Mushrooming in the Gloaming

By Ginny Sophomore

She had seen these awesome pictures by a photographer of mushrooms on an app they all readily used. The pictures were irresistible. It made her join the local mushrooming club, in her grandma’s county, as she would call them.

The place was so mushy nearing winter that one had to be careful about slippery slopes under one’s shoed feet.

The woods were dense with fallen brown and orange leaves that gave it a forest cover at the forest floor and we were venturing in to the forest core now.

There were important accoutrements that one had to equip one’s self with before heading off on this daunting adventure of mushroom spotting and mushroom hunting.

So off she went with basket and pocket knife in hand, a flashlight or lantern and clothing that covered you from head down on. The place was rife with mosquitoes. But once you’ve covered yourself adequately, you are safe from the pesky psaki! Pun intended 🥳

It was a gorgeous evening with the moon shining down on them that led to better visibility all around. Since the women knew where the shrooms usually peeked out, it was not all too difficult to spot them either.

There they were, popping out like light bulbs from a glorious background of a purple hue. The entire group of mushrooms just glistened.

A straight walk ahead and one came face to face with a host of the fly agaric 🍄 and a little further in, amanita looking fascinating in the dimness of light, though utterly inedible. They are mushies that fairyland is made of.

We took ample time to feast our eyes on them while we were being serenaded by the crickets that I believe were there in abundance.

Further in to the woods that made its winding path up and over to a sprinkling of the boletes that are mostly edible if I’m right. The ladies were able to identify the edible ones. So there we got down to action and picked some for each of our baskets to be feasted upon at a meal, later.

One truism about mushroom hunting or gathering or foraging is that you don’t comb the entire place off of the mushrooms. You forage sustainably. That is, you leave the small ones untouched to grow in to bigger ones that will also help in its generational growth and dispersal. You also don’t gather all of them, for you aught to leave for other hunters to harvest.

There are the morels, the chanterelles and the Matsutakes all with their false varieties as well. Don’t be overwhelmed by the posers is what you’re told. Popular aphorisms on mushroom gathering go something like: “You can eat any mushroom … once.” Or “There are old mushroom hunters, but there are no old, bold mushroom hunters.” You must know what mushrooms to pick and you must cook wild varieties thoroughly to destroy naturally occurring nonlethal toxins, according to this mycology group.

You had to be totally mushroom savvy or else you’d literally end up dead. The cardinal rule in mushroom hunting being, “If in doubt, throw it out.”

You should never eat wild mushrooms raw. Cooking also unleashes it’s considerable nutritional value.

The Matsutakes though being the most difficult to identify, comes with a clear give away, being their smell of “cinnamon and gym socks” Lol 😄

The best time to harvest a mushroom I learned is when it’s given a chance to “reproduce”, by allowing it to release its spores.

I’m avoiding using the word shrooms on the mushrooms here, as a quick web search proved that the word is used only on those mushrooms that have hallucinogenic properties to them. In other words eating them will end up with you being in a euphoric state.

The magic of creating meals from mushrooms foraged by yourself, is ever alluring. There are numerous ways in which you can cook them. By far the best being a simple garlic and butter version. Mushies are so quick to absorb whatever there is in their environment, they being the eternal sponges of nature.

I guess if some one said you had a mushroom head that would be a complement!😄

Mushroom hunting requires “knowledge, research, and a love of uncovering things.” Discovering the “liberation of shopping at the greatest market on earth: the woods”, is the reward you reap for yourself and your loved ones.

If you’re not eating them then you are taking pictures of them and they make for awesome fairy like pictures which inspire you to make fairy toadstools 🍄 and the moss, and everything fairy.

And, so I figured I was a mycophile!

Check out these United States postage stamps of mushrooms and fungi ⬇️ They are all serpentine die cut, (non-perforated), and self-stick stamps issued at different times.

Honey Mushroom

Chicken Mushroom

Hygrocybe noelokelani

She put her letter in an envelope to be posted to folks back home, so they know what she was up to when she said she was going mushroom hunting or mushroom gathering or foraging for mushrooms 😊

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