How We Forage Mushrooms
Foraging mushrooms has become a fun bonding activity for my family. Unfortunately, a lot of people are afraid to hunt mushrooms when there’s no need to be afraid. There are varieties that are easily recognizable and many sources to ensure your safety. The first thing you want to make sure is that the main mushrooms you hunt for do not have any poisonous look a-likes. If they do have unwanted look a likes, be sure to know the differentiating factors.
One very common mushroom is lion's mane. Lion's mane mushrooms have many health benefits. We sell lion's mane mushrooms in our farm store, which does not have any harmful replicas. Lion's mane may help with reducing mild symptoms of anxiety and depression. It may also help with repairing some nerve damage. Lion's mane has been known to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune-boosting properties.
Hunting mushrooms is special to me because I got into it when I first met my husband. His family is Italian and they would hunt for what they call honey mushrooms. Honey mushrooms are tricky because they do have a poisonous impersonator called the Jack-o'-lantern mushroom. We look for certain things to determine whether it's a honey or a jack. One thing to look for is how Jack-o'-lantern mushrooms are very orange and will look like a pumpkin at the base of a tree and will also illuminate at night (hence the name). Honeys are mostly found on oaks. That being said, you never want to pick anything off of pine trees.
The most important rule of thumb when hunting mushrooms would be to never consume anything you're not 100% sure about. Since hunting mushrooms has recently become very popular there are tons of facebook groups to join to help identify them. There are also plenty of books available about the different types of mushrooms and how to forage them.
Some books and guides we use when foraging mushrooms include;
1.)"Mushrooming without Fear: The Beginner's Guide To Collecting Safe and Delicious Mushrooms" by Alexander Schwab. We like this book because not only does it focus on mushrooms that are safe to eat but also their tastes. Each mushroom includes a clear photo with a check list to help you identify. You can purchase it on amazon with this link:
2.) "The Essential Guide to Cultivating Mushrooms: Simple and Advanced Techniques for Growing Shiitake, Oyster, Lion's Mane, and Maitake Mushrooms at Home" by Stephen Russell. This book is great for learning how to grow these different types of mushrooms and provides in depth detail with easy steps. You can purchase this book on amazon via this link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1612121462?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share