Wild edible mushrooms

White Matsutaki-Jade

Hola Adventurers. Are you sick of mushrooms yet? Hope not! Cause the season is just getting good! Until last week, this mushroom was an elusive forest treasure that I just could not find. Probably because they are almost always covered with moss or pine needles.

I just needed to hike around with an expert hunter. Now I can find them just by sniffing. 'Just like a Truffles pig?' you ask? Yes. Just like a Truffles pig. Thanks guys. But really, these beauties are highly prized, especially in Japan, for their strong aroma and complex flavors. Have you guessed yet? Yes! The Great White Matsutake! Aka The Pine mushroom, aka Tricholoma magnivelare,if you wanna get all Latin about it.

Find them on the ground in sandy soils, especially under pine, fir, hemlock, and Douglas fir trees. Sometimes their cap is white and sometimes slightly yellowish, but mostly with brown or cinnamon 'scales'. Pines also have a veil present, which is kinda this fiber that rings around the upper stalk. Their flesh and stalk are very firm, not jiggley at all.

My friend Yuki says the best way to eat these babies, and not ruin the flavor, is to salt them lightly, then roast them on the BBQ (or a campfire!). Serve with soy sauce and lime drizzled on top. So good. If you are wanting to mellow the cinnamonny flavor, then go ahead and saute them with butter and garlic. They are super meaty and will fill you right up. WARNING: Pines very much resemble a white species of Amanita which has a different odor and a more fragile veil, but in the excitement of finding your first Pine mushroom....don't get confused! Make sure you've got the RIGHT one before you BITE one!!!!! Happy Hunting!!!!!

Puffballs (Lycoperdon, Perlatum)-Jade

Hello Adventurers! So sorry for the long hiatus. But now that we are fully in mushroom season, we will have tonnes to talk about! Just a quick note on collecting mushrooms: please, please, PLEASE! make sure you have a reliable resource to reference your mushrooms before you PICK and/or eat them. A human is best. Google Images are also helpful. And a book, such as 'The New Savory Wild Mushroom' by Margaret Mckenny and Daniel E. Stuntz. 

Fungi are extremely magical and mysterious and can seriously bite you back, or worse. Remember: 'There are old mushroom pickers and there are bold mushroom pickers, but there are no old, bold mushroom pickers.' So, take heed of this warning, and respect these powerful organisms. 

On that note, I found some puffballs! Puffballs are delicious! Puffballs are cute! I didn't know you could eat these spongy little mushrooms. The kind I found are scientifically known as Lycoperdon perlatum. It is one of the most common type of puffball. The type you find on a lawn, or around rotted logs. The fruiting body is described as white, or sometimes a pale cream or a pale brownish color, pear-shaped and about 3-4 inches tall. The top will be scaly and/or spiny. The stem is fairly large and attached to the ground by rhizomorphs (roots, thicker than mycelium).  As the puffball develops, it will form a pore at the top of the fruiting body, then, a dry, papery shell taking on an olive or rust color. Definitely don't pick them at this stage. Only young puffballs of this type should be collected, otherwise they will taste bitter and you'll get a mouth full of spores. Wait til next season. This mushroom has also been called "the devil's snuff-box", I guess because if you sniff closely, you'll get a whiff of dusty spores!?! Not cool devil, not cool. 

Anyway, care should be taken before eating these, as the young, deadly Amanita virosa looks similar to the puffball before it "blooms". So, when slicing these up, be sure that they are white all the way through, with no outline or grey-ness on the inner flesh. If so, toss 'em. How do they taste, you ask? Mmmmm, like tofu, but way better! I say tofu, because there are a bit foamy-er than other mushrooms I've eaten, but they are still pleasant. Fry them up in butter, and maybe some nori or tamari sauce. Japanese stylee! Enjoy, and happy hunting! 

-Jade, Adventurer

Shaggy Maine (Coprinus comatus)-Cpt.Quinn


The Shaggy Maine is just one of the many truly delicious treats one can find while roaming around in B.C.'s great outdoors.  Try frying with some butter onions and garlic. Identifying this mushroom can be fairly easy especially if you wait for it to turn into a puddle of ink, but by this point it is too late to consider for the dinner menu. As with all wild edibles we recommend buying yourself a field guide to mushrooms before attempting to tap into this wild source of nutrition.


Identifying features

A whitish cap with off-white to brownish shaggy scales, cone shaped cap that turns into a black tar like substance as the mushroom ages.  The long stem is the only thing left standing as this mushroom melts into a puddle of ink with age.  If you are going to eat it, you must get at it before this occurs.

-Cap is anywhere from 3-5cm wide and 4-15cm. tall.

-Gills are free and very crowded.

-Stalk is 6-20cm long and 1-2cm thick, white in color, bulbous in shape and hollow.

-This mushroom has a partial veil and when the cap begins to open it leaves a ring at the base of the stem.

-The spore print for this mushroom is black.

This mushroom tastes delicious and can be found scattered to clustered in grass, wood chips, and dense soil from May to June, September to October, and again from November to January in Southeastern regions of North America.  I have seen this mushroom exploding through pavement on the side of the road while strolling along to go fishing in the Haida Gwaii.

Some Shaggy Mane Recipes

Shaggy Mane Berbere

Shaggy Mane Casserole