Vegan since 1975, I decide to answer the question, "What DO you eat?" These posts tell about some meals and recipes my family and I have enjoyed over the years.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Coral Mushrooms

I finally identified some edible mushrooms out in the woods behind my house yesterday afternoon. They seemed to be Coral Mushrooms, and since they weren't bitter (yes, I tasted a tiny bit), did not bruise brown, and weren't gelatinous at their base, they passed the test. Some were white and some were tan. All grew along a woodsy path, attached to rotting branches. I left some behind in hopes they will continue producing.

Always check an expert source before ingesting any wild mushrooms. A few weeks ago I had found loads of what I hoped were small puffballs, but, alas, they were poisonous. My first hint was when they were dark purple when I broke them open. My second was when a friend's mushroom expert friend confirmed their identity. I had also researched them online. In other words, this is not something to take lightly.

A sure sign these coral mushrooms were fine: all of us who ate them last night suffered no ill effects. And we made sure that not all of us ate them—so somebody could explain what had happened to the rest of us, had the worst happened.

The good news is they were very tasty, indeed, just sauteed in some olive oil with a sprinkle of tamari. First I did have to pick off all the pine needles and leaves stuck to them. And, even though I know you aren't supposed to, I submerged them in water to help me clean them. Then I lay them out to dry before sauteing them.

This has been a great wet year for mushrooms and toadstools, if not for people, so be sure to take a walk in the woods to check out the wide variety. There are some very surprising shapes and colors. Most not edible, but all of them interesting to look at.

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