Summer Mushroom Season Starting – Chanterelles Coming Soon

Just by chance, our first summer foray was yesterday, when Bill went scouting and I tagged along, even though I was pretty sure we wouldn’t find much. (No rain for a while now and it’s up around 90 every day.)

Bill didn’t expect much either, but he doesn’t need much; one obscure little poisonous tidbit he hasn’t photographed yet is enough to make his day.

We were right, there wasn’t much – if you don’t count the mosquitoes and one huge honking Boletus bicolor.

Boletus bicolor in ferns

Bill with a Boletus bicolor that’s on the big side for a solo specimen

“One swallow doth not a summer make,” as my mother was fond of remarking. But that  swallow reminded me to remind you  to be careful what you swallow. Although bicolors are good edibles, they’re easy to confuse with not good not edibles (B. sensibilis complex).

So. Now that the season’s about to start bigtime, here are two suggestions for happy wild mushroom hunting: check out Bill’s Long Lived Wild Mushroom Eaters Golden Rules – without letting his detailed explanation scare you to death – and start out with the gold standard: Chanterelles.

They’re delicious. In a good year they’re abundant. And they’re right up there with morels for being easy to recognize and safe for amateurs to collect.

cantharellus cibarius - chanterelle

Unlike morels, chanterelles have meaty stems too dense to clip with fingernails. Don't leave home without your pocket knife.

Note: My husband, Bill, is an expert mycologist, a consultant to New England Poison Control (there’s a reason he wrote those rules), and a frequent blog contributor whose posts amount to a short course on wild mushroom hunting. They’re gathered – along with some recipes – in the category Wild Mushrooms, under the dropdown menu for In the Wild that appears at the top of each page. Individual species can usually be found through the search and/or the alphabetical index.

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  • It’s only early May but i’m hoping for some early mushrooms here soon with the wet humid warm weather we might get a few early surprises. I was away last autumn so missed the entire season and cant wait to get identifying the first shrooms of the year. 🙂

    Welcome, Matthew,
    By now you might well be in mushroom heaven… It’s always tough to miss the autumn season but that does whet the appetite for spring!

  • ellie Said,

    Why is it that nobody seems to consider puffball mushrooms?
    They are the easiest mushroom to identify and finding the “fairy ring” that they grow in is fun for all.They are an amazingly delicate flavored mushroom and can grow huge which means one shroom can feed a family!

    Welcome, Ellie

    Good question! I know WE don’t pay much attention to puffballs, but I’m a little surprised to hear others are equally uninterested. Everything you say is perfectly true; the problem, in our experience is that that includes the “amazingly delicate” part. I’ve had a couple of the big ones (Calvatia gigantica) that had a strong enough mushroom taste to be worth the bother, but the little guys have always been mostly an excuse to eat butter. Could that be a “terroir” thing, I wonder? Where – I mean where in the country; not where in the landscape – are you picking yours?

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