You often hear “I don’t like mushrooms” from some folks.


Chances are their early experience with was with button mushrooms (Agaricus bisporus) from a can or raw mushroom slices on a salad. The rubbery texture and insipid flavor left a permanent negative imprint.

Most wild mushrooms must be cooked well.


Raw or undercooked wild mushrooms can cause gastro-intestinal distress. Some benefit from long slow cooking like chanterelle, porcini, morel and matsutake.


Others are best flash sautéd to preserve their more subtle and delicate flavor. Cauliflower mushrooms are best when lightly sauteed, allowing their unique fragrance to envelope the taste buds. Amanita velosa quickly cooked in olive oil is so delicate you’ll want to pair it with delicate foods such as pasta, with a little grated cheese, as to not overpower it. 


On it goes; the experimentation is endless


The texture and taste of wild culinary mushrooms can vary. Some mushrooms don’t have much flavor but offer a certain pleasure in their consistency. Amanitas have a wonderful crunch. Laccaria amethysteo-occidentalis have an amazing chewy texture. Matsutake and chanterelle can have an unpleasant rubbery feel unless cooked properly. Start with the dry saute method for chanterelle, as described in David Arora’s book “All The Rain Promises’. Matsutake will tenderise with a long slow braise. A few mushrooms have a mild seafood flavor such as the shrimp russula (Russula xerampelina), cauliflower mushroom (Sparassis), lions mane (Hericium) and the lobster mushroom (Hypomyces lactiflurom).


Marin County Offers Numerous Resources to Help Start or Support Your Mushroom Passion


Whether you’re interested in mushrooming for food, learning about fungi in textile and and yarn dyeing, the science of mycorrhizae, or just foraging and being in the great outdoors, you can find resources to grow your passion and make your experiences fun, memorable and safe.  Information on handling fungi, on respecting the land on which you forage, recipes, and much more are available here on our site and through respected organizations in Marin Country and beyond. Spend a few moments to visit the sites listed below.


» California Poison Control System

» The Fungi of California

» Toxic Fungi of Western North America

» Mycological Society of San Francisco

» Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz

» Humboldt Bay Mycological Society

» Sonoma County Mycological Association

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