How to Cook Wild Mushrooms
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.
Here are links to a few CMS member favorite recipes for mushrooms commonly found in our region:
- Lobster Mushrooms
- Mixed Wild Mushrooms
- Slippery Jacks
The Cascade Mycological Society (CMS) is soliciting contributions for an upcoming cookbook and mushroom journal. The book will be available for sale to members in Fall 2014 and will feature seasonal mushroom recipes, plus photographs, tips and stories featuring foraged mushrooms from the Western Oregon mushroom belt. Proceeds from cookbook sales will go towards supporting the CMS grant and scholarship programs. Contributors to the published book will have their names printed alongside their submissions and receive a special invitation to the Cookbook Release Feast. Email your content to firstname.lastname@example.org.