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Foraging in winter – What can you eat? Fall oyster mushrooms!

Fall oyster

Fall oyster

It’s January in Vancouver and there are huge bunches of fall oyster mushrooms – Panellus serotinas – everywhere growing on dead or live trees for the eager forager to find.  Yup, if all the grocery stores disappeared, these would be like finding gold in the forest!

ID: Olive green tops, growing in clusters, thin orange gills, stubby/non existent stem and a rubbery texture make this mushroom easy to identify, especially because there aren’t many more mushrooms growing around now.

The older ones can be a bit bitter, so pick them young, slice them thin and fry them up for dinner!  Also, remember to do your spore print (should be yellowish) and small fry test before feeling confident about identifying any new wild mushroom to you.

– Chef Robin

Small fry test – It’s a good idea to do an allergy test with a small piece of any wild mushroom even after you’ve positively identified the species.  Cook a dime sized piece of the mushroom thoroughly, eat it, wait a few days and then make sure you don’t get stomach upsets.  Many people are allergic to specific types of mushrooms.