I’ve been foraging for years, but I’ve always stayed clear of mushrooms. They fascinate me, but they also scare me. There’s just too much room to make a mistake, and I don’t think a book can teach you everything you need to know. Mushrooming is definitely something that you need to learn first-hand from an expert. Or better still, a whole group of experts. And that’s just what I’m doing. My husband and I joined a mushroom club last week, and we went on our first foray over the weekend.
We met at a state park, and divided up into smaller groups for a three-hour mushroom walk along the hiking trails. Whenever we spotted a new mushroom, we carefully dug it up and added it to our baskets. Then, we met back up with the other groups, spread the mushrooms out on a few picnic tables, and set to work identifying them.
There were four mycologists in attendance, so it didn’t take long for them to identify the rainbow of mushrooms that we had collected.
There were edible mushrooms like this Cauliflower mushroom …
strange-feeling mushrooms like these Jelly Babies, color-changing mushrooms and even some poisonous varieties.
All in all it was a fascinating experience, and well worth the $5 membership fee that we paid to join the club. We’ll definitely do it again (and next time we’ll bring the kids with us).
And while you won’t catch me popping a foraged mushroom in my mouth anytime soon, I at least feel like I’m learning from the right people.
Want to find a mushroom club in your area? Here’s a state-by-state list of clubs.