I don’t shop at Whole Foods regularly, but my sister does. She texted me before Thanksgiving, excited to tell me she’d bought chanterelles for us to cook and share. Imagine my surprise to find that the mushrooms Whole Foods was selling as chanterelles were, in fact, nothing of the sort. Fortunately, they were another edible mushroom, so no danger of poisoning here, but still… Shouldn’t we expect more from a respected national retailer? (That’s a rhetorical question. The answer is yes.) Ah, but it gets worse. This wasn’t an isolated incident, and Whole Foods has chosen NOT to correct the problem.
If you’ve ever eaten maitake mushrooms, you’ve eaten Hen of the Woods (aka Grifola frondosa). Whatever you call it, this meaty bracket fungus has excellent taste and substance. Hen of the Woods is a polypore, which means that its undersides have pores, not gills. It usually grows at the base of hardwood trees or from underground tree roots, and is a perennial mushroom. You’re likely to find it growing in the same place, year after year, until it kills the host tree.
They don’t call it mushroom hunting for nothing. While mushrooms may be perennial, they are never predictable. That’s part of what makes it so darned exciting. When you hit the mushroom jackpot, you could easily go home with 30 pounds of choice fungi, in which case you better know how to preserve your mushroom harvest! Mushrooms are highly perishable, and different mushrooms require different preservation methods to maintain their deliciousness. Read more
Chicken of the Woods (aka sulphur shelf, aka chicken mushroom) actually refers to several mushrooms in the genus Laetiporus. L. sulphureus is generally considered a fall mushroom, and L. cincinnatus is usually found in mid-summer in my part of the world. Both are easy to spot thanks to their vibrant color. Foragers sometimes call them 50-mile-an-hour mushrooms, because they really stand out in the landscape. Read more
Mushrooms and acorns bring rich, umami flavor and satisfying texture to this acorn mushroom soup. It’s filling, delicious, and thanks to its low fat content…very healthy. Read more
I’m not complaining. We all have our ups and downs, hard times, rough spots, and the past few months have been like that for me. No indication that things are going to change any time soon, so I decided to give myself a shot in the arm and get back to what makes me feel most grounded, satisfied, and relaxed. Read more
I’m especially fond of recipes that let you use up lots of odds and ends from the refrigerator, and this is one of those recipes. It’s also delicious, easy to make, and freezes like a dream: asparagus and mushroom bread pudding. Read more
They don’t call it mushroom hunting for nothing. Fungi hold a special appeal for foragers: they’re unpredictable, exciting, and delicious…not to mention potentially dangerous. If you want to safely hunt for (and eat) wild mushrooms, here’s how to get started.
Boletus edulis is known by many names: porcini, cep, penny bun, steinpilz, and king bolete, to name a few. Whatever you call it, it is one of the most delicious and desirable edible mushrooms in existence. It’s no wonder serious mushroom hunters keep their special spots secret, checking them every few days during porcini season so as not to miss a single, precious mushroom. Read more
The first time I found morels (Morchella species) I’d been standing on top of them for at least five minutes before I saw them. It’s not just that they grow under leaf litter, they’re also well camouflaged to blend in with their surroundings. Morel hunters move slowly when they find a patch of mushrooms. One false move and you might squash your harvest. Read more