If you read about my first experience with a mushroom foray, then you’ll know about my odd obsession with mushrooms. I won’t embarrass myself by raving about them again.
Instead, I’ll just tell you all about the second foray I went on!
Our goal this time around was to find some black trumpets. They were supposed to be pretty easy to spot. They looked like trumpets. And were black. But – spoiler alert – we didn’t find any.
But the actual act of foraging for ‘shrooms is only half the fun anyway. I love it because it feels like a treasure hunt. I feel like a pioneer or a Native American. It’s nice to just wander around in the woods and get away from society for a while. Plus, I always learn so much on these trips. And I’ve met some really cool and interesting people.
For this specific foray there were two options. The first was the lower (easier) trail. We’d stay pretty close to camp and just walk around the woods nearby. The second one was the upper trail. This involved an apparently death-defying ride in the truck and a harder trail at the top of the hill. Dad and I decided it’d probably be safer to do the lower trail for our first time!
And this time we were smart enough to bring along a basket. Here’s our first find:
These are called Indian Pipes (everyone at the foray was calling them Indian Stovepipes, but it’s the same thing). And guess what? They’re not actually mushrooms! They’re non-chlorophyll plants. Believe it or not, they’re related to rhododendron, dogwood, and wintergreen. They don’t need sunlight to survive and tend to thrive in moist areas (which is why they’re often mistaken for fungus). These are kind of funny looking ones – most of the ones I’ve found on the internet are pure white.
Next up I found this cute guy. He’s called an Eft.
After looking up some information about him, I found out that an “eft” is a life-stage (considered a juvenile) and that this is actually called a red spotted newt. He’s pretty cute!
The only other mushroom I found was this thing:
Nothing spectacular to me (and definitely not edible), but the president of the society seemed pretty excited about it. Not sure what it is, but I collected it anyway!
Everyone on the lower trail seemed to be finding mini-mushrooms. Everything was so small! There were no black trumpets and nothing else edible. We were kind of disappointed, but I had fun searching anyway. The only other find we had was this cool bright yellow mushroom:
Everyone on the upper trail seemed to come back with gargantuan sized mushrooms. They were kind enough to share with us though.
The next two pictures show the two different types of sulphur shelf, which is edible. This is also called chicken of the woods because – that’s right – it tastes like chicken!
Here’s a picture of the same mushroom all cooked up. I can attest that it tasted like chicken! It has that same plain-ish taste, and the stringy texture of chicken meat. The only difference is, this is a bit more watery (which makes sense!).
Someone also found jack-o-lantern mushrooms. These are actually poisonous (they won’t kill you, but it won’t feel good) and glow in the dark. How cool is that!?
They found a few other mushrooms, but I don’t know what they were:
But the best part, by far, was the food. Oh, my God. It was so yummy. Here’s a picture of my plate:
That thing at the top was some sort of taquito with mushrooms inside. Down below that was a mushroom fritter (the chef made up the recipe the night before!) with some crazy interesting mayo concoction on top. The kielbasa to the right of that was the best I’ve ever had. Then there was the pasta salad with mushrooms, and the various dips with mushrooms. The pepper at the bottom was stuffed with provolone and prosciutto.
I ate good. I ate so good.
I also got to try black trumpets that they had left over from the year before, but I didn’t think to take a picture of them. They were yummy too! Not too much flavor and fairly small. I think they’d be good to try if someone didn’t particularly like the texture of mushrooms. If you look at the picture of my plate, all the way to the right, there’s a white dip with bits of black in it. That had black trumpets in it.
So, over all, not a super successful foray. But it was really fun! We’ll definitely be going on the next one. Hopefully we’ll have better luck.
What do you think? Have I convinced you to go on a foray yet? Did any of that food look good to you?