Edible Mushrooms

Edible Mushrooms

The following choice edibles are very distinctive and therefore easy to identify. It is always wise to be certain of your identification of a species before eating it. Consult a field guide to determine your species. This web site should not be used to identify mushrooms.

Calvatia Craniiformis

Calvatia craniiformis

A medium size puffball about the size of grapefruit it fruits in late summer and fall in fields and grassy areas most often. It should be collected young and eaten when it is white throughout. As it matures it turns yellow and the olive brown and is bitter and not edible.

Craterellus fallax

It is very thin fleshed but usually in great numbers in conifer hardwood or hardwood forests and widely distributed. The blackish brown coloration makes it hard to spot at first. However, it is one of the choice edibles and unique in its appearance.

Hericium Coralloides

The large fruiting bodies (10-25 cm, 4-10 inches broad) are pure white with white spines on the branches. It grows on limbs, logs, and stumps in summer and fall. It is one of our favorite edibles. It will grow from the same log year after year. Wash well to get small bugs out of it.

Laetiporus Persicinus

This is a large polypore growing in a rosette and is often 30-45 cm (12 -18 inches) wide. It has white pores and grows on the ground in Eastern North America. The soft marginal area should be cut for use since it becomes hard and tough toward the middle. It is closely related to Laetiporus sulphureus (the sulphur shelf) with bright yellow pores but it grows shelf-like on wood and is also a fine edible.

Morchella Deliciosa

The distinctive head with ridges and pits is a character of all true morels. The “white morel” has white ridges and is often fruiting under dying elms in Eastern North America but is widely distributed but not usually found under conifers. It can be dried, stored in sealed bags, and when revived has a flavor equal to the fresh material. Look for it only in the spring like all the other morels. Crab stuffed morels are really good!

Morchella Esculenta

The yellow morel is only equal in numbers to the black morel. They, along with the black morel, fruit in great numbers the year or two following a forest fire. A food processing dryer can be used to dry sliced up morels for winter or off season use. Remember to store them in a sealed bag.

Sparassis Crispa

Fruits in a cauliflower-like cluster 15-35 cm (6-15inches) wide, cream color on the ground under conifers. It usually grows from dead roots in the soil. It is fleshy and aside from washing out the insects hiding under the numerous caps it is easy to prepare and very good tasting.

Tricholoma Magnivelare

It is common in the fall under conifers along the west coast. It is a favorite of California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia collectors. It has an anise like pleasant odor with excellent taste. It is closely related to the Asian Tricholoma matsutake which is very much prized in Japan, Korea and China. This edible is good anyway you prepare it!

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