Monday, October 4, 2010

Harvest (of chanterelles)

Its mushroom season again.  For those of you not lucky enough to be stepping over mushrooms on your way to the bus-stop, the Pacific Northwest is one of the richest fungi-filled areas in the world and once the rains start, mushrooms abound. Wild mushrooms are harvested commercially and many amateur mycologists collect for personal use including prized chanterelles boletes, morels and even truffles.   Since moving here, I have been a member of the Puget Sound Mycological Society ( and have eaten various foraged mushrooms.  This week I ate shaggy lepiota (lepiota rhacodes) collected at Frost's school bus stop (I had to take the buttons because as soon as they emerged the slugs devoured them) and you may recall my bounty of morels from up the street.
Despite much fun and persistence identifying non-edibles, until this weekend I never found the kind of abundance of experienced hunters.

Now look at this.

See the glint in my eye

This is only one quarter of the amount I gathered with Wren and Tara in the forest near Deception Pass (while on a preschool camping trip).  It was very exciting.

Finding them was very much like a trail of breadcrumbs.  First I found one, then another and finally I was scrambling, creeping and crawling through the underbrush of salal, huckleberry and moss to find the next glowing patch.  We took them home and cooked some at Tara's for Phoebe's 18th birthday party and I cleaned mine and stored them in the fridge.  I have eaten a pile for breakfast and am thinking of drying some and keeping some for Mum, who arrives on Tuesday night.

It was actually morning but gloomy in
the forest.  See the chanterelles glow!

A particularly perfect chanterelle.  Picture taken by Wren.

Wren rolling out pasta for fettuccine

The mushrooms before cleaning.  See the family goals whiteboard
in the background and our wall of drawings.
We have also been harvesting rhubarb from the garden
because it had covered the path.  Mostly, I grow vegetables to
make a point not to eat ;)

Last weekend we looked for mushrooms at North Bend.   Here, Wren
'smooshes' an old pear shaped puffball to make it puff.

Wren cuts up an inedible mushroom to "DENTIFY IT"
Speaking of things dental.... I think Wren has a cavity.  There is a dull, dark spot between two molars which will not go away with brushing or flossing.  I must call the dentist on Monday.  To make matters worse, Frost's retainer 'broke' mysteriously this week.   Josh has just had a root canal.  Its all because we put down "no cavities" under our Health and Fitness Family goal.


Linda said...

Oh YUM! Those look amazing! i wish, wish, wish we had mushrooms here but nothing like that grows on the prairies unfortunately... Growing up in Norway we used to pick wild mushrooms and blueberries this time of year.

Shannon said...

Thanks Linda,
I guess you harvest other things? How about... um... wheat? What grows on the prairies?

Its amazing how few locals collect the abundance of mushrooms around here. In fact, about 50% of the foragers on many field trips are Asian and European immigrants who want to hunt mushrooms but need to know the local species!

I hope my kids inherit my obsession. I took Wren to Wholefoods today and he saw the chanterelles and yelled "CHANTERELLES!" I don't think he realizes I am particulary excited by finding them rather than just seeing them in any circumstance.

Linda said...

Not much grows on the prairies except wheat. It sure doesn't hold the same appeal chewing on a wheat stalk. ;) But the wheat fields are beautiful in late summer.

I sort of miss the whole foraging culture more common in Norway. Berries, nuts, mushrooms and fruit. I have such fond memories stealing apples and plums from our neighbors. ;)

Too funny about the grocery store, lol. Hopefully it means a lifetime of loving the gems of the forest.