Thoughts on Mushrooms
We have an assortment of mushrooms that grow out here. This past winter and spring I have tried to get photos of all the different types. I'm sure there are many I've missed. I haven't seen the puff balls yet but they may just not be up yet.
I love frying up a pan of button mushrooms to have with my steak or my eggs or to add depth of flavor and texture to my spaghetti sauce. I have never tried eating any of the mushrooms I find growing wild. I know many are poisonous and I wouldn't trust my general lack of knowledge to know which are which.
In my youth, I did hunt for morels along the railroad tracks south of Chicago. A friend of my mother's took us out to hunt for them. When we got back with a bag full, she fried them up for us to eat. I wasn't much of a mushroom fan at that age so I dutifully tasted one to be polite and left the rest for the adults.
Mushrooms can be used at a dye. If the gills, on the underside of the cap, are dark in color then the mushroom might be one you could use as a dye. I haven't ever tried it since the mushrooms we have out here mostly have white gills.
When we first moved out here, I picked some shelf mushrooms off an old dead tree in an attempt to make some dye. I followed what directions I could find and let the mushrooms sit in alcohol for weeks to see if I could get some color. That same glass jar of mushrooms is still sitting here in the dye shed more than 10 years later. Still no color. Was it my technique?
I'm not a big fan of portobello mushrooms. They are touted by Paleo diet people as the perfect substitute for a hamburger bun but I don't see the attraction. I'm happier eating my hamburger on a plate. It's just not my thing.
I like shitake and crimini mushrooms - or at least I have the few times I have cooked with them. I do love the mushroom powder that Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo sells. It adds wonderful depth of flavor to pretty much anything.
The destroying angel mushroom is the most poisonous of mushrooms. It is found in Europe but is so innocuous as to be easily confused with edible mushrooms. It is all white. It's another good reason not to eat wild mushrooms unless you really know what you're doing.
So, for now, know that I am taking pictures of my local mushrooms but definitely not touching them or eating them. I think we are all happier this way.