Find Local Mushrooms
Oyster mushrooms and other exotic mushrooms such as shitake and crimnini can
be cultivated, using rotting logs and melon-beds to grow fine fresh (and
potentially, even organic) mushrooms. But other edible fungii, such as
truffles, cepes, and chanterelles, have complex relationships with living
trees, and can only be foraged for.
Commercial harvesters of wild mushrooms use techniques such as raking and bulldozing which destroy the forest floors which nurture the growth of wild mushrooms. Mushrooms captured this way can be shipped to Canada for processing, and then to Europe for packaging, and and can finally be sold in the U.S. as European wild mushrooms. In fact some dried morels sold as French morels are in fact harvested in Northern India and smoked over dung fires to preserve them. Better to buy wildcrafted mushrooms found locally.
Morels love to grow in areas that have recently recently been burned (as with forest fires); and under oak trees, tulip poplars, old elms, and in abandoned apple orchards. They usually grow singly, and not in groups, and should not been eaten raw (they're toxic if uncooked). Because morels have a hollow core, they can be hosts for bugs and worms: best to cut them in half or soak them in saltwater before cooking. Morels also cannot be cultivated. An excellent seasoning for chicken can be made by drying morels in a slow oven for an hour, reducing the resulting brittle mass to a powder, and mixing it with pepper and other spices.
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