False Gilled mushrooms of NW Ontario

 

Lobster Mushrooms

Not truly a mushroom as the lobster mushrooms are formed from another edible,lest tasty mushroom when it becomes infected with a mold which then turns it red, gives it the seafood aroma and increases the taste. There has never been a recorded incident of the mold attacking a non-edible species of mushroom.

These are probably the easiest mushroom to identify in the region and are a tasty addition to seafood dishes.

When: August into October

Where: Conifer stands, edges of roads, Mossy areas or in straight dirt. Old growth conifer forests.

Distinguishing features: Orange/red lobster like colour is usually the first thing to see. Mushrooms form deformed “cones” with ridges in the outside stem. Have a slight seafood aroma. Flesh is white with brown/stained areas being bruising or older flesh.

Cap: Irregular, concave with cracks and can have brown spots which should be trimmed off.

Gills: False, may appear as small slight ridges that are “molded” into the mushroom itself.

Flesh: White

Identifiable: Easily identifiable by colour and smell, nothing else looks or smells like them.

Preservation: Dehydrate well. Saute in olive oil/butter and freeze in vacuum seal bags.

Chanterelle Mushrooms

These are some of the most popular eaten wild mushrooms on the planet.

These are another relatively easy mushroom to identify by colour and ridges/false gills instead of true gills of poisonous look a likes.

When: August into September

Where: Leaf litter/conifer tree shadows with hardwood mixed,  edges of roads,

Distinguishing features: yellow to orange with funnel like appearance. False gills/ridges continue down the stem.

Cap: Irregular, concave to funnel shaped.

Gills: False, may appear as small slight ridges that are “molded” into the mushroom itself. Some species appear almost smooth.

Flesh: White, solid – hollows with age/infestation.

Identifiable: Easily identifiable by colour and shape, false gills/ridges and yellow/orange. Grows solitary or in groups, never in clusters and never on wood.

Preservation: Saute in olive oil/butter and freeze in vacuum seal bags.

Pigs Ears Mushrooms

A close relative of the Chantrelle.

These are another relatively easy mushroom to identify by colour and ridges/false gills instead of true gills of poisonous look a likes.

When: August into October

Where: Conifer stands on ground or rotten wood – groups/clustered.

Distinguishing features: Violet/purple to tan/yellow brown with wavy fluted cap. False gills/ridges continue down the stem.

Cap: Irregular, wavy,

Gills: False, may appear as small slight ridges that are “molded” into the mushroom itself. Some species appear almost smooth.

Flesh: White, solid – hollows with age/infestation.

Identifiable: Easily identifiable by colour and shape, false gills/ridges and colour.

Preservation: Parboil and freeze. Saute in olive oil/butter and freeze in vacuum seal bags.

 

Gill Types: Note colour, staining and type of gills present.

True Gills: narrow platy fins radiating from the stalk out to the tips of the caps. Note the density colour and the bruising colour of the gills. Honey mushrooms are good local example.

Pores: No defined gills as above, instead a series of pores under the cap. This is a hallmark of Bolete mushrooms. Boletes are many and varied in their edibility and or toxicity.

Teeth/spines: Gills appear as narrow teeth or spines hanging from the cap. Scaly Hedgehog mushrooms are a local variety.

False Gills: No true gills, instead may have ridges that appear as gills, however they are not easily breakable, thin or platy. Lobsters and Chantrelles are great examples of false gills.

Weeds and Plants

Wild edible and medicinal weeds and plants are everywhere here in NW Ontario. Some tasty weeds are probably in your yard right now!

Berries

Blueberries abound here, but if you know where to look berry riches of NW Ontario start to show themselves.

Mushrooms

Some of the best tasting and easy to identify edible mushroom species are native to the Boreal Forest here in NW Ontario. 

Resources

Worksheets, charts, apps, maps and additional information to help you in your forage.

Weeds and Plants

Mushrooms

Berries and Nuts

Tips and Tricks

Mushroom rules

Never eat a mushroom you are not 100% sure of its identification. Even when 100% sure, only ingest a small amount as some people have reactions to normally edible mushrooms. Always cook them first.

The underside of mushrooms are its gills. They are typically fragile blades, some have spines/”teeth”, some are more ridges, some are pores and others have no gills at all.

Spore print mushrooms – place the cap, gills down on a piece of white AND a piece of dark paper for an hour or two. This will tell you the colour of its spore print.

Stay away from young “button stage” mushrooms and older, bruised or damaged mushrooms.

Where does the mushroom grow? On wood? Mossy forest? Hardwood? Softwood?

How does the mushroom grow? Clusters? Alone? In spaced out groups?

What time of year is it? Most mushrooms have a season, finding a fall mushroom in the spring means its not likely what you were looking for.

Start out with easier mushrooms, join groups and go on identification walks. Always ask for help with identification.

 

Explore

Identification and resources

It is important to identify and be sure of edible plants, mushrooms and berries in the wild. There are numerous resources available however nothing is better than going with an expert and growing your knowledge over time.

Pictures and videos are very important and a simple google search (images) will return a wide range of a specific plant you are looking for.  There are numerous Facebook groups as well, where the users are usually more than happy to help identify something. Simply upload a good quality picture (or 3 or 4 from different angles) and see what the collective consensus is.

Keep in mind that no one can identify by picture alone 100% of the time.

Mushroom identification Facebook Group

Other Link

Get In Touch

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