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Monday afternoon in the Enchanted Mushroom Forest

Ash Boletes

There were plenty of Ash Boletes in the forest today. These are edible but most people say they aren’t very palatable. Since I almost always get lots of choice mushrooms when these are fruiting, I’ve never tried eating one.

lots of boletes

Many of these boletes had been a buffet dinner for bugs and slugs, but I picked some good ones.

I don’t know what this fungi is attacking the stump, but it makes for a beautiful shot.


This is the first amanita I’ve seen all season. You can see the vulva wrapping around the base. Although there are some edible amanitas, this genus also contains some of the most deadly nasty bad-assed mushrooms we have, so my rule is to not ever eat any amanitas. Better safe than dead.

Today I picked chanterelles, hedgehogs, two types of boletes and lobsters for the table. Not bad at all.


  1. Sarah

    Would you be so kind as to share where your enchanted mushroom forest is?? I’ve been “hunting” (I use the term loosely given my success rate) for the last 3 years and the only edibles I’ve come back with was one lonely giant puffball, and some oysters when camping in Bon Echo. I know hunting grounds are often carefully guarded secrets, so I’ll understand if you decline. I will keep my fingers crossed!

    • Hi Sarah,
      I find my way to lots of forests, and some are better for some mushrooms than others. Here’s some general advice. First figure out when different mushrooms fruit in your area, (and research what trees if any they are often associated with). For instance morels fruit in May, chanterelles in July and into August, hedgehogs a little later, lobsters in August, puffballs in late August, honey mushrooms in the fall and so on. Plan your outings a few days after a good rain (if it’s been dry for a week and a half, it isn’t such a good time to explore a new forest. Drive around your area looking for mixed forests you can access and pick in. Are there county forests around? Try lots of different forests, and when you find some good edibles, keep a notebook of where (and when) you found them, what trees were around them and what the conditions were. Some forests and some parts of those forests will be better than others so you have to get around to different places if you expect to develop some good spots. Get off the beaten path – there’s not much point looking for mushrooms where someone else has picked them yesterday. There is one spot I go to within a large forest that often is OK for lobsters and hedgehogs with a few boletes thrown in. It’s not a big spot and it’s on the way to another forest I go to. I stop there for 20 minutes on my way elsewhere in it’s often more than worth the stop. Outside of that one small spot – a few acres – I rarely find anything in that forest. Now that I know a number of spots for different mushrooms I take a pretty targetted approach based on what I’m looking for and the time of year.

      I’m not going to give you a map to my spots because then I’ll have to go find new ones, but if you have specific questions about certain mushrooms and their habitats, email me and maybe I can help you out.

  2. Snoring Dog Studio

    This is amazing – a dinner of mushrooms! Is the taste different among all of those you’ve shown?

    • Yes, although the taste is a little difficult to characterize. The chanterelles and the hedgehogs have similar taste and texture, although the hedgehogs (hydnum repandum and hydnum umbillicatum) have teeth or spines on the underside of the cap. Both cook up very well and are very flavourful with a hint of spiciness.

      The lobster mushrooms are more mild and have a very firm texture.

      Different boletes have different flavours. The ones I picked taste, well, mushroomy. The tastiest boletes may be the porcini (boletus edulus). They grow here in Ontario but I haven’t found any yet. The boletes I picked have a softer texture when cooked than the chanterelles or the hedgehogs or the lobsters.

      The mushrooms available in the forest changes throughout the season. The first tasty edibles are morels in May and then oysters in June. Then typically chanterelles and boletes start in July, followed by lobsters, but this year, July was too dry. Then in August we get more boletes and chanterelles plus hedgehogs and lots more lobsters. Later there will be Lacterius thyinos (they exude an orange milk…very interesting) and giant puffballs and then smaller puffballs too. As well, sometimes it’s possible to find chicken of the woods and hen of the woods and cauliflower mushrooms and another weird one known as bear’s head tooth mushrooms. I’ve only been studying and collecting them for a short while – this is my third season. I see forests much differently now and I see things in the forest I hadn’t realized were even there.

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