wild edible mushrooms of bc canada north america

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

Black Morel (Morchellaceae, Pezizales)

My first morel hunt had me bent at the hip walking around like an ostrich trying to find a good hole to hide his head in.  I proceeded like this for hours until I finally had to take a break succumbing to a pretty bad headache from straining my senses too hard. "Where the heck are those little things?" I was convinced that I was either too early in the season or too late, not in the right spot or not looking in the right spots.  However, I was determined so I carried on anyways. Finally my eyes focused on this little black honeycomb like thing sticking out of the ground on the side of a bank.  My heart started to race and as my eyes adjusted to the contrast, I began to see more and more and more of these delicious mushrooms. It was like an Easter egg hunt and I was filling my sack, just as excited to find the next one.  I took a bunch of photos, incase I couldn't find anymore than at least I had documentation of where I found them before and would hopefully be able to use that to find them again in the future. Through my studies I read that mushrooms have to spread their spores in order for more mushroom to grow, so I left about every 5th one that I found.  That way I could come back next time and enjoy the same awesome excitement.  When, I figured I had enough, about 2 dozen, I returned to my trailer in Northern B.C. were I was living for the summer with 3 other great friends, forest fire fighting.  I fried up the mushrooms with a a dollop of butter and a little salt and pepper.  Once cooked, I drizzled them over a steak and shared the flavor with my awesome roommates.  They all loved it, and I can't wait to go picking morels again.

Look how well they blend in to their surroundings!

Not well enough to elude the dinner menu though!

 Identifying Features

 A black-ribbed honeycomb like cap resting atop a whitish to off-whitish stalk.  The stem is is hollow and thick.  

-Cap is 2-4cm wide and 2-5cm tall.

-This mushroom does not have any gills, instead it has yellowish pits much like a honeycomb, it shoots it's spores out of these pits.

-Stalk is 5-10cm long and 2-4cm thick and hollow.

This mushrooms is very tasty and can be found in coniferous woods, especially spruce. Most of the ones I have found have been spotted amidst young poplar stands. They are also found in association with pines and can be abundant in recently burned areas.  Sandy soils seem to be favored by these elusive little shrooms. These mushrooms beat the rest of them out of the ground and appear from April to May and in Northern regions into June. The black morel is the first true morel to appear in the spring. It has been known to cause stomach upset especially if consumed with alcohol.

Some Black Morel Recipes

I find the Black Morel to be very rich in taste and excellent in sauces. However, there are many different equally as tasty ways you can choose to enjoy this tasty treat from the woods.

The following is a very long list of awesome recipes you can use to cook your harvest of morels:

The Great Morel-A Tribute to Shroomers

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