Edible mushrooms add a robust flavor to stews, casseroles, and other meals, and besides being a wonderful substitute for meat, they are full of nutrients like B-complex vitamins and minerals like selenium, zinc, and phosphorous. Although you should always take precautions to ensure you do not pick poisonous mushrooms mistakenly, mushroom hunting is a fun way to spend time alone or with friends and can even lead to modest profits if you decide to sell off what you find. Here are just 5 Pacific Northwest mushrooms that make for fantastic eating.
Golden chanterelles are trumpet-shaped mushrooms that have a scent similar to apricots. Their color reminds some people of fresh egg yolks. Instead of proper gills, the chanterelle has ridges that descend partway down the mushroom’s stem. It arrives in summer and autumn and is never found on trees.
When young, this mushroom is spherical and covered with little spicules. It should only been eaten when it’s young and the skin is firm and pure white. When it’s cut, the flesh should also be pure white. The common puffball can be found in the summer and fall.
These northwest mushrooms have thick stems and domed caps, and pores instead of gills. Different types include the king bolete, larch bolete, and cracked bolete. The larch bolete can have a slimy cap. The cap is yellow and turns red as the mushroom ages. The red cracked bolete has a brown cap that’s cracked with pink, red-tinged wounds. Boletes have a mild flavor, no smell, and should be cooked before eaten.
The two types of russulas that are found in the northwest are the yellow gilled and yellow swamp russula. Yellow gilled russula can also have sticky caps while the caps of yellow swamp russula are dry. The fruiting bodies can be found mostly during the summer and autumn in birch forests. The gills are attached to the stems. Like the chanterelle, russulas smell like apricots and should be cooked before they’re eaten.
Chicken of the Woods
This mushroom is especially prized by people who love wild, edible northwest mushrooms. It’s often a brilliant yellow to orange mushroom without stems and with pores instead of gills. It’s found on damaged trees, stumps, and logs. Like most mushrooms, it should be harvested when it’s young. As it ages, the chicken of the woods becomes brittle and chalky.