The Pacific Northwest is a great region for wild mushrooms. G studied fungi while he was at the UW stuying for his Botany degree. I remember foraging for wild chantrelles with directions he received in class in the forests just a few miles from Seattle. We collected about a dozen chantrelles and had them for dinner. Chantrelles are pretty easy to identify so I felt pretty comfortable eating the ones we found in the wild.
Over the years, we have looked off and on after the first rains for autumn but never really been foragers. I prefer to purchase my wild mushrooms in the market where I'm certain what I am eating. I wish it was an easy as it is in France where you can take your wild mushrooms to the pharmacy and have them identified.
This weekend we went to the 45th annual Wild Mushroom Show sponsored by the Puget Sound Mycological Society. At the show, the mushrooms were organized by spore type and displayed on moss and leaves as your would find them in the wild. Each mushroom was identified and denoted if they are edible, toxic or no use. There are several choice edible mushrooms in the area, chantrelles, boletes (known as porcini or cepes) and the matsutake. I really enjoyed the show and we should go looking for mushrooms again.
There was also a cooking demonstration by Kathy Casey. We had a sample of the polenta with wild mushrooms and watched her prepare a wild mushroom risotto. I need to keep both of these dishes in mind since they are perfect for autumn months.
Here are a few photos of the mushrooms from the show.
Boletus edulis - This is known as porcini in Italy or cepes in France
Click through for more photos...