Saturday, November 20, 2010

Shaggy Mane..Coprinus comatus

Haven't been posting a lot lately.  Not that I haven't been foraging...just I haven't had a lot of extra time to write about it!  Perhaps you can identify.
One of the most reoccurring questions that people ask who are interested in foraging is "How do I know what is in season?"

While some books do in fact have lists of what to expect and when...a lot of knowing what to look for comes with practice over many seasons.  It also is very helpful to get to know one area really well as you can remember where something grew the season before and watch for it to poke up and follow it through its life cycle to see what it looks like at every stage of its development.  

It is helpful to have people that are local to you that forage...let you know what they are gathering!

As I don't have a lot of time presently to write in depth articles...I plan on just giving blurbs about the things I harvest so that people will know that the same may also be available in their area.  I'm in Northern California...but others may have similar conditions based on climate...elevation...etc. I harvested Shaggy Mane mushrooms from my sisters backyard!  I was helping her move and spotted them by a willow tree along a barked border.  I cut them close to the ground with my pocketknife that I always keep in my pocket then put them into a damp cardboard box that was sitting out in the rain.

I do not consider myself very knowledgeable about the world of mushrooms...but the Shaggy Mane is one of a handful of mushrooms I am not afraid to harvest and eat.  I hope over time to become more proficient ID'ing other mushrooms.

By the time I got home (6 or 7 hours later!) they were visibly starting to get inky.  I rinsed them off.  There was a little dirt and some ants that seemed t find the mushroom desirable.  I cut off the inky parts and then sauteed them in a small pat of butter.  Guess what it tasted like!  A mushroom!  Perhaps my taste buds aren't that educated...and I'd be taken to task for by a mycologist for not being able to describe its distinct taste...but was good!...and free!  and it didn't have any of the garbage chemicals that I have heard are sprayed on the button type available at the store.

There is a lot on the internet about these mushrooms.  Poke around and you can learn plenty to help you be confident with the ID.  Happy mushrooming!

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