Wednesday, January 02, 2008


I had a feeling that the rain last week would make a few fungi shout for joy. I think these are oyster mushrooms (Pleurotus ostreatus).

But I'm not sure enough to try to eat them.

Even though there are so many.

And they look so tasty.


Everything I know about mushrooms is from books. The only one I'd be confident enough to eat would be a morel. And I never seem to find more than one of those at a time, so I just leave them and hope they'll make more.

People in Europe gather wild mushrooms all the time, but I've never had anyone here (in the south) tell me that they do.


LauraP said...

Morels were the thing where I grew up, so I'm confident about those. I had to grow a couple of those oyster mushroom kits to learn to recognize oysters reliably - and now I'm fairly comfortable identifying them in the woods. Unfortunately, most I've found here aren't in well traveled spots and usually are well past their prime.

bill said...

Do they harm the trees?

Trailhead said...

Ugh, I hate it when Blogger eats my comments.

I was going to say that I'm too much of a weenie even to eat morels, because I read about the false morel in one of my mushroom books. Apparently the way to distinguish the two is to view the pattern on the inside of the mushroom. I don't recall whether the false morel was particularly toxic, though. But I'm still too squeamish.

Floridacracker said...

Well, it's obvious isn't it. They're all dead from eating wild mushrooms and WOULD tell you if they had not actually eaten those wild mushrooms.
I don't eat them either even though I am pretty confident on Chantrelles.

Eliezer said...

the local mushroom guys here say, along with morels, giant puffballs are a safe bet as well, since there's no gray area in id'ing them. :) -Shannon

Rurality said...

Laura, we've talked about getting a kit for a couple of years but have never actually done it!

Bill, the trees are already dead when this one grows on them. This tree was killed by beavers, I think. It's still upright, but heavily leaning on another tree.

Trailhead, well maybe it's because I've taken a lot of pics of the morels, but the false morels really don't look much like the real thing to me. The morels look more... refined, sort of. But I've never eaten one!

FC, heh. Maybe there are more poisonous ones in the south...? I have no idea. Possibly, eating wild things has a certain connotation of poverty that people in the past would rather have avoided.

Shannon, would you want to eat those, though?! :)

Cookie Jill said...

My parent put the fear of God into me about even touching wild mushrooms. (I had a park as a backyard with plenty of mushyroomies)

It took me forever to even eat the regular "edible" store bought kind.

mon@rch said...

wonderful burst of colors!

Dakini Gurl said...

Hi. I'm new to your blog, I came upon it while looking for information on chickens. My family is moving to a farm. :)
I've been lurking and reading off and on, and figured this would be the best post for me to jump in on!

Beautiful mushrooms! I live in Eastern Oklahoma, eight years ago, we were blessed with the most amazing harvest of morels one could ever hope for. Literally, grocery bags full. It was amazing. We ate morels daily, it seems. We dried the majority of them, and we had enough to last us up until last year (no joke).
Unfortunately, though we knew how to identify them, we were not careful in how we harvested them and there have been no bumper crops like that since.
An easy way to tell the morel is to cut one open in a cross section; in a true morel, the cap and stem are fused together. The cap sort of wrinkles into the stem, and the whole thing is hollow, and rather crisp. False morels have a cap and stem separate. Here is s great website:

Our greatest faux pas in harvesting? We just pulled the morels up out of the ground. BIG NO NO! When you go harvesting morels, be sure to cut the morel at the soil, being careful not to pull it out of the ground. That damages the mycelium, which is how the morel spreads. The poky up part that is so dang tasty, is actually the fruit of the fungi. The morel itself is a network of mycelium that spreads underground. We ruined what could have been an amazing yearly haunt, by not knowing how to collect. Also, when collecting mushrooms, you should carry them cap down so that the spores can spread; if you are in a bumper crop and have so many you need a sack, us a mesh sack so you can act as a spreader as you harvest more tasty morsels.

I very much want to learn what others are edible in our area. I know we have Chicken of the Woods, Puffball and Oyster, but I'm too scared. I need a fungi-phile to go walking with.


lisa said...

Yea, what Dakini said! I say to always err on the side of caution with regard to this sort of thing....cost/benefit ratio, y'know?! I trust morelles, and I'd try a puffball, as long as it's VERY firm and white, otherwise all bets are off. Some of the other edibles...maybe.