I have the chance to live in campaign, near big forests. In the summer, when the weather is good, it's always a pleasure to pick-up mushrooms. They are tasty, and less expensive than the ones you can buy in stores.(and they are less tasty...).
In this Instructable, we will see the main steps for a nice mushroom picking session.
Step 1: The Stuff You Need
Ok, you will need :
- a basket to put the mushrooms. Don't use a plastic bag, as you will smash them.
- a knife. To cut the mushroom's feet. (Don't directly pull them !)
Also, if you want : a bottle of water and a mobile phone. If you plan to go in an unknown place, I really recommend to take a mobile phone / water. Also, try to not be alone. You don't want to be lost alone in the woods ?
Step 2: Find the Good Spot (I)
Ok, time to find a good spot. If you are like me a "trained" mushroom hunter, you should already know the good spots.
It's always good to select a nice forest, with a good tree cover. I don't have the magical recipe to find a good place, just ask local people.
The weather : the mushroom needs heat and humidity for growing up. Wait for a good rain session, and wait a few days after, to let the mushrooms grow, and to let the floor dry a bit.
Remember to ask the forest owner the authorization ! In my case, the selected forest belongs to my father. No problems.
Step 3: Find the Good Spot (II)
Ok, once you are in the forest, the mushrooms are typically into wet and darker spots. Avoid areas with direct sunlight, and check the areas where the sun don't directly hit the floor.
If you are lucky, you may find nice mushrooms !
Step 4: Pick-up Mushrooms
Ok, you found some mushrooms.
Make sure you KNOW them before taking them. Inedible mushrooms are often near edible ones. If you are not sure if the mushroom is edible or not, you have two choices:
- leave it,
- take it, put it into an NEW basket (don't mix them with edible ones !), and ask a pharmacist. He will helps you to identify it. Don't trust the internet as the shape/color may vary a lot...!
In my case, I only take the "chanterelles". Its a typically edible French mushroom. They are yellow, with a very recognizable shape, with a global shape of a funnel.
Remember, don't pull them, but cut them with a knife. You will leave the internal roots in the floor. It will allow the mushroom to grow up again.
Leave the smaller ones in place. They will keep growing, and smalls mushrooms doesn't endure cooking.
Last advice : don't take everything ! Think about the other people, take only what you need.
Step 5: Clean Them
Ok, you are now back at home with the mushrooms.
The idea now is to prepare them before water cleaning. Get them one by one, cut again the feet if there is dirt, small rocks, gravel. Try to remove the grass/leaves stuck on the mushroom. You may use a special brush, but I usually remove them by hand, with my knife. The idea in this step is to remove the dirt things as much as possible without using water.
Once the mushrooms are ready, but them into a strainer, and quickly wash them with water. Don't leave them under water for too long. Once done, let them dry on a piece of cloth. They are ready to cook !
Step 6: Eat Them !
Ok, time now to enjoy the mushrooms. You may eat them in various ways...
(I'm sorry I didn't have pics for this step...)
Get a pan, but some butter in it. Gently brown the mushrooms on every sides. They will lost a lot of water, put the pan in medium-heat to remove the water by evaporation. The mushrooms (these ones in particular) must stay "crispy". Don't over-cook them. My tip : add garlic and fresh parsley.
Once done, you can directly eat them with a steak or other meat, or you may cook them again with eggs to make a nice "omelette".