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You may have noticed that I like mushrooms from the amount of stories that I share. There are other things that I forage for about the farm but the mushrooms are by far some of my most favorite. Besides the variety of fall mushrooms that pop up in the forest, there are a couple of varieties that pop up right in my yard and garden.
Most of the mushrooms that show up are nondescript LBM’s, what professional foragers refer to as Little Brown Mushrooms. LBM’s are a classification for the multitude of small wonders that would take a lot of research just to identify and out of the bunch there MAY only be one that is edible and possibly not tasty at all. The best rule of thumb is to only forage for the mushrooms that can be positively identified and if any doubt at all not to touch any foreign fungus.
Agaricus campestris / field mushrooms, make their appearance under a couple of fir trees in my front yard are closely related to the Crimini mushrooms that are commonly sold in grocery stores. They are a wonderful edible in their raw state for salads or simply eating and taste just like the store-bought button mushrooms on pizza or in pasta. The conditions have to be just right in order for these mushrooms to show themselves and some years they do not show up at all. Over the last five years only three of those produced more than one or two.
At the edge of my garden, Coprinus comatus / shaggy mane / shaggy inky cap, / lawyer’s wig mushrooms have been making a yearly showing. They go by many names and are delicious. They are a very delicate mushroom, and are a part of the inky family, instead of drying out or molding as many mushrooms, they begin to turn black and ‘melt’. The process of melting can happen in a matter of hours. The mushrooms that I first noticed in the morning had already started showing signs of inking around the edges before I had a chance to get back to the house to start lunch. I harvested the whole patch at once and spread them out so you can see the freshest mushrooms on the left and the older ones in succession across the tray. For my lunch I only used the white mushrooms and returned to the garden the ones that had begun to turn black.
There is an old saying about shaggy mane mushrooms that you need to have the pan already hot before you harvest, meaning that there is no time to waste between harvesting and cooking.
For lunch today, I put some linguine noodles on to boil while I cleaned the mushrooms and cut them long-wise in half. In a fry pan, I put a Tablespoon of good olive oil and browned 2 cloves of minced garlic and 1/2 cup of diced onion. As soon as they were browned, I added the mushrooms to saute on high heat for 2 minutes then turned off the heat. The mix stayed in the fry pan while I rinsed the finished linguine noodles with water and let them sit in a colander for a few moments to drip most of the excess moisture off. The linguine noodles were plated and the mushrooms were placed on top with all the liquid in the pan. It was a delicacy lunch from the edge of the garden.