Saturday, September 24, 2011

Mushroom Foraging

Fall is finally here in North Carolina. I love this time of year. It's the season I wish would last forever. Cool pleasant days, excitingly brisk evenings, little humidity and the most gorgeous colors everywhere. I've been spending more time outdoors with the cooler weather and have noticed all sorts of mushrooms popping up in the woods around where I live. So today I decided to take a painting break and go mushroom foraging. Below are pictures of my bounty.

I was really lucky and found two treasures. My mushroom finds range from very poisonous, like liver failure poisonous, to just a tummy ache bad for you, to not poisonous but not very tasty to delicious and a rare gem. I'm not a mushroom expert and would love some corrections or comments from more knowledgeable foragers.

This bright red capped mushroom you see growing is one of my rare finds. It's commonly called a Caesar's Mushroom and is considered a delicacy in Italy. It has a poisonous twin so I won't besampling this guy just in case I'm wrong. I saw the bright red peeking out from underneath some dark leaves while on a walk today and you can imagine my surprise when I unearthed the whole thing.

My second tasty find were these wild Cinnabarre-Red Chanterelles. I LOVE chanterelles. Whenever I see them in bulk at Whole Foods I'm tempted to buy a whole cart full. I've always loved mushrooms. I must have been such a strange child. I love them so much that as a kid I collected scratch and sniff mushroom stickers and plastered them all my bedroom walls. I canremember smelling the stinky stickers and wishing that I could eat mushrooms every day. Weird, I know. I've done some research online and am confident that these beauties are true red chanterelles and I'm going to be sauteing them in butter and salt for a tasty snack.

I also found plenty of poisonous and not so tasty shrooms. Some that looks like sponges and coral, some with purple hues, and more red and orange topped mushrooms that I have yet to identify. I found lots of Death Angel Mushrooms which if consumed will cause liver failure and death if a liver transplant isn't possible. But don't let that scare you from mushrooms! Even ifyou aren't a fan of eating these fabulous fungi, everyone can appreciate their visual color and texture.

It's the next day. I cooked the Chanterelles and they were so delicious I went back out with my mom to see if we couldn't find some more. Further back in the woods we found red gold. A forest floor of these beauties. We picked just a bag for dinner tonight, Red-Chanterelle bruschetta with truffle oil. There's lots more where these came from so we will be happy to cook some for you to try, but we aren't sharing the hiding spot!


  1. Oh my goodness these are amazing! This makes me want to delve into the woods and find a few myself. I too have always loved mushrooms, unlike the rest of my family. Are you going to add these to your paintings?

  2. Those chanterelles look amazing!

  3. Andrea, I think I just might. These little guys would be adorable painted on some appetizer plates.


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