Mushroom Hunting

September 28, 2010 · 0 comments

A young woman I know mentioned that she liked to go “mushroom hunting” and so, being ever so my timid self (ha), I immediately asked if I could tag along! After all, we live in the woods, so I wanted to learn about the food growing there in my own backyard. She was just as enthusiastic about going hunting again for more mushrooms, so my 8yo daughter and I donned our boots and grabbed a big bucket and off we all went.

As we were tromping through the woods and brush on an usually balmy afternoon, I casually mentioned that I really had no sense of direction, and was glad she was leading the way! This was what we were hunting for: chanterelles, a bright orangy mushroom used as a delicacy in cooking. “Yum yum”, says I. And, “Yum, yum” said the wee critter that got to this one first.

I learned all sorts of things to look for, such as the vein markings. There were SO many mushrooms in the woods, and I SO wished I knew what they all were! I learned how to use a knife to slice the mushroom off the forest floor. That way, the roots stay put to make even more mushrooms. I love how God loves to keep life going, even in fungus!

My 8yo had a blast. She was just a gabby-abby the entire time, delighting in everything from spider webs and how the light hit the trees and in all the different tracks we discovered.

Well, as it turns out, the chanterelles were hiding pretty well and it wasn’t too big of a harvest. And we discovered new areas that my friend had never been to before (read: we got lost). And I was getting tired. But we still pressed on through blackberry brambles and over fallen logs, looking and looking, and whooping it up when we found a small patch of chanterelles. We had a blast!

I went home with about a pound and a half of mushrooms, plus the assurance that yes, we were going to go out again soon. I left them on a paper bag for a couple of days to dry up the dirt flecks and pine needles on them. I was hoping to dehydrate a good ten pounds worth, but that will have to wait until next hunting trip :)

I spent some time today brushing off the dirt. Like raspberries, rinsing mushrooms rinses away all the flavor. I contemplated how this was free food, much like the blackberries on my dirt and gravel road.

Tonight I made a chanterelle sauce with olive oil, leeks, garlic, thyme, garlic, chicken broth, a bay leaf, a splash of red wine vinegar and a dollap of dijon mustard. It smelled awesome.

We enjoyed our harvest over a good New York grass-fed steak, with a buttered baked potato and summer sweet corn. And it was wonderful sharing in the wonder of free food for the taking, just in our own backyard. God is so good to provide so much.

Bon Appetit!


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