Tooth Mushrooms and Other Foraging Adventures


As I mentioned in June, I am a novice wild mushroom forager, and mostly use it as an excuse to get out and enjoy the wilderness. This is my first year exploring what the cool damp Fall season has to offer and in my few ventures into the woods I've been amazed at the sheer volume of fungi occupying the forest floor. They are everywhere.I have also been surprised to find that I am not alone in wandering the woods for these strange creatures. Almost everywhere I've been I've noticed signs of others having been there cutting off the heads of mushrooms and leaving footprints on the trail. On one occasion I looked up and 15 feet away was a large man with a bucket and a 10 inch knife in his hand. It had the feel of a gruesome moment in a Coen brothers movie for a second, but then he smiled and showed me his bounty of honey mushrooms which were apparently a staple collected in his homeland in Eastern Europe.

As I said in June, my approach is to learn and study before taking a bite. As they say, you can be a bold mushroomer, or an old mushroomer, but there are no bold and old foragers of wild mushrooms. I've learned to identify some of the poisonous varieties like Death Cap and Destroying Angel and they are fairly common, so don't mess around.

Last night I discovered a bounty of comb tooth mushrooms. Here's the description from the American mushrooms site;

The great news is that these delicious fleshy fungi are among the safest, most unmistakable of all of North America's species of edible wild mushrooms: If it looks like a cluster of white fungal icicles hanging off a decaying log, stump, or dead tree trunk, and it seems very fresh, bake it (or fry it slowly in a mix of butter and oil) and enjoy!

You can see in the picture above that the variety I collected are like heads of cauliflower. One was 20 feet up in a tree and I had to use a stick and knock if free and catch it before it crashed to the ground. I'll do a small taste test today and let you know the results. Go here for more info on this variety.