When people think about collecting items as a hobby, they most commonly think about collecting stamps or coins or refinishing antique furniture. The idea of how to hunt for mushrooms never occurs to people when they think about a new hobby they could take up. However, hunting and gathering mushrooms is actually a very popular hobby and has been for a long, long time.
In fact, mushroom hunting is such a popular hobby that there are many field guides available to instruct on exactly how to hunt for mushrooms. There are many seasonal festivals around the world that celebrate mushroom hunting and the preparation of mushroom delicacies. Learning how to hunt for mushrooms is a great hobby that gets you outdoors, connected to nature, and results in an extremely tasty delicacy.
Word of caution! Many types of mushrooms are poisonous and can cause extreme illness or even death of consumed. The most important part of learning how to hunt for mushrooms is knowing what types of mushrooms are edible and which ones are poisonous.
The History Of Mushroom Hunting
Mushroom hunting first became popular when people went into the woods to gather mushrooms for cooking and eating purposes but it has quickly become a popular activity for all types of people. While mushrooms are still hunted and gathered today for cooking, many just enjoy going into the woods and spending hours hunting and gathering mushrooms.
Other than it’s popularity in certain regions in northern Europe, very little is known about the precise history of mushroom hunting. If compared to the evolution of cooking, we can extract some similarities. Hunting for food is extremely common in remote areas where food supplies are in short demand. As a good source of protein, mushroom hunting is a great way to gather a tasty, nutritious, and viable food source.
Did You Know?
- Some mushrooms are poisonous. As warned before, make sure you’re familiar with the different types of mushrooms and which ones you can consume.
- Mushroom hunting is an extremely popular activity in the Basque Region in Europe.
- There are mushroom festivals around the world including the Fungifest Festival in Telluride Colorado, the Mushroom Festival in Madisonville Texas, and the Great Fall Mushroom Hunt on Vancouver Island.
- The word “mushroom” describes a variety of gilled fungi, either with or without stems.
How To Hunt For Mushrooms – Getting Starting
After hearing about mushroom hunting, you are probably asking yourself exactly how to hunt for mushrooms. Well, the hobby is actually as simple as it sounds! There are no necessary tools of the trade for mushroom hunting, aside from a basket to carry your mushrooms and some comfortable shoes and clothes to wear while hunting around. Hunting for the mushrooms is half the fun, so you’ll want to wear clothes that are comfortable for spending an extended amount of time out in the woods.
One crucial component to mushroom hunting is a guidebook. This guide will explain how to hunt for mushrooms: where to find them, what types of mushrooms grow where and in what conditions and many more important facts. Guides will also feature pictures of the mushrooms you are looking for so that they will be easy to identify when you spot them in the woods. The guides also contain many interesting facts about the mushrooms themselves, like what they are used for and how they can be used in cooking.
The most important piece of information a guidebook can offer is whether or not the mushrooms you have found or are still searching for are safe to eat. Unfortunately, mushroom hunting is not without its dangers: certain species of mushrooms can be very poisonous when consumed and can cause hallucinogenic reactions or even death. Having a mushroom guide does more than answer any questions you might have on how to hunt for mushrooms; it can keep you safe while hunting.
Hunting for mushrooms requires no more start up cost than what it costs to buy the guidebook. Hunting for mushrooms is something that can be done in almost any wooded area and is an activity that people of all ages can enjoy because it helps them become active and enjoy the great outdoors.
How To Hunt For Mushrooms
Get your mushroom guidebook. Without it you might eat poisonous mushrooms, which can result in sickness or even death. If you do not have the funds to purchase one, you can most likely find one at your local library. If a library is not an option, there are many good online resources that can help get you started in lieu of a hard copy guidebook. Once you have a resource tool in hand, be sure to look through it and make sure that there are no poisonous mushrooms in your area – if there are, take care to stay clear of them when you go on your quests.
Research potential places to gather mushrooms. Certain mushrooms only grow in certain climates, so, in order to get started, you have to discover what types of mushrooms grow in your area and when they can be found. Lots of websites can provide pictures and maps of where both poisonous and edible mushrooms can be found. If you do not have any mushrooms to pick in your immediate vicinity. you will need to map out close locations that you can visit.
Set up a full protocol for you and your mushroom hunting party to make sure that no one eats before you know more about the mushroom. Be sure to think twice before you eat anything! If you will be hunting alone, you may want to consider safety precautions as well, since there is always the risk that you may encounter wild animals on your hunt. Pepper spray is a good deterrent, as is a whistle or small air horn.
Once you have gathered some edible mushrooms, it is time to prepare them for storage and consumption. You can then take them home to cook them, if you wish. As stated before, it is very important to make sure that the mushrooms you have chosen to eat are in fact the ones that you think they are; many poisonous mushroom species are mistaken for ones that are delicious and safe to eat, so it is always important to check and double check yourself. Or, err on the side of caution and hunt the mushrooms just for fun or to save for decorative purposes! A lot of mushrooms have beautiful qualities and make interesting and unique decorations.
Tips and Tricks
The following tips and tricks can help you learn more about how to hunt for mushrooms and also get the most out of your mushroom hobby…
- Learning about mushroom categories can go a long way in avoiding poisonous mushrooms. Different genus and species have varying characteristics that can give you some general guidelines.
- Use the Internet. The Internet is a vast resource for lots of different topics including mushroom hunting.
- Look beyond the local map. You may not have a very exciting or adventurous experience hunting mushrooms in your local area, but trips to Europe and the Northern parts of the United States can provide you with lots of unique excursions to gather mushrooms.
- Local state parks have great resources on what might be edible or not so feel free to look at their website or pick up a visitors guide for more information.
- If you’re planning to eat your mushrooms, make sure to thoroughly wash them when you get home. Bugs and dirt don’t add to the flavor!
Expanding Your Mushroom Hunting Hobby
If you find that you really enjoy hunting mushrooms and want to expand on your hobby, consider the following ideas…
- Some species of mushrooms are more common than others, so finding common species offers little to no challenge. Once you have explored the woods around your home and have found all the easy-to-spot mushroom species, it is a fun and interesting challenge to spot the mushrooms that do not appear as commonly.
- Look to contribute to the field of knowledge by creating a mushroom hunting blog or guidebook.
- Use your mushrooms in delicious recipes or create your own recipes to share with family and friends.
- Spend some time documenting what you find. Take pictures and dissect your mushrooms for other people to see.
The following online resources can help you learn more about how to hunt for mushrooms…
Mushroom-Collecting.com  – a site is about finding, collecting, identifying and preparing the more safe and common edible and medicinal mushroom species of Maine, New England, and Eastern Canada.
Morel Mushroom Hunting Club  – an interactive and detailed resource for finding a sought-after and delicious variety of mushroom known as the morel mushroom.
MushroomExpert.com  – a searchable database with images and more to help you learn about mushrooms.