“Shroomers” are afield now! Foraging mushrooms is a Montana ritual. Perhaps the most common are the Morels. Puffballs, and Boletes are delicious as well. Know your Shrooms before you pick. It is best to take a hike with a Mushroom Mentor to show you the ropes.
Back in the day, I loved to practice archery afield by targeting huge Puffball mushrooms. Many of these big white mushrooms would explode from my arrows. No one ever told me how delicious they were. When the Puffballs are newer, they are still firm and white in the center. The skin is clean and soft. Later, they become stiffer, hollow, and brittle. New Puffballs grow close to the ground and have almost no stem. If a big stem is visible, leave them be. Not an eater. You want to eat a solid, not a hollow Puffball.
Morels are the Big Elk of the Mushroom world. Everyone is out for a bag full. They look nasty but taste great. Make sure to soak them in lightly salted water before cooking. This will get the ants and bugs out.
Boletes are another local favorite. They can get huge. You may not find a bag full, but one can make a meal. There are no gills on the underside of these tasty treats. Instead, they have holes or ports. These are meaty mushrooms and best when smaller and younger. As they age, they will develop yellow pores and turn red. “Red will make you Dead!” Pinch the Bolete to make sure. If it turns blue where you pinch it, leave it be.
When you find a mushroom honey hole, do not pull them up. Instead, trim them close to the ground with a sharp pair of scissors or pruners. Keep this spot in mind for next year. Puffballs that are young require a bit of rolling to break them free from the earth.
Once you locate good mushroom areas, observe, and figure out why they are good. Now you know what to look for. Carry picked mushrooms in a net or ventilated sack. You do not want them to overheat. Keep them at room temperature and use them fresh.
There are tons of recipes for wonderful mushrooms. My favorite is simple. Sauté them in garlic, and butter. Maybe a dash of white wine. Less is more.
Shrooming is fun and tasty!
For more Montana Grant, find him enjoying fresh mushrooms at www.montanagrantfishing.com.