Mushroom Walk

by Josée

I’d like to learn more about foraging for edible wild food because I think that it’s a useful skill to have. Not only can it provide you with nutritious and free food, but it connects you to the environment and the rhythm of the seasons. It’s also a valuable skill to pass on to your family members and children.

I’ve read a few books on foraging only to come away from them feeling discouraged. Even if the plants depicted in the books exist out here in the North I have doubts that I would actually be able to find them. And if I did find them, I don’t think I would eat them in fear that I didn’t correctly identify them.

There are a few plants that I do forage from: saskatoons bushes, huckleberries, and wild blueberries. I could also pick dandelion leaves… but I don’t. Clearly, I have much to learn about foraging.

This past Saturday I got the chance to learn some foraging skills. Foraging for mushrooms. Our town university’s biology club organized a mushroom walk. Two professors led a group around the university and the surrounding forest and identified different mushrooms.

The only edible mushrooms we found were growing right on the university grounds.

Puffball mushroom Calvatia gigantea

These mushrooms are only edible when immature (white inside). When the spores start turning green the mushroom is no longer edible. I remember stomping on these mushrooms as a kid and seeing puffs of green spurt out.

Edible.

Turning green, probably shouldn’t eat it.

Shaggy Mane Coprinus comatus

Shaggy manes are good to eat until they start turning brown or going inky.

All the other mushrooms we found were not edible. It was interesting to see that the professors weren’t able to identify quite a few the mushrooms and simply called them LBMs (little brown mushrooms) and warned us that we should not eat a mushroom unless we are 110% confident that we know it’s edible.

I forget the name of this one.
And this one.
Bear’s tooth mushroom Hericium coralloides. I’ve read online that bear’s tooth is edible.

The walk was a great learning experience. I learned that I would need to go on a least 100 of these walks to be somewhat confident with identified mushrooms! At least it’s a start.

2 comments

thefirstfouryears September 30, 2010 - 6:36 pm

We always used to hunt and pick morell (sp?) mushrooms in the fall. They were so good with a bit of salt and butter and then broiled in the oven. Another thing to miss about my farm…

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gabriel October 5, 2010 - 10:25 pm

Quite a bit of experience might be necessary for some mushrooms which are hard to distinguish, but there are quite a number of fairly unique mushrooms that are edible, such as morels and some of the boletes.

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