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Welcome to the Hunt Gather Talk podcast. In this episode I talk about how to get into mushroom hunting — safely.
I get asked a lot about this topic, and it isn’t an easy one to answer. But it’s just a question of time, not difficulty, so the podcast is a great way to talk you through it. For starters, know that mushroom hunting is a journey. You start with a very few edible mushrooms you are looking for, and you expand your knowledge bit by bit until you get to the lofty heights of someone like David Arora, or Gary Lincoff, or Connie Green. It takes decades, but it’s a fun process. This podcast will get you started.
For all of my mushroom recipes and info, you can browse this page. And for more information on mushroom foraging you can go to these articles of mine:
- Foraging for yellowfoot chanterelles
- Hunting morels in the West
- Identifying meadow mushrooms
- How to identify and cook honey mushrooms
- Finding sparassis, the cauliflower mushroom
Did you like this episode? You can find an archive of all my episodes here, and you can subscribe to the podcast here via RSS.
Subscribe via iTunes and Stitcher here.
I tried to take your advice and find my states Mycological society but apparently Kentucky does not have one!
Thank you for all your podcast episodes. Your feed is still ‘favourited’ in my Stitcher app and I always hope that you may, one day, pick up the microphone again to enlighten us on more hunting, gathering and cooking topics.
To pull together two of the elements in this mushroom podcast, I live in the UK and we often find Chicken of the Woods (COTW) growing on Yew trees. The Yew is one of the most toxic plants in the UK and it is a commonly held belief (although not scientifically proven) that the toxins from the tree can be present in the mushroom and, therefore, human consumption is inadvisable. It’s one of those aspects of mushroom lore that I am never sure whether to believe, but always err on the side of caution, especially when one considers the description of Yew poisoning:
“Where poisoning does occur, in animals or humans, there may be no symptoms and death may follow within a few hours of ingestion. If symptoms do occur, they include trembling, staggering, coldness, weak pulse and collapse.”
I am lucky enough to have found COTW on Willow and Oak trees, however, and can vouch for its culinary excellence!
Thanks again and please consider recording some new material for us dedicated foraging fans.
I am in no way affiliated with these guys but, for UK-based foragers, especially those who enjoy Hank’s approachable and friendly style, I would like to recommend the following YouTube channel – Wild Food UK: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCO6CqGDjDyzsPpDnoRU5pjg
Take care, and happy foraging,
This is a great, albeit quick, introduction to a fascinating topic.
I’m enjoying the podcast so far as your delivery is well-practiced and confident. You’re a natural teacher and yet you sound like you’re simply having a conversation with friends. I have learned a lot from your writings and look forward to learning even more from your talkings.
Hi Hank. I often see chicken of the woods mushrooms that show up every year on our neighborhood carob trees. As I understand it, there are no toxic lookalikes for this mushroom but, as you pointed out some trees produce mushrooms that are not good to eat. Any thoughts on carob trees?
Francie: That’s a weird one. Never heard of mushrooms on carob trees. Only one I know that has foul tasting mushrooms is eucalyptus. Maybe try a small bit first and see how it goes?
Love the podcast so far. Tons of great information for a newbie to the US like me. I moved to California a few years ago and just getting back into mushrooms. Can you share your favorite books on identifying California mushrooms?
Thue: Best books are the two by David Arora, and California Mushrooms by Dennis Desjardin et al.
We just ate our first self forraged mushrooms last week! Helvella from our back yard, the best texture I’ve ever eaten in a mushroom, so far.
U r my very first podcast ?
Love ur voice,way u talk and of course content
Looking forward to ur next
Loved the podcast! I cooked Teal Bigarade, Duck Duck Goose, tonight and it turned out wonderful. My wife who hates wild ducks loved it. Thank you.
PS. Wish I could find Hunt Gather Cook in had back.
Tyler: Thanks! I happen to have a few copies of Hunt Gather Cook in hardback. They are not easy to find anymore.
Hank: It wasn’t intended to be a literal title. A lot of podcasts these days have “tongue-in-cheek” names. For instance:
“Nothing to write home about”
“Stop podcasting yourself”
“The BS Report with Bill Simmons”
etc….basically, all I’m trying to say is your title is a bit… basic. Obviously just one fan’s opinion, take it with a grain of salt.
That being said, really love the site, like everything you do, looking forward to the next long drive I take to listen to the “Talk” 🙂
Am I the only one who thinks you should call this Hunt Gather Jabber? Just sounds better….
Annnnnndddddddd I’ll show myself out.
Ian: Yes, you are. Jabber is a pejorative word meaning “to talk rapidly and excitedly but with little sense.”
I am enjoying your podcast, I’ve enjoyed your writing for years both online and on paper. Funnily enough I’ve been invited to go morel hunting later this year when spring hits, so this was a timely podcast.
Would you consider a podcast on freshwater fish? I’ve never particularly enjoyed seafood or fish in general, although I’ve fished all my life. The primary method of cooking freshwater fish I’ve encountered in person and online is “filet, fry, eat hot”. Surely there’s more to the world of freshwater fish! Like a lot of folk I don’t live near a coast, nor do I live in trout country, but there are no shortage of lakes, streams, and rivers nearby that have a variety of game fish, primarily bass, catfish, and panfish of various types.
Thanks, and keep up the good work!
Great podcast Mr. Shaw! I just wanted to let people in the eastern U.S. know that Laetiporus cincinnatus, the white pored sulfer shelf, often grows at the base of trees. One more bit of information for those new to mushroom foraging is that Latin names are often preferred when discussing mushroom species. Common names for mushrooms can change from one area to the next.
The only mushroom that I’m willing to harvest for myself is the giant puffball – as big as your head, and pristine white when sliced through. If it has gills when sliced, it isn’t a puffball, and could kill you. If it isn’t pristine white, and a bit bouncy, it is past its prime, probably getting insect infested, and should be skipped. Found one last year in a legal location for foraging, dried it, and have used it a bit at a time in mushroom soup, and for duxelles and the like.
I’ve found a few magnificent sulfur shelf fungi, but of course, always in the metro parks where foraging is off limits… The reference guides seem to be pretty clear that these are generally safe – is there anything I should b looking out for? I have pictures of the fungi I’ve found if that would help.
Stuart: Sulfur shelf is generally safe, although some people get a stomach upset when they eat it. Look for the bright orange on the tree. NOT at the base of the tree, either, and the mushroom cannot have gills. There is a mushroom called a jack o’lantern that is orange and grows at the base of trees that is toxic.
Hank, I want to keep the podcast coming, I might have to get more copies of the books…
Federico: Doesn’t matter. I am not trying to make money off the podcast. I guess if you’d like to help, have you bought my books yet? That *always* helps. Thanks!
Really enjoyed your first episode and already looking forward to listen to this one on my way home from work 🙂
lovely podcast! what is the way of listening to it that gives you and your work the most support? iTunes? Stitcher? something else? I realise I am listening for free but it is not free work you are doing!