Mushroom Hunting

There are two things many people in Asheville love: good food and being outdoors.  Mushroom hunting combines both of those things.  For years I’ve been hearing about how fun, interesting and tasty it is to go mushroom hunting in and around Asheville.  I just never could find the time to go.

Until now…  my how I’m love my “new” life.

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My good friend Jason and his daughter, Isabella (my goddaughter,) are expert mushroom “foragers” and have been asking me for years to join them on one of their afternoon expeditions.mushroom_hunting_jason_isabella

The stars finally aligned the other day and I got tag along on their adventure.

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I can’t tell you exactly where we went, because each mushroom hunter has their own top secret location.  It can take hours walking in the woods to find a good mushroom spot.  The meaty little fungi will come up in the same spot year after year, so most people want to keep their secret mushroom spots… just that…  a secret.

To be honest with you, I felt pretty cool that the two of them shared their spot with me.  So I will guard the location with care.

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After walking deep into the woods for about twenty minutes we started seeing our first signs of mushrooms.  I looked a little more intently at the green foliage to uncover the bright orange plants.

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Isabella is an expert forager and she saw the mushrooms before any of us.

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Jason says these tiny ones take a while to collect, but they are really tasty sautéed in butter and wine.

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Jason and Isabella point out different mushrooms to me explaining which ones are safe to take, and which ones could be poisonous.  Jason only takes the ones that he distinctly knows are safe.

Just as Isabella is pointing out more good ones to me, Jason yells at us both to come over to where he is standing.  He found an entire hillside covered in the gold mine of mountain mushrooms, the chanterelle.   These babies go for $30 a POUND in the grocery store, WHEN you are lucky enough to find them.

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I take my knife and basket and cut away.

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This one is near perfection!

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We spend about a half an hour collecting the beautiful chanterelles, filling our baskets.  We each cut enough for a couple of good meals, and decide it is time leave.

We start the long hike back to the car when Jason hollers again!  He found another crazy find.  A giant Hen of the Woods.

It was too good to leave behind, so we take that one too.

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Look at our mushroom stash!

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Now I really feel like a “mountain girl” with this kind of experience under my belt.  I went home, washed them all and set out to cook an amazing meal.

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Scallops, fresh half runner beans (last of the season) and wild mountain mushrooms.

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They were so tasty and they put regular mushrooms to shame on the savory flavor.  I could really get used to this mushroom hunting thing!

Your turn!

Have you ever been mushroom hunting or “foraging?”

Do you like to hike?

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By | 2017-08-15T14:04:23+00:00 September 29th, 2014|Asheville / WNC Living, Friends & Family, Fun, Hiking, Pisgah National Forest|18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Jessie September 30, 2014 at 2:55 am - Reply

    Wow! This is something I’ve never even heard of before. It sounds like an absolute blast. I can’t get over how big your stash @ the end of the day was. Pure craziness.

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience with us, Julie!
    Jessie recently posted…Babies Update: 22 Weeks & 3 DaysMy Profile

  2. Eddie Fowler September 29, 2014 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    Wow!!! Julie, you guy’s truly did find the gold mine, lol .. Yes, I’m a tad envious, lollol j/k Enjoy 🙂

  3. Jason September 29, 2014 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    I’m no expert. I’m still learning everyday!

    Awesome story Julie. We had a great time. Isabella is excited to show this to her class.

    • JulieWunder September 29, 2014 at 6:21 pm - Reply

      You know enough to where I didn’t get poisoned! You are an expert in my world!
      JulieWunder recently posted…Mushroom HuntingMy Profile

  4. Blane Sherer September 29, 2014 at 11:22 am - Reply

    Love it when you share your ” adventures ” with us.
    Seems like you had a great time mushroom hunting.
    Of course you topped it off by by showing some tasty
    mushroom augmented meals. Thanks Julie

  5. Gloria Collins September 29, 2014 at 11:20 am - Reply

    Years ago I used to hunt for mushrooms but never got the amount that you all did. My friends moved away that I used to go with to forage for mushrooms so I so enjoyed seeing your success. And to get a hen of the woods is a real find.

  6. carson September 29, 2014 at 11:05 am - Reply

    So fun! I am not a mushroom fan, but I feel like I would really enjoy foraging for them even though I don’t eat them.
    carson recently posted…Weekend Update: Opa!My Profile

  7. Kathy Boggs September 29, 2014 at 9:17 am - Reply

    I have never been mushroom hunting. Looks like you had a great time and got a lot of mushrooms, yum!

  8. Madeline St Onge September 29, 2014 at 8:31 am - Reply

    Never went mushroom hunting, I would be afraid to eat them

    • JulieWunder September 29, 2014 at 8:55 am - Reply

      I never would have gone by myself but Jason is an expert 🙂

  9. Dan Steadman September 29, 2014 at 8:05 am - Reply

    never been foraging but we (and I include the boys 10,5,3) love to hike

  10. Walter Wright September 29, 2014 at 5:39 am - Reply

    Never been but looks like fun ,but I do love mushroom =) !

  11. Lindsay September 29, 2014 at 5:38 am - Reply

    That looks amazing! I’ve lived here for 2.5 years and have never met a mushroom hunter–I’m clearly not hanging out with the right people! I’m super jealous. If you have any left over and have a risotto recipe you’re planning to try sometime soon…I would loooove to see how that goes!

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