Now’s the time to find wild treasures at farmers markets and farm stands.
From soup to pate, mushrooms are the star!
Hen of the woods. Chicken of the Woods. Lobsters. Winecaps. Combstooth and Lion’s Main. Ah, Yellowfoot Chanterelles and Black Trumpets!
Some of our favorite mushrooms appear in the fall. Once we finally got some rain this year, the local foragers were busy. Beautiful to behold, their tastes and textures are varied. From simple preparations, to complicated dishes, these natives are truly treasures.
Secret Mushroom Sites
When I was growing up, my Uncle Leonard was a great forager. He would hunt for wild foods while my aunt hunted for old house cellar holes looking for antique bottles and glass. He taught me a lot about native foods from fiddleheads and ramps to beautiful varieties of mushrooms. His favorites were the chanterelles and the spring morels, and he had a few secret spots where he always found his quota. Once in a while, I got to tag along.
I will, of course, warn again, not to pick and eat wild mushrooms unless you know what you are doing! The wrong one can be deadly, no exaggeration. Search out the local coops, farm stands, farmers’ markets. But if you really want to forage your own, call your Extension Service and inquire about mushroom foraging classes. There are usually lots of them at this time of year.
Our family loves mushrooms in just about any preparation. My grandson especially; since he was a toddler, he preferred shiitake mushrooms to a piece of candy! A family favorite is wild mushroom risotto (we had it this past Sunday) and everyone was happy.
My favorite, and the most simple way of preparing wild mushrooms, is to clean them, slice them up, and sauté them in a little butter and olive oil. Toast a few baguette slices top with the mushrooms, and sprinkle with salt. Nothing better! Well, maybe add a little minced parsley for color.
A really special preparation is to make Wild Vermont Mushroom Pate! It is most definitely a crowd pleaser. It takes a few steps, but is worth the effort, especially if you are entertaining (everyone can eat this no matter the dietary restrictions!).
© Copyright 2018 – or current year, Dorothy Grover-Read