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Huge log by the river

chicken of the woods image montage

We went on a hike today and found a huge log by the river with a large flush of Chicken of the Woods mushrooms.

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So at what point do you feel like you KNOW that you are plucking a mushroom that won't kill you? Seems as though, aside from reading texts about identifying edible mushrooms, that the common advice is to forage at the grocery store or farmers market for your edible fungi.
Comment by jennifer Wed Sep 30 13:38:59 2015

Jennifer --- That's a good question. You'll notice, I only forage for the absolutely easiest species --- things that are nearly impossible to confuse with anything poisonous. And I look them up in a couple of books and online if I'm at all dubious of my identification.

Even then, with a species like this that I've only collected from the wild once before, I cook up a couple of tablespoonsful the first night, then wait to see if we get sick before cooking the rest. Unfortunately, in this case, I found that chicken of the woods starts to have an almost lemony sour tang after 24 hours in the fridge. I think next time, I'll feel confident enough to serve it up on day one for full flavor!

I used to be terrified of picking fungi that would kill me. But the truth is that if you pay attention, identifying oysters and morels and chicken of the woods is no more dicey than identifying paw paws. It's all in what you're familiar with. Heck, I knew kids when I was a youngun who were afraid to pick wild blackberries because they'd been told all wild berries were poisonous! In retrospect, the tales I was told about edible mushrooms at that age don't hold any more water.

Comment by anna Wed Sep 30 16:59:05 2015

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