A beginner's guide to hunting mushrooms in Washington is included.
As a novice mushroom enthusiast, I have begun to scratch the surface of the seemingly endless possibilities when searching for mushrooms in the Pacific Northwest.Since the beginning of human history, mushrooms have been revered, cultivated and eaten.Fortunately for me, I am located in Washington State, which is one of the prime epicenters for the world of tradition and science.
There are a few things you need to keep in mind if you are new to hiking in the woods.The basic tips listed below will give you a good starting point to learn and grow.
The best times to find mushrooms are in the fall and spring.There are species that emerge at specific times.If you want to collect a specific type of mushroom, I would encourage you to research when it emerges so you can find it.In most cases, the amount of mushroom activity is related to how moist the ground is.The better!
It's interesting that fungi can be found almost anywhere.There are parks, backyard lawns, gravel roads, road shoulders, pastures and forests.The national and state parks of Washington State are great places to start if you want to hunt for mushrooms.Take a hike if you find a trail.Just like anything else.Learning about what types of mushrooms grow in your area will allow you to be more informed and successful.If this is your first mushroom season, below are four areas in Washington State where you can find mushrooms.
bolete mushrooms can be found in the Hoh Rainforest and Upper Dungeness Trail.
Chanterelles and shaggy mane can be found in the Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier areas.
Morel mushrooms are found in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.These mushrooms sell for $30 a pound if you come across them.
Here are some items you may want to bring with you on the trail.
Many people bring a basket or bag with them separate from their hiking bag for the purpose of collecting mushrooms.They are kept separate from objects that can hurt them.You might want to pack a cloth or some paper towels inside the bag or basket to keep them from getting slimy.
It's irrelevant if cutting or pulling is better for harvesting mushrooms.The impact of either method on the organisms is the same.I like to use a knife when I harvest because it seems to be a cleaner harvest with less damage to the mushroom.
Since we now live in the age of technology, there are many useful resources for those new to mushroom identification.There are two useful free phone apps.Picture Mushroom is a paid app that allows you to take photographs of the mushrooms you have found and the app will assist with identification.Shroomify is more of an electronic field guide and depends on your ability to describe attributes of the mushroom.
To conserve your phone battery and have a secondary method to corroborate your initial identification, it is a smart idea to purchase a field guide.The book "Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest" was written by Steve Trudell and Joe Ammirati.
There are indicators that can help you in your hunt for mushrooms as you begin your trek.Many species can be found under certain types of trees.King bolete mushrooms can be found near fir and spruce trees.saprotrophic fungi feed off of decaying organic matter and act as parasites on their host.Oyster mushrooms are found on dead or dying alder trees in Washington State.It can be helpful to have an idea of what mushrooms you want to look for.
Chicken-of-the-Woods is an easy to spot, recognizable fungi that is often found in large clusters or "shelves" on living and dead trees.The fruiting body is bright in color and ready for harvest, as it tends to become pale with age.The fungi tastes like chicken.Many people have found that they can use chicken in many recipes.
These mushrooms are also known as "lawyer's wig" or "inky cap" and are quite common.In my area, they appear in late September to early October with the first big rain.The stalks are smooth and the white caps burst from the ground with a torpedo-like shape.If you don't harvest them quickly, the caps will flatten out, grow black and inky around the edges, and eventually fall apart.
Chanterelles can be found under conifer trees in shady areas.They have a relationship with Douglas fir in Washington.They have an orange coloring with ridges on the underside that are referred to as false gills.
The jack-o-lantern mushroom is poisonous and grows in clusters on wood.It won't kill you, but it will cause some distress.You will avoid imposters if you positively identify your mushrooms using reliable sources and confirm all of the characteristics.
Lion's mane is a term used to describe any variety of fungi within the hericium genus.There are also coral/comb tooth and bear's head tooth.All three of them are white in color until they reach the age of yellow or brown.The coral tooth mushroom I found was on dead logs.These can be found in capsule or powder form in many health food stores and are valued for their brain health benefits.
Safety!Before consuming any mushrooms, be sure to positively identify them.Don't harvest mushrooms that are slimy or filled with insects.If you want to assist with identity confirmation, you should harvest from an area where you can observe both young and aged specimen.
If you come across a large group of mushrooms, don't harvest all of them.There are many other foragers out there.
If you clean your mushrooms with water, they will degrade more quickly.Clean them with a brush, cloth, or knife.
Don't get discouraged, there are many times when you're going to come back empty-handed.A walk in the woods is a gift to enjoy in itself, and any mushrooms you harvest are a bonus!
You should surround yourself with like-minded people.There are clubs and organizations that give out information.This is a great way to meet people, learn the basics of mushroom hunting, and see what types of mushrooms are most common in your area.There are a number of Facebook communities you can join to share information.
When I was on hikes, I never used to notice mushrooms.I see them all the time now that I am interested in photography.It just takes some practice to develop an eye for food.
I am not sure if the hen-off-the-woods could look like that.Did you eat that one?If I decide to harvest something, it will be poisonous, but I am pretty sure I missed the boat with tons of mushrooms.
There are many berries in this state that are not eaten.Before you eat wild foods, do your research.To make sure you don't have an allergy, try new berries.There is something.
The mountains.Washington has a lot of food for people who want to be fed from the land.We have mushrooms, wild berries, hoofed animals, birds, fish, shellfish and everything else.