The below post was one I wrote before I headed out of town for the last month and a half. We’re now actually at the very very tail-end of mushroom season, but as I’m using this blog as a resource for future years, I figured I’d go ahead and post it.
We’re in the thick of mushroom season up here in Southeast Alaska, and hopefully it’ll be staying with us for a while. I’ve been lax in posting and will continue to be lax for a little while longer yet as I’m about to head out of town for a month. But before that, I’ve got a couple of posts up my sleeve.
What I Pick
As a newer mushroom hunter, I do what a lot of us less-experienced folk do, I stick to non-gilled mushrooms that are easy to identify. Obviously, before you pick/eat something, make sure you’re sure, but these are local mushrooms that once you figure them out, are very easy to be sure of.
|Undersides (L to R) – Golden Chantrelle, Hedgehog, Winter Chantrelle|
|Topsides (L to R) – Golden Chantrelle, Hedgehog, Winter Chantrelle|
My favorite, with a good meaty texture and a slightly nutty flavor. I find it difficult to do anything other than just saute them up and eat them.
|The underside of one of the larger hedgehogs I’ve found.|
The topside looks to me exactly like a perfectly toasted marshmallow, same texture, same color. They’re usually a bit lumpy on top, but unmistakable when flipped over as the underside is covered in tiny little spikes (just like a hedgehog). While there are a few other mushrooms that have a spiny underside (referred to as toothed mushrooms), they’re all edible (all though from what I understand, Hawkwings aren’t that tasty unless you cook them for at least 20 minutes), and there are no real poisonous imposters. I find it’s best to carefully cut the stalk of the mushroom and brush off any loose pine needles or dirt on the topsides, the underside of the mushroom will be remarkable free of brush when you pick it, but any bits and pieces of dirt that you put in the bag will be attracted to those little spines like velcro. Easiest to keep them clean from the start because it’s not that easy to clean them out once they are in.
|Dorikily thrilled to find many of our common mushrooms for sale at a local Paris farmers market. The orange ones in the back are golden chantrelles.|
A big favorite in this area, and these are the goodies that you’ll find in the supermarket sometimes. They have a lovely apricot color, and it’s no joke that they have a slight apricot flavor as well. Like hedgehogs, they’ve got a fairly meaty texture. Google cream of chantrelle soups and you’ll find some beauties.
I had big plans for Chantrelles this year, but now that I’m going to be missing the season, those experiments will have to wait until next year.
A mostly overlooked mushroom, maybe because they grow EVERYWHERE.
|Cleaning the inside of a winter chantrelle.|
They’re small, but plentiful, and very quickly you can pick a bunch. These mushrooms have hollow stems, topped in a fluted cap. A perfect vessel for spruce needles. When I clean these I go ahead and split them down the center and brush out the central funnel. You would not believe how many spruce needles I clean out of these babies.
The classic way to cook up mushrooms, especially if you’re picking them in a rainforest, is to do a dry saute (meaning you toss your mushrooms in a pan without any oil), shake them around until they give off a bunch of water, continue to saute until they reabsorb the water. Then I add whatever else I want to for flavor, usually just a bit of butter, salt, and pepper.
With a decent haul of hedgehogs, a few golden chantrelles and a few winter chantrelles, we put together a DELICIOUS mushroom pizza with caramelized onions.
|Best pizza ever?|
|Helps to have an expert pizza tosser.|