Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Our Foray into Foraging

Last weekend we went hunting. The only type of hunting I will ever do - mushroom hunting!

Of course we had our foraging feline with us. Baby followed us around the whole time! Looks like she's trying to sniff out some mushrooms for us.

David has been researching the different types of mushrooms so we could identify the edible varieties on our search. We went out after all the rain we had last week and there were mushrooms everywhere! Unfortunately, most of them were inedible.

Not sure what these are called, but pretty sure they are inedible. Better safe than sorry, so we left them!

Based on what we've read, these look inedible as well. Boo!

Found these cute little spiky things. Even if they were edible, they were only about the size of a dime.

Finally, we got lucky! Found a bunch of puffball mushrooms. Definitely edible! Hooray!

Apparently, puffballs can reach the size of a basketball! Didn't find any near that size, but this one was pretty big.

At a certain point, puffballs become inedible. You have to cut them open and inspect the inside. If it is all white and fluffy looking, you are good to go. If there is any yellowish tint at all, scrap it. Eventually puffballs start to grow spores inside which can be harmful. The yellowish tint is the first sign that spores are starting to "sprout" inside.

This one was good!

We looked up how best to cook puffballs, and one method is to saute them in some butter or olive oil. Another option, which seems to be the most popular, is to dip in egg, coat in bread crumbs and pan fry.

The first step in preparing the mushrooms is peeling off the tough outer layer of the mushroom. You can eat it, but we read that it may upset your stomach because it is hard to digest. Then slice about 1/4" thick and prepare how you like.

We tried both methods, and frying is definitely the best!

When I ate these fried puffballs, I was immediately transported back to a memory from my childhood. When I was little, my grandma used to pick wild mushrooms from her yard and fry them for us. These tasted exactly like hers! I remember one time she got pretty mad at my grandpa because he mowed over some mushrooms she wanted to pick. :)

I'm hoping we'll find some morels next spring! Until then, we'll study up on mushroom identification. Especially false morels. Yikes!


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