This is a copy of the article for week two, again these articles are meant to introduce people to the wonderful world of mushrooms!
Are you missing the sunshine yet? Mushroom foraging is educational, and for me personally it is extremely exciting. A few solid days of soaking rain in the beginning of June brings out a plethora of mushroom species. Over the next few weeks, hundreds of different varieties will be pushing up through leaves, popping out of decaying wood, and magically appearing in our yards overnight. Coprinellus micaceus, the “inky cap” can be found in many local yards, growing in large clusters. By the time most notice them, they are a pile of black, slimy liquid and mush as they digest themselves quickly at the end of a fruiting cycle. If you have ever seen a “fairy ring” of mushrooms in your yard, they could very well have been Marasmius oreades. Oyster and chicken mushrooms are due to make their appearance soon, and can sometimes come up as early as April, more on the those delectable fungus in the future.
The Golden Chanterelle, Cantharellus cibarius
The first mushroom I look to forage in June, and one of the easiest to find, is the Chanterelle. We have already found several of the golden yellow buttons pushing their way skyward out of the duff. This week’s rains should increase everyone’s ability to locate these amazing morsels of mushroom magnificence. Sauté chanterelles with some onions and put them on a good burger, and you will ask yourself why you ever bothered with those bland white button mushrooms.
How do I find them? Go outside! Walk around the edges of the yard first, then maybe a few local pathways (hint hint), a good stream or river’s edge, or near the shoreline of certain large bodies of water! While I will not tell you where I pick them, they do grow in many places in and around Wolfeboro. They are mycorrhizal, meaning they grow associated with the roots of plants and trees and can be found in the same spots year after year. There are a few distinct features that when all present help identify this species. First, they are bright yellow! Chanterelles are pleasantly fragrant. Pick one, bring to nose, and inhale deeply. Apricots! Next is the gill structure. When examining the gills, they should be lobe-like folds, and not look like typical mushroom gills at all. The overall shape should be that of a typical mushroom, not a cone shape. Last and most importantly, if you intend to eat them, ask someone who knows for sure what they are! A certain person reading this is likely remembering their three days of misery a few years back when they ate Omphalatus illudens (the Jack o’Lantern) after mistaking them for chanterelles.
While this mushroom isn’t as cool by glowing in the dark like a Jack o’Lantern, it is commonly confused with the chanterelle due to its color and the lobe like gills apparent across almost the entire mushroom. The “wooly chanterelle” is very common locally, and due to its large size and bright orange coloration it is highly likely you will spot this species before you find golden chanterelles. Once you see the two species side by side, you will unlikely confuse them again. Gomphus floccosus is much larger than a mature chanterelle. It also looks like an upside down traffic cone. If eaten, you will experience severe gastrointestinal upset of both the north and south varieties, similar to the aforementioned unlucky eater of the Jack o’Lanterns.
If it is sunny, head to the lake, and if it is raining, head to the woods! Find something interesting? Email it to redacted for antispam 🙂 . Always be 100 percent certain of what you eat, read the internet, get a book, and ask someone who knows. When in doubt, throw it out!