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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hunt for Chanterelle Mushrooms in Autumn

Hunting for chanterelle mushrooms is a fun activity especially if you enjoy hiking in the woods and viewing wildlife. My husband and I discovered that the heavily wooded landscape that surrounds the Ozark Mountains is an ideal hunting ground for wild mushrooms. We took a stroll in the woods in the middle of September and discovered many mushrooms however most of the fungi that we found was highly toxic. Therefore we needed to do some research to learn more about wild mushrooms. 

Image Credit Wikipedia Creative Commons
The library had many books on mushrooms grown in the wild.  We studied the books and learned the characteristics of the Chanterelle mushroom;  they have a sweet scent like apricots and that they do not grow in rotting wood, but rather in areas close to the ground by oak, pine, birch, maple and other hardwood trees. We also learned that the best time of the year to hunt for these mushrooms in the wild was September through October and if the weather continued to be mild you could hunt for them in early November. 

The chanterelle mushroom is easy to locate as long as you keep your eyes on the soil line, they are a brightly hued orange-yellow, although there is a copycat mushroom that is highly poisonous. So you need to be certain that what you are picking is a chanterelle mushroom.  After weeks of studying books on wild mushrooms we decided it was to our best interest to hire a mushroom picker to make sure that what we found was edible. My brother volunteered his services and thus it was a fun autumn family activity.

We selected a day in autumn when there was rain in the forecast and we prepared for the day by gathering our rain gear, hiking boots and pest repellent.The expert mushroom picker met with us in the morning and we spend most of the days in the woods hunting for wild chanterelle mushrooms. 

Note:  Hunting for wild mushrooms is nothing like strolling down a nature trail, to be successful in mushroom hunting you need to go off trail and walk through leaf piles, climb over timber and cross over streams.  You may find the mushrooms in moss or pine needles and it will require you to gently move the moss or needles away from the mushroom stalk and you may get your hands dirty.   If this is not to your liking then trust me hunting wild chanterelle mushrooms is not a hobby for you.  

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