So You Want to Go Mushroom Hunting

A resurgence in the timeless activity has gotten people outside and interested in mycology again.

A species of polypore mushrooms known as Conifer Mazegill, not Turkey Tails.
Trapper gazing towards the horizon, contemplating the wonders of the universe and the big plans for our culinary bounty.
  • In Northern California, there are two deadly species, the Death Cap (Amanita phalloides) and the Destroying Angel (Amanita bisporigera). Both are extremely rare and have not been recently found in Salt Point State Park.
  • When searching for mushrooms and bringing them back to Patrick to identify, you need to pull as much of the mushroom, stem, and volva from the ground as possible. Essentially, these act as context clues for him to identify the mushroom.
  • The most commons species you’ll find during this time of year are Candy Cap (Lactarius rubidus), Hedgehog (Hydnum repandum), Yellowfoot Chantrelles (Craterellus tubaeformis) and Black Trumpets (Craterellus cornucopioides). Unfortunately, we had just missed King Boletes (Boletus edulis), also known as porcini, by a few days, something I have always wanted to find in the wild.
  • Have fun. Patrick is merely a walking encyclopedia and check point, therefore; explore the woods and come back when time is called to share your haul. Each phase of the forest we explored had a slightly different ecosystem breeding different types of mushrooms due to the surrounding trees and other environmental variables.
A variety of mushrooms at the first check point. Species present were mostly of the genus Russella — edible but not prized.
Velvet-top fungus also know as dyer’s polypore or dyer’s mazegill — inedible but can be used to create dyes for clothing.
Candy Caps and a few Hedgehogs being dehydrated for caramels.

Here are some resources to kick-start your mushroom mania:

Identification

Hapa Southerner living in San Francisco | North Beach. Documenting recipes, collecting cookbooks, and writing. Marketing by day.

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