Use a toothbrush or mushroom brush to remove debris from foraged mushrooms or wipe with a damp towel. Clean wild mushrooms as you use them. Use a sharp, paring knife to cut away damaged, soiled, or tough bits. Follow recommendations for soaking or dehydrating by species. Mushrooms impart an earthy, sometimes meaty or musky, flavor to food known as umami, and are high in protein, B and D vitamins, and anti-oxidants. After you learn to identify and cook wild mushrooms, you will find that each variety has its unique culinary characteristic and preparation method to bring out its best, distinctive taste.
Never eat any fungus that you are not absolutely certain has been identified correctly. Consult a trusted field reference book, but don’t rely absolutely on pictures in books – differences between fungi can be difficult to spot. Go out with an experienced guide. When trying any fungus for the first time, only eat it in small amounts to make sure the body can cope with it. Keep a small fresh portion of it in the fridge to easily identify the source of a reaction.
Be sure to read and follow our important guidelines to follow when collecting and eating wild mushrooms.
When collecting fungi, avoid using plastic bags; waxed or brown paper bags are preferred. Water condenses on the walls of plastic and makes the mushrooms mushy. Store mushrooms so that cool air circulates around them. If the specimens are very moist, line and cover a bowl with a cloth or paper towel before refrigerating.
The video below is Preserving Mushrooms by Jennifer Macone of the Mushroomery given at the 2017 Mount Pisgah Arboretum Mushroom Festival
Here are links to a few CMS member favorite recipes for mushrooms commonly found in our region:
- Lobster Mushrooms
- Maitakes (a locally cultivated wild mushroom)
- Mixed Wild Mushrooms
- Slippery Jacks
Cascade Mycological Society Wild Mushroom Cookbook
The Cascade Mycological Society Wild Mushroom Cookbook is available for sale online.
The book features over 184 pages filled with one-of-a-kind recipes, plus anecdotes, tips, and full-color photographs featuring foraged, wild-crafted mushrooms from our geographic region. It is organized by season and contains beautiful color photographs printed on 100# Gloss Book stock with lay-flat spiral binding. The contents are thoroughly and thoughtfully indexed. All profits from the sale of the book will go towards supporting the CMS grant and scholarship programs. It is dedicated to Freeman Rowe, whose love of learning and teaching the beauty and diversity of fungi has touched so many of us.
- $21.00 includes shipping to anywhere in the USA
- Click here for more info and to purchase a copy