IMPORTANT NOTE: Mushrooms can be dangerous and even deadly! Be careful and know what you’re eating. As the saying goes: “There are old mushroom hunters, and bold mushroom hunters, but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters.”

Black Trumpet

Black Trumpet, photo by I am Jacques Strappe

The Michigan Morel Hunters Club features mushrooms that are in season in their Mushroom of the Month. One of the late summer mushrooms they have  highlighted are Black Trumpets (Craterellus cornucopioides):

Black Trumpets (aka horn-of-plenty) mushrooms are a wonderful edible mushroom that grows in Michigan from July through September. They are fragile mushrooms that look like a cornucopia (horn-of-plenty) or maybe like trumpets but are black or gray instead of gold. Despite somewhat funereal descriptions and European names (trompette de la morte in French and trombetta dei morti in Italian), they are very tasty mushrooms that can be widely used in cooking. They are strongly flavored mushrooms with a fragrant aroma. Their strong flavor and aroma allows them to be used in a wide variety of dishes. Though they are difficult to find, they are definitely worth pursuing. Fortunately, they grow in clusters so there often are many where one is found.

…Trumpets are ideal for sophisticated dishes because of their fragrant aroma and strong flavor. Because of their fragrant aroma they are often dried and pulverized for use as a seasoning for everything from soup to steak. They are very easy to dry requiring only a few hours in a dehydrator or a couple of days of open air drying. They are delicious sautéed in butter with parsley and chives as a side dish.

Read more at the MMHC including how to identify them. A good thing is that the only similar mushroom (black chantarelle) is also edible! Also check out these black trumpet photos and ID tips at MushroomExpert.com.

Marjorie says that they found a grove of these tasty critters and harvested a large bag full of them … and that they smell like apricots. View her photo bigger and see more in her surprisingly large fungus & lichen slideshow. There’s lots more from Marjorie on Michigan in Pictures including her multi-day Michigan Photographer Profile.

More mushrooms on Michigan in Pictures!

Chicken of the Woods

Chicken of the Woods, photo by .Larry Page

The Cornell Mushroom Bog is a great resource for mushroom hunters. Their entry on Eating the Chicken of the Woods begins:

David Arora remarks in Mushrooms Demystified that this is one of the “foolproof four” — an unmistakable mushroom. (see below)

This large, brightly colored fungus is often found in clusters but is occasionally solitary. You may discover this mushroom during the summer and fall but rarely in winter or spring. The top surface of Chicken of the Woods is bright orange which can be either more reddish or yellowish than you see here. It tends to lighten in color near the edges. This mushroom has no gills, instead its bright yellow undersurface is covered with tiny pores. The young Chicken of the Woods is “succulent” and has a mild flavor. Older specimens tend to change color as they develop, as well as become brittle. The young mushrooms have bright yellows and oranges; in age they dull to yellow and then pure white.

A good tree can yield up to 50 pounds, but be wary of older fungi as they toughen and develop a sour flavor! If you have found a specimen worthy of collection, you can harvest the mushrooms and return the next year for another crop. Or cut just the outer edge (about 5 cm of the fungus) and return later in the season for a second helping. Be wary of Chickens growing on conifers (in the Northeast) as they are a different species and can cause poisoning. Chicken of the Woods can make a fine chicken substitute as long as you make sure to fully cook the mushroom.

Chicken of the Woods grows in trees that are either living or decaying. These mushrooms cause a reddish brown heart-rot of wood. If the mushrooms are seen fruiting, you can be sure that the fungus has already attacked the tree. They can destabilize a tree by hollowing out its center–this can be problematic for forest owners. Historically, this fungus was known to damage the wooden ships of the British Naval Fleet.

Read on for more and also see Chicken of the Woods or Sulphur Shelf (Laetiporus sulphureus) from MichiganMorels.com and Laetiporus on Wikipedia.

Check this out bigger, view a zoomed out shot and see more in Larry’s Fungi slideshow.

I realize I should list the foolproof four. In addition to chicken of the woods, there’s also puffballs, chanterelle & morels. (although there are toxic false morels)

More Michigan mushrooms on Michigan in Pictures!

Shaggy Mane Mushroom

October 17, 2011

DSC09529_tonemapped

DSC09529_tonemapped, photo by ansonredford.

Mushroom-collecting.com has this to say about the Shaggy Mane Mushroom:

The Shaggy Mane, also occasionally known as the Lawyers Wig, is a distinctive and easy to recognize mushroom. Its size, shape, and tendency to grow in tight groups make it easy to spot even from considerable distance. Shaggy Mane (Coprinus comatus) has an elongated bullet shaped, shaggy cap, with brownish upturned scales and a straight fairly smooth stem.

These grow in summer and fall in grass, wood chips, rocky, or hard packed soil often appearing shortly after a soaking rain. They may grow singly or scattered but often in large, tightly packed groups. Some years they are very common in city and suburban locations, pastures, lawns, gardens, along driveways, etc. Sometimes they are found in huge quantities presenting quite a dilemma since they require almost immediate preparation.

They are very common around this time of year along the roadside as well. Living Afield has a great pic of the Shaggy Mane and you can see a cool timelapse of its lifecycle too! You do need to be careful about a couple of similar mushrooms – see that page for details!

Donald found this beauty in his yard. Check it out background bigilicious and in his slideshow.

More Michigan mushrooms from Michigan in Pictures.

Oyster mushrooms

September 16, 2011

Fungi stacks

Fungi stacks, photo by ETCphoto

Mushroom guru Wildman Steve Brill says that the Oyster mushroom is a mushroom that lives up to its name – it looks, smells, and tastes like oysters! Not surprisingly, the Michigan Mushroom Hunter’s Club has great info on oyster mushroom hunting in Michigan that begins:

Oysters (Pleurotus ostreatus complex) are the mushroom of the month for June. The delicious oysters can be found in many environments as they are a prime wood recycler. Oysters can be found on dead and dying trees especially hardwoods like poplars (a.k.a. aspen), cottonwoods, elms, box elders, etc. though they also can occur on conifers.

The gills of the oysters are white, branched fanning out toward the cap edge and are very decurrent (running down the stalk). Oysters tend to grow in dense clusters of caps, crowded and overlapping. It is not unusual to find oyster in such quantity that a mushroom hunter ends up measuring her find in pounds.

They says that oysters grow throughout the year but are best in the Spring and Fall when they tend to be less buggy. Read on for much more. As a personal note, we filled a shopping bag in about an hour the weekend before last!

Terry found these beauties on a walk at Pyramid Point. Check them out bigger and in Terry’s slideshow.

Michigan Mushroom Nation!

April 15, 2011

The First Morels this Year  05/02/2010

The First Morels this Year 05/02/2010, photo by rickrjw

The TIME Magazine feature Mushroom Nation linked over to our feature on yellow chanterelle mushrooms. In it, James Beard Award–winning food writer Josh Ozersky takes a look at how wild mushrooms are becoming as American as apple pie. He writes that:

…for all their exoticism, they’re still pretty cheap. Even a mom-and-pop restaurant can make a mood-altering dish with some woodsy mushrooms, roasted up with salt and served along side a gelatinous hunk of braised short rib. A few fresh chanterelles in a little omelet with some small spring asparagus, and you’ve got an appetizer of unsurpassable elegance. Unlike their fetishized cousins the truffles, people still use mushrooms as staple items and not luxuries — a practice that might not persist if they become more popular. They add a level of flavor and texture to everything they touch, and there’s a variety for nearly every use, from the delicacy of enoki to the almost obscene potency of portobellos.

Compared with the crappy little button mushrooms you see at the supermarket, de-natured and nude, and grown somewhere far from the forest floor, they represent an instant ticket to a better vision of life. If a restaurant, you can charge for that; if cooking at home, you can brag on it. Either way, it costs little. And of course there are no calories to speak of in mushrooms, so even the most ascetic of eaters can consume them with abandon. They’re apparently loaded with various unpronounceable anti-oxidants too, so that’s another benefit.

Read on at TIME and find more about mushrooms on Michigan in Pictures. It won’t be long now before morels make their appearance in Michigan woods!

Rick bagged his first blonde morels in 2010 on May 2nd and says (with true morel hunter evasiveness) that he found them “in the woods”. See this photo background bigilicious and check out more in his Boyne City, Michigan slideshow.

_MG_9261

_MG_9261, photo by jt354.

I’m a year older and a little wiser and pretty sure these are edible honey mushrooms, although I’m not sure about the darker brown bumps. Still a fantastically vital idea to know what you’re picking and eating!!

While morels draw the lion’s share of mushroom coverage, there are a ton of edible mushrooms out in the woods right now. The other day I had some fantastic Oyster mushrooms. Can you eat the mushrooms pictured here? Who knows? One thing is for certain, if you aren’t sure, don’t eat it!!

One way to learn what you can and can’t eat is to join a public mushroom hunt through the Michigan Mushroom Hunters Club. These hunts are held throughout the year and all around the state and offer a chance to tour the woods with a knowledgeable guide.

Check this photo out bigger in James’ Pictured Rocks slideshow!

6739 Yellow-footed Chanterelle

6739 Yellow-footed Chanterelle, photo by darylann

MichiganMorels.com says that the Yellow-Footed Chanterelle is a bright yellow mushroom, this is sometimes funnel shaped and:

Time Of Year: Late Spring through early Summer. Once you find an area that produces chanterelles, go back 2 or 3 times within that month. you just might find they fruit in the same area 2, 3 or 4 times!!

Edibility: Delicious and well respected as one of the best edible mushrooms by nice restaurants as well as harvesters. The chanterelle is one of my favourites and I look forward to it as much as morels. One must use caution so as not to confuse it with the poisonous Jack O Lantern. The Jack will have “normal” gills and fruit off of wood.

Habitat: I find them in mixed deciduous woods where sunlight is allowed to reach the ground. They seem to relate to Oak in my area, but I read that they also relate to Maple, Aspen and Pine.

You can read more at Wikipedia’s Chanterelle entry and even order chanterelle mushrooms from Michigan’s own Wild Harvest.

You can see this bigger in Daryl Ann’s slideshow.

Morel Mushroom Star

May 23, 2008

Morel Mushroom Star

Morel Mushroom Star, photo by Odalaigh.

Chad writes that he found these beautiful morels while hiking with his wife. He has more morel photos, but somehow neglected to mention WHERE he found them … here’s hoping you find some tasty things to do when out and about in Michigan this weekend!

Here’s more morel goodness from Michigan in Pictures and also Absolute Michigan keyword morel!

Boyne City Mushroom Festival

This photo was provided by the Boyne City Morel Mushroom Festival. You can get a ton more information about the National Mushroom Festival and Michigan morel mushrooms today on Absolute Michigan.

The White Morels are just starting. Taken in the City Limits of Boyne City, Michigan, along with some others I might add.

The White Morels are just starting. Taken in the City Limits of Boyne City, Michigan, along with some others I might add., photo by Rick Wolanin

I’ve started to get reports of morels trickling in from here in Traverse City and other locations in the state. While we’re a ways from full-on morel madness, it’s a good time to start getting excited about the return of this once-a-year woodland delicacy.

Over 7 years, Michigan in Pictures has accumulated a lot of morel features - here are some favorites along with a couple from other sites:

Rick lives in Boyne City, one of Michigan’s morel epicenters. View his photo bigger and check out more of his great morel photos!

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