I love the strange-looking mushrooms we call lobsters. They’re actually not a species of mushroom at all, but the result of a fungal attack. A cup fungus attacks certain host mushrooms, turning them scarlet red and contorting them.
The host mushrooms – there are 2 of them – are edible but not palatable. If you tried to eat one you would certainly spit it out. However, when the hypomyces attacks the host, it transforms their taste, making them a really tasty edible.
Lobsters are often found half buried in the forest duff. They are sometimes covered in dirt and parts of them may be bug-eaten. The host becomes quite dense and you can scrub them with a toothbrush under running water to get all the dirt out. Then slice them into eighth inch slices. Once you do that, simply cut away anything that isn’t white or scarlet.
They have a crunchy texture and are good fried up or in soups and stews. When I find a lot, I also dehydrate some for winter.