Use a toothbrush or mushroom brush to remove debris from foraged mushrooms, then 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. When 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.
If you are not absolutely certain of a mushrooms identity, then do not eat it. 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 Edibility Guidelines found on the CMS Mushroom Foraging Safety page
When collecting fungi, avoid using plastic bags; 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 mushrooms 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:
- Bolete recipes
- Chanterelle recipes
- Lobster mushroom recipes
- Maitake recipes (a locally cultivated wild mushroom)
- Mixed wild mushroom recipes
- Morel recipes
- Puffball recipes
- Slippery Jack recipes
Cascade Mycological Society Wild Mushroom Cookbook
- $21.50 includes shipping to anywhere in the USA
- Click here for more info and to purchase a copy
This is really much more than a cookbook. It is a snapshot of the PNW regions most popular edible mushrooms. For example, Chanterelles, Hedgehogs, Matsutake, Morels, and Lobster mushrooms, plus 12 others. We start with some storage and preservation techniques and a fruiting calendar. After that, recipes are organized by season. Each section includes a description of the mushroom along with foraging stories and tips from a network of mushroom lovers with a lifetime of experiences to share. The cookbook has over 184 pages with one-of-a-kind recipes and full-color photographs. The book is printed on wipe-clean gloss paper, has a lay-flat spiral binding, and also includes a convenient index.
All profits from the sale of the book will support the CMS grant and scholarship programs. The cookbook is dedicated to Freeman Rowe. Freeman’s love of learning and teaching the beauty and diversity of fungi has touched so many of us.