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A Guide to Mushroom Hunting [Complete with Recipes]

camping, foraging, wilderness skills -

A Guide to Mushroom Hunting [Complete with Recipes]

There are more than 10,000 varieties of mushrooms in nature, but fewer than 30 are edible.

This makes mushroom hunting even more exciting! It’s like finding a special treasure in nature.

Mushroom hunting is a wise skill to cultivate. Not only is it a fun hobby, but it is also a survival skill.

Whether you plan to go mushroom hunting on your next camping adventure or just want to learn more about it, you’ve come to the right place.

In today’s Camping Survival Journal, we’re covering the basics of how to get started mushroom hunting, along with several easy campfire mushroom recipes.

The Art of Mushroom Hunting

 woman cutting wild mushrooms from a tree

The art of mushroom hunting comes down to knowing where and when to look, and what to look for.

Mushrooms grow in dark, damp locations, such as underground or on a tree. 

The World explains, “The edible part of mushrooms that we gather are just the flowering part of a much larger fungus that’s underground or in a tree. So, many seasoned morel hunters begin their search by looking for elm trees or apple trees, and then scanning the roots of those trees, which morel mushrooms are associated with.”

You may also have luck looking near dead or wounded trees and logs. 

Most mushrooms flourish in late summer to early fall — the ideal times to go mushroom hunting. You will also have more luck if you go mushroom hunting following rain.

When it comes to knowing what to look for, it is important to do your research beforehand. Again, fewer than 30 types of mushrooms are edible, and some are highly poisonous.

Take time to look at mushroom foraging sites to see pictures of edible wild mushrooms, such as chanterelles, which are brightly colored and funnel-shaped. 

Tips for Beginning Mushroom Hunters

There are some dos and don’ts when it comes to mushroom hunting:

  • Do use an app (such as Wild Edibles) or a book (such as Backyard Foraging).
  • Do not pull the mushrooms up by the roots; cut them instead.
  • Do take pictures of mushrooms that you cannot identify to ask others and gain knowledge. Do reach out to your local mushroom hunting group (or mycological society) to ask.
  • Do not pick and do not eat any mushroom you have not confirmed is edible. 

How to Prep Wild Mushrooms for Cooking

chef cutting fresh mushrooms

When possible, use a basket to collect your mushrooms rather than a bag, so they have room.

Cut the stem with a small knife and trim any inedible parts or debris.

After you have collected mushrooms, you should clean them, but not with water.

Unlike vegetables, mushrooms do not respond well to being washed clean.

Instead, brush them clean. Some mushroom hunters have a special pastry brush just for doing so.

If you must wash them, rinse them with cold water but do not soak them.

Once they are clean and have no remaining moisture, it is time to cook them.

Do not eat them raw. Cooking releases toxins. 

Basic Sautéed Campfire Mushrooms

One of the easiest and most delicious ways to enjoy your mushrooms is to sauté them. 

Here is a simple recipe from The Mushroom Council.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 small shallots, thinly sliced
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • Drizzle of red wine or beef stock (about 1/4 cup)

Directions

  1. Start your campfire using wood; the smoky flavor will add depth to your dish. Once the coals are ready to put a cooking grate over the top of the fire, set a large frying pan on top; add the olive oil and butter. Heat until melted.
  2. Add the shallots, stir and cook for a minute. Add the garlic and rosemary, stir. Add the mushrooms, stir and cook for about 3-5 minutes, until slightly soft. Cooking time will depend on how hot the fire is. Add the lemon juice, stir and cook for a minute. Add the wine and cook down for about 5 minutes.

Add Wild Mushrooms to Emergency Food 

Ready Hour emergency meal pouches are perfect for camping trips, wilderness survival, or daily eating. 

The next time you are camping and using one of your Ready Hour meal pouches, look for ways to add even more fresh flavor with wild mushrooms.

plated mushroom rissotto

Mushroom Rice Pilaf

Directions

  1. Thoroughly clean and prep wild mushrooms.
  2. Open the Mushroom Rice Pilaf pouch and remove oxygen absorber.
  3. Whisk contents of pouch into 6 cups of cold water.
  4. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and cook for 20 minutes.
  5. Add mushrooms in the last few minutes of cooking time.
  6. Let stand 3 to 5 minutes.

Creamy Alfredo Pasta

Mushrooms are a common vegetarian substitute for meat and chicken. If you don’t have chicken to add to your Ready Hour Creamy Alfredo Pasta, add wild mushrooms.

The mushrooms will pair well with Ready Hour’s rich, creamy alfredo sauce and al dente noodles.

Directions

  1. Thoroughly clean and prep wild mushrooms.
  2. Open Creamy Alfredo Pasta pouch and remove oxygen absorber.
  3. Bring 4 cups of water to boil.
  4. Whisk in the entire contents of the pouch.
  5. Reduce heat.
  6. Continue cooking for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Remove from heat and let stand 3-5 minutes.
  8. Use the recipe for foil packet campfire mushrooms or sautéed mushrooms. Once these mushrooms are cooked, add them to the dish.

Creamy Stroganoff

The Ready Hour Creamy Stroganoff is a hearty dish of tender egg noodles covered in a rich, creamy mushroom sauce.

Take this campfire meal to the next level by adding fresh, wild mushrooms to the stroganoff.

Directions

  1. Thoroughly clean and prep wild mushrooms.
  2. Open the Creamy Stroganoff pouch and remove the oxygen absorber.
  3. Bring 4 ½ cups of water to boil.
  4. Whisk in the entire contents of the pouch.
  5. Reduce heat and continue cooking for 20 minutes, stirring frequently.
  6. Remove from heat and let stand 2-3 minutes until desired thickness is reached.
  7. Use the recipe for foil packet campfire mushrooms or sautéed mushrooms. Once these mushrooms are cooked, add them to the stroganoff.

Wild Mushrooms on Toast with Egg

Want a hearty breakfast after a night camping?

Here is a recipe from The Dyrt.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 4 cups chopped wild mushrooms
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • Salt, pepper, onion powder to taste
  • Firm bread, sliced and toasted
  • 6 large eggs, fried
  • Shaved parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Thoroughly wash mushrooms, chop, then set aside in a bowl.
  2. Chop onion and garlic, set aside.
  3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a cast iron skillet, then add wild mushrooms, cooking until all moisture has evaporated.
  4. Add onions and garlic mixture, stirring frequently. Cook until onions are translucent. Season with salt, pepper, and onion powder.
  5. Place a griddle over the coals and melt an additional teaspoon of butter, then toast bread on both sides until brown.
  6. Fry eggs on griddle however you like!
  7. Spoon mushrooms on toast, adding the egg on top, then shaved parmesan. Serve and enjoy.

Foil Packet Mushrooms

It’s common to use foil packets for campfire cooking. You can use the same trick with wild mushrooms.

Here is a recipe from McCormick.

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 4 teaspoons Vegetable Seasoning (any seasoning will do)
  • Wild mushrooms
  • 1 large sheet heavy-duty aluminum foil

Directions

  1. Mix butter and seasoning in large bowl. Add mushrooms; toss to coat evenly.
  2. Place mushrooms in center of foil. Bring up sides of foil; double fold top and ends to tightly seal packet.
  3. Grill for 12 to 15 minutes or until mushrooms are tender, turning packet over halfway through cook time.

Wild Mushroom Soup

mushroom soup in a bowl

Preparing for a cold evening on your camping trip? Consider packing basic ingredients for mushroom soup.

Here is a recipe for wild mushroom soup from Trail Recipes.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Pour dry soup mixture into the pot; add 1 cup water and stir well.
  2. Let stand 5 minutes.
  3. Place pot over medium heat and bring to a boil.
  4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Put in bay leaf and simmer, stirring, for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and discard bay leaf.

Have you ever foraged for mushrooms or cooked wild mushrooms? Which method led you to the most success? Share your story in a comment below!


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