Mushroom foraging with Edible Toronto

Oyster mushroom

Check out the fall 2014 issue of Edible Toronto for my latest article, “Trumpets, hedgehogs and chanterelles: Tracking the elusive mushroom.” It relates my recent meeting with Patrick Louch, a caterer, healthy food guru and wild mushroom forager. One recent afternoon in Muskoka, he showed me how to find some of the most luscious fungi in Ontario’s woodlands.

Although some species appear earlier in the year, late summer until the onset of cold weather is the best time to forage for mushrooms. On the weekend I closed down the cottage for winter and took advantage of the opportunity to look around the woods, which is rich with fungi. Many are inedible and some are poisonous so if you try it, go armed with a good field guide and never eat anything you can’t positively identify.

I was lucky to come upon a stump offering a serving for one: my all-time favourite, oyster mushroom, Pleurotus ostreatus. This is the same as the one available in supermarkets, but more tender and flavourful plucked from its natural setting. These were a beautiful ivory colour. I’ve previously written more information about how to identify oyster mushrooms. Slugs are fond of them, too, so make sure you don’t accidentally cook anyone who might want to share your lunch. I sautéed the oysters alone in butter; it’s simply the best way to eat them.

My essay explores some other edible fungi I had never tried before, such as the Craterellus cornucopioides, also known as the black trumpet, black chanterelle or horn of plenty. I’m excited about the knowledge gleaned from my interview with Patrick, and look forward to more abundant foraging in future.

If you live around Toronto east to Haldimand County, the Golden Horseshoe, Guelph or Waterloo Region, look for Edible Toronto at farmers’ markets and specialty food stores. You can also subscribe via the website. I always enjoy working with editor Gail Gordon Oliver, who is not only knowledgeable about food and passionate about ethical eating, but seeks good storytelling. This issue also contains, among others, stories about getting started in farming by Montana Jones, and the groaning cake, a traditional nutritional cake for new mothers, by Aube Giroux.

Here are articles I’ve previously written for the magazine, now available online:

Oyster mushroom

3 thoughts on “Mushroom foraging with Edible Toronto

  1. Hooray and yummo! Fresh wild mushrooms are so tasty, yet in Australia it’s really hard to know what’s safe and what isn’t as no-one’s really studied it and we don’t have an indigenous culture of mushroom picking (perhaps we once did, but we pretty much wiped out the indigenous cultures and traditional areas from all but the desert and arid far north of the country).

    1. How interesting and sad. I guess here in North America we probably benefit from sharing a lot of species through the Northern Hemisphere. It would be interesting to compare types though. For example, when I was looking up coral fungi last year I came across a reference to one species found in New Zealand. Most coral fungi are edible. They’re abundant around our cottage and we had on called a comb tooth for supper last October. It was delicious!

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