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Old Man of the Woods

General Posts, Herb, Identification, Look-Alikes, Raw, Recipes
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Another edible mushroom we found on our hike with the Western Pa Mushroom Club was a bolete called Old Man of the Woods.

The Old Man of the Woods

The Old Man of the Woods

Boletes are mushrooms that grow up from the ground, and the underside has pores instead of gills. The Old Man of the Woods has characteristic black bumps along the top and stalk and has white to gray pores underneath. When bruised or cut, the mushroom eventually turns black. (Beware of boletes which bruise blue quickly, these are often poisonous.)

This mushroom was positively identified for us by members of the club, and we carefully wrapped it in wax paper and placed it in our bag with our other edible mushrooms (the chanterelles).

We’d heard the Old Man is a tasty mushroom, as long as you don’t mind it turning everything black as it cooks. In the books, though, we found it was “edible” but not worth eating. We decided to try it.

We sliced the Old Man when we got home

sliced Old Man of the Woods

sliced Old Man of the Woods

and sauteed it in olive oil, red onions and salt.

Old Man of the Woods sauteed it in olive oil, red onions and salt

Old Man of the Woods sauteed it in olive oil, red onions and salt

It did turn black. It is a meaty mushroom, though had a bit of slimy-ness to it. All in all, it was very good, reminiscent of portebellos.

A couple good mushroom guide books are National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms (National Audubon Society Field Guides), and Mushrooms Demystified
), which is especially good for those on the west coast.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
by Michael Pollan has a wonderful chapter about mushrooms in it as well, be sure to check that out.

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Walking with the Western PA Mushroom Club

General Posts
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Members of the Mushroom Club with Ella, showing off their mushrooms!

Members of the Mushroom Club with Ella, showing off their mushrooms!


Today Dave, Ella and I did something new: we went for a hike with the Western PA Mushroom Club!

Our two day camping trip to Raccoon Creek State Park prompted our interest in mushrooms. While there to get a glimpse of the Perseid Meteor Shower away from the city lights, we noticed an abundance of mushrooms! We stopped in to the nature center at the Wildflower Reserve, and the woman brought us out some great books on mushrooms that we poured over.

One thing we learned was that although mushrooms can be extremely dangerous and deadly, not to be afraid to dig them up and take a look at them. (I have always been too afraid to even touch anything!)

So we took pictures, took notes, went back to the books and found a huge amount of interesting information! By observation, I noticed some mushrooms had “gills” and others “pores.” When we returned to town we looked up the Mushroom Club, found that they walk just about every Saturday morning from spring through November, and so we set out with them today.

Mushroom Hatching from an egg. Many Amanitas are deadly poisonous, and some people avoid eating them altogether.

Mushroom Hatching from an "egg". Many Amanitas are deadly poisonous, and some people just avoided them.

Old Man of The Woods, edible, turns black when picking (we did not eat)

Old Man of The Woods, edible, turns black when picking (we did not eat)

Chanterelle Harvest (edible!)

Chanterelle Harvest (edible!)

identifying the mushrooms after the walk

identifying the mushrooms after the walk

The exciting thing was the harvest of tasty (once cooked!) chanterelles! Look for our entry on them coming soon!

A good book we found for identifying mushrooms is the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms (National Audubon Society Field Guides)
or go to our Amazon page of Recommended Mushroom Books.

Have fun, stay safe!

~ Melissa

Food Under Foot

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