It’s just about the time for the weather to take a turn for the wet and damp to come in. And this is usually heralded by the appearance of one of the most exquisite foods we can enjoy right from nature itself – mushrooms.
Just take a walk out in the park or the woods, and you will see these myceliac marvels growing on dead plant matter and damp corners of the forest – and to the true mushroom enthusiast, there’s nothing better than freshly cooked mushrooms that were just in their environment a few hours ago. NOTHING.
Not only are they a treat to the tastebuds, each species having its own characteristics as there are many different types of fine wines all over the world….but they are also an excellent source of important vitamins and minerals that you will be hard-pressed (chances slim to nil) to find in your vegetables. These include some all-important vitamins including vitamin D and your B vitamins, but also trace amounts of elements that contribute to your immune system and body’s well-being. Canned mushrooms and the dried ones you find in the market are great, but like we said earlier, there’s nothing better than something that was just living (and still is) hours after plucking them from the woods.
Enjoying mushrooms is so simple – all you’ll need to do to get the truest representation of mushroom flavors is to heat up a bit of oil or butter, chop up or dice your mushrooms to delightful small bites, and lightly sauteing them in sea salt and cracked pepper. Nothing more, nothing less, for the true purist. Otherwise, there is a plethora of ways you could use mushrooms in your everyday cooking.
There are undoubtedly risks about mushroom hunting, but we’ll help you out for safer mushroom hunting – in fact, there are plenty of guides on how to tell whether a particular fungus is inedible, plus some regular guidelines….and there are a majority of safe mushrooms to eat out there, too.
And we’ve got just the 4 safe mushrooms for you to forage for – check them out.
Boletes, or Boletaceae, are easy to distinguish thanks to their thick, robust caps (very fleshy indeed), and their stalks – whose tubes underneath the cap open up into pores on the other end. These tasty mushrooms are fortunately for the most part edible (only several species are poisonous, with red and orange colorations). Some species of this group include Porcini mushrooms (best flavor, nutty and fresh), Ceps, and Zeller’s boletus, with an entire palette of flavors for all tastes and textures. Make sure to identify the species properly before taking a taste test (by breakng off a minuscule sliver of its cap and popping it in your mouth) – bitter and chalky usually mean inedible. These are excellent mushrooms for cooking, grilling (especially for their meaty taste), and for side dishes.
2. True Morels
They are easily distinguished thanks to their iconic caps – they look like sponges, loofahs, or honeycombs with pits – and they are absolutely delicious. Morels are an important part of haute French cuisine, whose prices can get exorbitant due to the fact that cultivation is difficult….trust us that there is nothing like freshly harvested morels sauteed with nothing more than premium butter and salt and pepper. It’s THAT damn good and flavorful. Supreme in every aspect!
These mushrooms need no introduction – they are after all one of the most easily recognizable and hunted species of mushrooms out there in the world today. They are rich not just in flavor, but important concentrations of beta carotene and vitamin D. Chanterelles are a very important fixture in the cuisines of Europe, often finding themselves on top of pizza, stews, sauces, marinades, and pie or crepe filling. And this is probably why they fetch high prices in the market – because the demand is higher than what’s available. Cultivating them is notoriously frustrating, almost impossible, which is why many people go out in the woods camping with a sleeping bag in order to find them. Just a few nights in your tent and if you’re lucky you will find enough Chanterelles to make a month worth salary.
4. Teeth Fungi
One of the edible members of this group of fungi is the bear’s head tooth mushroom – they are a real treat that resemble almost like eating light, delicate seafood flesh like sweet shrimp or lobster. Caution must be taken though – there are certain inedible species just as much, so please make 100% sure and let an expert mycologist confirm whether that which you’ve found is a genuine bear’s head tooth, or an inedible member, because you could get a bad reaction from them. And if they are….be ready for a wonderful treat.