Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Mushroom Foraging

While walking after a recent rainstorm I spotted a peculiar object on the side of the road- a crazy looking mushroom... a giant puffball! And by giant I mean the size of my head. So intrigued was I with this object that I took a picture of it.

Imagine my surprise when later that day, I came across a New York Times article titled, "Fungus on the Lawn? Let's Eat!" The article encouraged readers to gather the mushrooms growing naturally on their property, and transform them into tasty dishes. Says author Ava Chin, "When I discovered a little softball-size beauty with a pure-white center last week at the College of Staten Island, I turned it into a stir-fry in garlic sauce. Once peeled, edible puffballs resemble buffalo mozzarella, and are rather pleasant."

As the locavore movement steadily grows, people have expressed interest in homesteading: caring for honeybees, gardening... cheesemaking. And while there is a certain type of panache to eating the gifts from the earth that sprout on your own property, frankly, mushrooms can be poisonous. A simple research of mushrooms reveals that while many are edible, there are just as many similar-looking ones that are deadly to eat.

So what's the lesson? Mushrooms are fun to find and look at. They are amusing. But try taking a Mushroom Foraging class before throwing lawn fungus into your soup.

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