Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Great Mushroom Hunt

Every year, in the fall, Mama tries to visit Gramma and participate in the Great Mushroom Hunt. Mama actually hates to eat mushrooms but loves the chase and the capture of wild mushrooms! This year is Sandy's first Great Mushroom Hunt... so he is still a newby at this.
The first mushroom that Sandy spies is some sort of Russula and it is not edible. Still, Sandy is obviously a good mushroom hunter because this particular mushrooms was still hiding in the moss.
This ginormous mushroom is definitely edible, just not in its current condition. I has been nibbled by squirrels or slugs. It is called a Birch Mushroom. Gramma says they are "OK" but not "Choice"!
Awww... here's a super-cute little white mushroom. It is called... err... "little white mushroom"... not edible.
Sandy squeaks with excitement at the next mushroom!! It looks like corals or something, which is exactly what it is called - "Coral Mushroom"... some are edible, some are not... so better to stay away!
Sandy sure is good at finding mushrooms! This one is actually a Russula that has another orange fungus growing on top of it, making it go all weird. This combo is called "Lobster Mushroom" because it smells a bit fishy. The orange fungus makes the whole mushroom edible and some people love this mushroom... but who wants a fishy mushroom???
Oh Sandy, be careful!! This mushroom is called a "Fliegenpilz" in German and a "Fly Agaric" in English - it is deadly poisonous... although very cute!
Sandy is getting a bit dejected after finding all of these dud mushroms. He heads off under the ferns to get away from the beaten path... and...
Finds a couple of apricot-coloured mushrooms. Way to go Sandy!!! These mushrooms are exactly what Gramma is looking for - they are called Pfifferlinge or Chanterelles... yum!!
 Aren't they cute??
As for what to do with them... first we need a paper bag and a knife...
 And there we go... voila... two cute little chanterelles...
The underside is beary distinctive. Most mushroom caps have gills on the underside or a sponge... but chanterelles have ridges that start to run down the stalk and that join and split. The cap of a chanterelle is actually an integral part of the stem. With most other mushrooms, the cap pops off quite easily. And... the edge of the chanterelle cap is quite of fluttery and irregular...
Now that Sandy knows how to identify Chanterelles, he is off like a shot. Suddenly the chanterelles start popping out of the woodwork! Here is a really big one hiding under a big old fallen tree.
And look here!! Can you see them? Sneaky little chanterelles!
 Oh yeah... see what lies underneath all that forest litter... a bonanza patch!
Sandy has to get a bigger bag because his first bag was too small! Nobody expected Sandy to find so many mushrooms...
Oh... and here are some more! These ones are enormous... Gramma is going to be eating mushrooms for days!
Ta-dah!! A cornucopia of chanterelles. That was quite the hunt. Mama says that in Europe chanterelles are much more prolific and you practically trip over them. Here in Canada, they are much more scarce, and we have to hunt for them because they are beary shy.
Now that we are home, Gramma has picked out a few to slice up. Sandy is thinking that maybe he should try some...
And now they are getting fried up. Sandy debates a bit... but after seeing the look on Mama's face ("ewww!!") decides that he will pass on the mushroom tasting for today!


  1. What a beary fun adventure! We would love to participate in a mushroom hunt because we love mushrooms...but we don't know which ones you can eat and which ones make little bears sick.

  2. It was great fun! It turns out little bears have a beary great nose for mushroom hunting... once I knew what I was hunting for!

  3. What did your mom use them in? Mushroom omlettes?

  4. Umm... no... Mama can gut a fish just fine, but eating mushrooms... ewww... yucky!!!! It's a texture thing she says. Gramma ate them! Just fried them up with butter.

  5. Papa stir fries mushrooms in butter, adds a splash of wine, some salt and pepper, and then some cream, and serves it over pasta, it's beary yummy, but we understand that not everyone likes mushrooms, so we'll serve you salmon and rice instead, cause all little bears love salmon!

  6. Hmmm... that does sound yummy... but Mama is still squinching up her nose at the thought... we can pass the recipe on to Gramma though! Salmon and rice are beary acceptable!!