Wild Harvest - Fresh from the Forest

Beautiful, Golden Chanterelles!

Fresh Michigan Chanterelle Mushrooms

Fresh Michigan Chanterelle Mushrooms

While morel, ramp and fiddlehead seasons have pretty much wrapped up in the eastern US, there is still some good news for foragers east of the Mississippi.  Chanterelles, the beautiful, golden “Queen of the Forest,” are coming into season.  Chanterelles are a fall and winter mushroom in the west, but late spring and early summer is the time when pickers from Louisiana north through Michigan (and up into Nova Scotia, Canada) will be filling their baskets with the fruity, fragrant fungi.

In the Midwest, morels tend to dominate the thoughts of fungi-philes throughout the spring, and for many, mushroom picking begins and ends there.  But if you love mushrooms, and you’re not seeking out chanterelles, you’re missing out on a real treat.  Chanterelles have a flavor and aroma that is absolutely unique.  Their haunting flavor is often said to be spicy, floral and apricot-like, but words cannot adequately describe this marvelous mushroom and it must be eaten to be fully appreciated.  Chanterelles have a particularly pleasant texture too;  firm, with a little bit of “al dente” firmness, even after cooking.  Chanterelles have the added benefit of storing very well in the refrigerator and can last a week or two when carefully kept in a container that allows them to breathe, like a plain brown paper bag.

If Chanterelles have a single flaw, it’s that they don’t dry especially well -or rather, they do dry well, but don’t reconstitute as nicely as other mushrooms.   Dried chanterelles, sadly, can be rather tough, even after long soaking and cooking.  There is a method to using dried chanterelles that works quite well, however.  When dried chanterelles are pulverized in a spice grinder, food processor or blender, the resulting powder and larger granules can be used in pasta, soups and sauces – even as a dusting for pan-frying trout or other fish.  (Just check out this fantastic recipe for Pan-fried Rainbow Trout with Chanterelle Mushrooms.)

Coming soon: Late spring foraging in the Western US. Stay tuned!

“Give Me Some!”

Enjoy this fun song, shared by our friends, The Loose Change Band, which celebrates the “King of Stink,” allium tricoccum, AKA the wild ramp (or the wild leek, as it’s known in the northern range).  Any forager who loves ramps knows that nothing beats their heady aroma and sharp, garlicky bite.

Best of all, the season is STILL on. Get ‘em while you can!

 

“May is Morel Month in Michigan”

Michigan Morel Mushrooms

Michigan Morels (Boyne City Chamber of Commerce)

“May is Morel Month in Michigan”

As kids growing up in Michigan, we learned this little saying in honor of the Midwest’s most popular fungus, the morel mushroom.  It’s true that in most years, morel mushrooms make their most reliable appearance around the first week or two of May, although in exceptional years, they may start up even earlier.

According to a recent article in the Detroit Free Press, Michigan is having an “epic” morel mushroom harvest this year, due in part to the wet weather the state has had this spring.  The season never lasts long however, and is likely to end by around June 1 (or earlier), depending on the weather over the next week or two.  According to five-time national morel-hunting champion Anthony Williams of Boyne City, Michigan, the start of the season began late this spring and may likely end earlier than usual because of expected over 70-degree temperatures just around the corner.

If you can’t get out into the woods before the end of May, or you don’t live in the Midwestern morel mushroom producing heartland, don’t despair.  You can still enjoy this rare taste of spring by buying fresh morels online from our sponsor, Earthy Delights.  To place an order, just visit http://earthy.com or call (855) 328-8732, Monday – Friday, between 9 AM and 5 PM Eastern time.

Bon appetit!

Spring Wild Harvest

The Grand Trio of Spring - Wild Leeks, Morel Mushrooms and Fiddlehead Ferns

 

Wild Things… they make our hearts sing!

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Happy hunting & full baskets to all!

 

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