It Really is Lobster-ish

For those who have been reading along with my blog for a while. You know that I enjoy fall days and mushroom hunting. Although I cannot name every mushroom in the forest, I only harvest the ones that I am absolutely positive are edible species. If in doubt, throw it out; this is my motto with any question about edibility.

Since the heavy rains we had, the forest is popping with mushrooms. I decided to take a one-bucket hike to see what the woods had in store. I figure I’m about two days away from having a large amount both in volume and diversity to choose from. The ground beneath the larger fir trees is now damp enough to support the fungus growths.

I was looking for chanterelles for dinner, Mike had been hunting deer the day before and said that they were starting to show under the more dense areas in the woods. I did find a handful of chanterelles, but I also found three lobster mushrooms.

A bright orange lobster mushroom as it breaks the surface of the forest floor.Lobsters are very noticeable. Their bright orange color and heavy, compact form are very showy. This one just broke the surface and still had a ‘hat’ of dirt on the topside. This is when the mushroom is at its best. Rain will breakdown the mushroom in a matter of hours causing it to melt. Even a heavy dew could be enough to cause the mushroom to be inedible.  One of the three I picked was showing sign of decomposition so I left that one and kept the two solid ones.

Lobsters are a second generation mushroom. The bright orange and yellow colors are actually a fungus attacking a white mushroom that is growing underneath. This second generation is performing a forest duty of cleaning up the forest by devouring its host.

For years of picking, I have harvested lobsters for friends, yet had never tried them myself. I decided it was time to try something new and see just what it was that my friends were all giddy about.

My one-bucket walk only yielded a small amount of total mushrooms, but this is more than enough for the day.

On the left is what my bucket looked like when out in the forest. On the right, the mushrooms just before cleaning on my kitchen counter. As you can see the lobsters are much bigger and brighter than the chanterelles. They are also much heavier, one lobster weighs as much as all the the chanterelles.

The chanterelles were cleaned and put in the fridge to use tomorrow. The lobsters were cleaned, chopped and  mixed with a little butter, garlic and onion for a quick saute’.

Lobster mushrooms that had been cleaned, diced and sauted in butter.The bright color faded a little with the cooking but the pieces are still thick, heavy and dense. The butter seemed to absorb into the mushrooms as the extra moisture cooked out of them.

I wanted to get the full effect of the texture and flavor of these mushrooms so ate it just like this as a side dish without rice, pasta or putting them into a gravy. I have to admit that they were pretty tasty, with just a hint of seafood flavor.

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