Browsing the archives for the wild mushrooms tag.

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Wild Walks and Mushroom Foray scheduled!

General Posts

Frick Park Earth Day Walks

Our first walks will be at Frick Park Earth Day Celebration!
This year walks on Earth Day at Frick Park are Sunday, April 19, from 12 - 4. Our walks will be at 1 and 3, each for 45 minutes.
The city foots the bill, so these Earth Day walks are free to you, all you have to do is show up! Just get there a bit early so you can sign up, the walks are usually limited to 20 people each.
There will be other walks as well: mushroom walks, spider walks, tree id walks, herp walk (lizards and salamanders), bird walks. It’s a great day, hope to see you there!

Join Us Morel Mushrooming!

Let’s forage for morels together! We can’t guarantee we’ll find morels, but we’ll take you to places we’ve found morels in the past.  We’ll also identify other wild edibles as we hike along looking for mushrooms.

Please join us for our first walks this month, and a mushroom foray in early May.

Bring a basket, paper bag or mesh bag (you can reuse the ones you get from buying onions or oranges) to collect morels, and some water to drink.
When: Sunday May 3, 2015, 11 am - 1 pm
Where: Frick Park. You will receive exact start location upon registration.
Price: $15 adults
$5 kids 6 - 12
Free kids 5 and under

RSVP: Please let us know you are coming! If enough people want to go we will add another day. Email to RSVP. Please tell us your name, phone number, and how many people in your party. Thanks!


Wild Edibles Walk at Schenley Oval

General Posts

Wild Edibles Walk Schenley Park, August, 2014. Photo credit: Jennifer Verala

Wild Edibles Walk Schenley Park, August, 2014. Photo credit: Jennifer Verala

Our first evening wild edibles walk was a great success! Thank you to everyone who came. We took our time walking the one kilometer loop, stopping to discuss nearly 20 edible, medicinal and poisonous plants. We also discussed how to make tinctures, vinegars, oils and salves, how to identify, harvest and use the plants and some of our favorite ways to prepare them to eat.  Our next walks are planned for the end of Sept and into October. The dates haven’t been announced yet but stay tuned!

Some of the plants we discussed this evening included:

  • plantain - both wide leaf plantain (Plantago major) and narrow leaf plantain (Plantago lanceolata.) We talked about using plantain as an edible and medicinally, and how to gather the seeds.
  • dandelion
  • burdock - plenty of old burdock with lots of sticky burs, and an abundance of young first year plants whose roots and leaf stalks are great to harvest right now.
  • Pokeberry - This dark poison berry is also abundant now. It can be used as an ink or dye.
  • photo127Oak Tree/Acorn
  • Mulberry Tree
  • Hawthorn berries/haws
  • Motherwort
  • Golden Rod (what people often think they’re allergic to, but the pollen travels by insect, not wind. It is used medicinally to combat allergies.)
  • Ragweed (what people are actually allergic to - this inconspicuous plant with green flowers has wind-born pollen and is what many people with fall allergies are allergic to.)
  • Wild Carrot/Queen Anne’s Lace
  • Dryad’s Saddle Mushroom - usually thought of as a spring mushroom, makes a reappearance again in late summer and fall.
  • Lamb’s Quarters
  • Broad Leaf Dock, leaves and seeds
  • Red Clover
  • White Clover
  • Wood Sorrel

Thanks so much to everyone who joined us tonight, and to Jen Verala for snapping some great photos of the walk! (If anyone else has photos they want to share with me and the Food Under Foot family, send them to I will credit you! Dave forgot to take photos.)


Melissa Sokulski

Food Under Foot


Cook Forest Chanterelles

General Posts

We haven’t been out foraging this year as much as I’d like. Last year was a fantastic chanterelle year. This year, well, I honestly didn’t know.

This weekend we went up to Cook Forest State Park. Our reserved campsite was a mistake: loud, on the path to the bathroom, crowded, noisy. Luckily there were other spots available and we found a quiet one which was just at the start of a hiking trail.


After setting up camp we took an evening hike.  There on the side of the trail were beautiful chanterelles.



We sauteed them with onions and roasted them in the fire into mountain pies with cheese.

img_0169The next morning we went out and harvested some more:

img_0158We sauteed them with onions, potatoes and had them with the most delicious eggs we picked up on an Amish farm in Smicksburg, on the way up to Cook Forest.

Later that morning we went to the Clarion farmer’s market and found a woman selling, alongside her organic produce, chanterelles by the pound.


The woman told us it is a GREAT year for chanterelles. She agreed that last year was fantastic, and reported this year is even better. “There’s been so much rain that my lettuce is terrible, my cucumbers practically non-existent, but the chanterelles are everywhere. They are saving my organic farm!”

How has your chanterelle season been? I’m back in Pittsburgh, and I’m going out as soon as I can to find more!

Don’t know how to cook chanterelles? Check out these past posts:

Hope your summer is fantastic and that you are out foraging safely and sustainably!

Festive Foraging!

~ Melissa and the folks at Food Under Foot


Great Walks This Weekend!

CSF Newsletters

We had wonderful walks this past Saturday and Sunday at Frick Park in Pittsburgh - thanks to everyone who attended!

Although we did not find morels, we found plenty of Dryad Saddle (also called Pheasant Back):

Dryad Saddle Mushroom, An Edible Polypore

Dryad Saddle Mushroom, An Edible Polypore

We also identified and discussed many wild edible and medicinal plants over the past two days including:

  • Wild Carrot/Queen Anne’s Lace, Daucus carota
  • Mugwort, Artemesia vulgaris
  • Motherwort, Leonurus cardiaca
  • Mulberry, Morus
  • Lamb’s Quarters, Chenopodium alba
  • Garlic Mustard, Alliaria pettiolata
  • Onion Grass
  • Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis
  • Violet, Viola
  • Chickweed, Stellaria media
  • Nettles, Urtica dioica
  • Deadnettles, Lamium purpurea
  • Cleavers, Galium aparine
  • Plantain, Plantago major
  • Burdock, Arctium lappa
  • Broad-leaf Dock, Rumex obtusifolius
  • Solomon’s Seal, Polygonatum biflorum



We identified some poisonous plants:

  • Poison Hemlock, Conium maculatum
  • Poison Ivy, Rhus radicans

We also discussed how to find and identify elm and tulip poplar trees (which helps in searching for morels.)

We are working on the dates for more 2014 walks and workshops…they will be posted soon.

Hope to see you!

~ Melissa and David Sokulski

Food Under Foot


18 Reasons Not To Be Impatient About Your Garden

General Posts



I LOVE this time of year.

I have my garden in…but nothing is up yet. In fact, the tomatoes, peppers, basil and zucchini are still seedlings growing inside, the temperature outside is not consistently warm enough. And of the things I have planted: lettuce, kale, peas, radishes, only the merest of sprouts have come up. But I am not sad or impatient. Here’s why:

The WILD garden is filled with bounty right now! While my garden edibles won’t be ready for at least a month for the earliest things, NATURE is providing me with hardy greens of a variety of flavors, a variety of veggie stalks, and gorgeous gourmet mushrooms! Here are some of the things I’ve been enjoying the past week from Nature’s Garden, which is full of glorious abundance:

  1. Stinging Nettles, Urtica dioica, they’re up and in my smoothies and soups!
  2. nettles


  3. Japanese Knotweed Stalks, deliciously tart, great for steaming, juicing and nibbling as a trailside treat
  4. Deadnettles, flowering now, this gorgeous flower is going in the smoothies and stir fries
  5. deadnettles blooming in mid-winter

    deadnettles blooming in mid-winter

  6. Chickweed, love it in salad
  7. Garlic Mustard, flowering already! In salads and pesto
  8. Fiddleheads, use care not to overharvest this springtime delicacy!
  9. Ramps, again, please use care not to overharvest!
  10. ramps


  11. Onion Grass, aka Wild Chives/Garlic/Onion, use as you would chives
  12. Burdock Leaf Stalks, boil, steam, stir fry or add to soup
  13. Burdock Roots, juice, use in coleslaw and sour kraut, or stir fry
  14. Dandelion Leaves, bitter yet delicious and great as a liver cleanse
  15. Dandelion Flowers - I have a batch of dandelion wine brewing!
  16. Dandelion Root, dry for tea or dry roast and use as a coffee substitute
  17. Mint, is popping up
  18. Asparagus - If you’ve found a patch of wild asparagus you are in luck right now!
  19. Hairy Bittercress, this was one of the first things up! Tastes a bit like radishes, adds bite to your salad
  20. Morel Mushrooms, depending on where you live these have been up for a week or two or just due to come up. Yum!
  21. morel mushroom

    morel mushroom

  22. Dryad Saddle Mushrooms, if you find these with/instead of morels you’re in for a treat! Young dryads saddles are delightfully delicious.
  23. Dryad's saddle

    Dryad's saddle

I mean, really, who could ask for more?


“Cream” of Morel Mushroom Soup


vegan "cream" of mushroom soup

vegan "cream" of mushroom soup

January is the coldest month of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Perhaps not coincidentally January is also National Soup Month!!!

So let’s see what wild edibles (dried or fresh from the tundra) we can scare up for some delicious soups this month.

dried morels harvested spring, 2013

dried morels harvested spring, 2013

Vegan “Cream” of Morel Mushroom Soup

Cashews and potatoes give this vegan soup its thick creamy texture.


  • dried morel mushrooms
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped or pressed
  • 12 oz fresh mushrooms, can be button mushrooms
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 2 carrots (optional because will give soup an orange color.)
  • 3 potatoes, cubed
  • 6 cups water, plus more boiling water to reconstitute morels
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/8 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt and pepper


  1. Pour boiling water over dried morels to reconstitute and let soak for at least 20 minutes.
  2. While morels are soaking, saute 1/2 the onion, all the garlic, celery, half the fresh mushrooms and all the carrot in 1 Tbsp olive oil with salt in the bottom of soup pan.
  3. Once onion is translucent, add 6 cups water and potatoes, cover and simmer until potatoes are soft, about 15  minutes.
  4. Turn off heat and let soup cool a bit.
  5. Put soup, morel soak water, cashews and nutritional yeast into blender and blend well.
  6. Saute soaked morels, the rest of the onions and mushrooms in olive oil with salt in a frying pan.
  7. Return blended soup to soup pot, adding sauteed onions and mushrooms.
  8. Reheat and adding pepper and more salt as necessary to taste.
  9. As you reheat soup may thicken due to the cashews, so add water and adjust seasoning if needed.

Other  wild ideas for this recipe:

  1. if you have dried maitake/hen-of-the-woods mushroom around, then leave out the button mushrooms and add a handful of dried maitake when you add the potatoes. These will get blended to make a rich mushroom-tasting broth.
  2. You can substitute dried maitake (reconstituting them the way you reconstituted morels), or use frozen mushrooms like maitake or chicken mushroom.


~ Melissa


    It Was Me, Not Them


    Chanterelle Mushrooms

    Chanterelle Mushrooms


    Those most gourmet of edible mushrooms. The bright yellow find in the woods, smelling deliciously of apricot. So good.

    So they say.

    I have never been a fan of chanterelles. But it turns out it was me, not them.

    I should have known 65 million French people couldn’t be wrong.

    It turns out I didn’t know how to prepare them. And this year - 2013 - ends up being the year of the chanterelle. At least in the woods of Western PA. A whole group of mushroom hunters couldn’t harvest enough to put a dent in what was out there.

    So I did a bit of internet research for chanterelle recipes, and I found this video. I left the butter out to keep the recipe vegan, and used fresh lemon thyme because that is what we have growing. It was the best.

    Sauteed chantereels with lemon thyme.

    Sauteed chanterelles with lemon thyme.

    Lemon Thyme and Garlic Chanterelles

    vegan, gluten-free

    adapted from this recipe on No Recipe Required

    • 2 cups Chanterelles, washed and cut into equal sized pieces
    • 1 - 2 Tbsp olive oil
    • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme or lemon thyme
    • 1 clove garlic, chopped
    • sea salt, pepper
    • squeeze of lemon

    Heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a heavy pan, turn heat to medium high.

    Place chanterelles in pan in single layer. Add salt and let them cook until side on pan is browned, about 8 minutes.

    Flip chanterelles and cook another 4 or 5 minutes. If pan dries out add more oil.

    Add in thyme, then add in garlic, stir.

    Turn off heat and grind in pepper and squeeze on lemon, stir again.

    Add salt and pepper to taste.

    You can use this as a side dish or mix into risotto once the rice is cooked and taken off the heat. Very, very good.

    Olive Oil Sauteed Chanterelles with Lemon Thyme and Garlic

    Olive Oil Sauteed Chanterelles with Lemon Thyme and Garlic


    Vegan (and Soy-Free, Gluten-Free) Cream of Mushroom Soup with Morels and Dryads


    vegan mushroom soup

    vegan mushroom soup

    Amazing, amazing vegan “cream” of mushroom soup…and the mushrooms are MORELS and DRYAD’S SADDLES! It doesn’t get better than this!

    yellow morels

    yellow morels

    Vegan Cream of Wild Mushroom Soup

    vegan, gluten-free, soy-free

    In a pot with water, boil:

    • 3 potatoes, peeled, chopped
    • 2 carrots, chopped
    • 3 stalks celery, chopped
    • 1/2 onion, chopped
    • 4 cloves garlic
    • 5 button mushrooms (optional)
    • salt
    • pepper
    • paprika

    Boil until POTATOES and CARROTS are tender. Remove from heat.

    Add CASHEWS and blend well. (We used our vitamix, but any blender should be fine.)

    In a pan with olive oil:

    saute chopped MORELS with salt.

    In another pan with olive oil:

    saute chopped DRYAD’S SADDLE with salt.

    Dryad's Saddle

    Dryad's Saddle

    (I sauteed in them in two separate pans because later in the season dryad’s can become bitter, and in case this had happened, I didn’t want to ruin the batch of morels!!! But they were just fine.)

    Return now creamy broth to pot and adjust seasonings: SALT, PEPPER, PAPRIKA  to taste.

    Add sauteed mushrooms and enjoy.


    ~ Melissa

    Food Under Foot

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