on Tue May 18, 2010 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wild Mushrooms

Postby hikerduane » Tue May 18, 2010 6:43 pm

My neighbor got me to tag along for a bit late Sunday looking for mushrooms, we found five morels close to home. Around 4000' in elev.
Piece of cake.
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Re: Wild Mushrooms

Postby vpoulin » Tue May 18, 2010 7:35 pm

Great photo - check out page 37 of Sierra Nevada Natural History - "Giant Lentinus", or Lentinus ponderosus also known as Ponderous lentinus. Described well by David Arora, "Mushrooms Demystified" on page 143. We found two on our trip, but did not eat them because we left our field guides behind to save pack weight (a mistake). According to Arora, this is an edible and choice wild mushroom, but requires some cooking to make it tender. The Japanese use it as a substitute for their favored matsutake mushroom or Pine Mushroom. That one is chewy as well and delicious. Nice find.
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