Tuesday, September 27, 2011

just a word on foraging...

a comment from erica reminded me that i have been rambling on about foraging for mushrooms and other edibles, but not giving very helpful details about it. first off, i want to be clear that i don't harvest or eat any wild plants unless i can positively identify them. wild mushrooms especially are ones you don't want to putting in your mouth unless you are 100% sure what they are. while there are some wild edibles i have learned as i grew up from my naturalist mother (see salmonberries, huckleberries, blackberries, etc), there are others i am just beginning to learn, such as stinging nettle. with mushrooms, i have found it easier to become familiar with only a couple species at a time rather than learning them all at once. make sure you know a species backwards and forwards, especially if there are look-a-likes, and then even after you are sure and take it home, check again in a reference book or online. one of my favourite expressions is "there are old mushroom hunters, and there are bold mushroom hunters. but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters."

a few books i use:
Wild Harvest, by Terry Domico.
• Mushrooms Demystified, by David Arora.
Common Mushrooms of the Northwest by J. Duane Sept

there are lots of other good reference books out there, and obviously mine are a bit northwest-focused. Mushrooms Demystified is kind of the "bible" for 'shroom hunters, although it can be a bit overwhelming in its scope for a beginner. Lone Pine makes several guides for different areas of North America - i like these ones because they have illustrations instead of photos, which for me sometimes makes identification easier - something about matching a drawing rather than getting too stuck on your fungi looking exactly like one photo (i do the same with birds and other wildlife).

i hope that helps some of you that are looking to get into foraging. if you have any specific questions or something i wasn't clear on, please feel free to ask.


Erica said...

Thank you!!! I will definitely be looking into some of the books you mentioned! :)

Margie Oomen said...

great post
thanks so much k