Wild mushrooms are probably not the first thing you think of when you think of great food, but they are great food. In fact, there is a whole community of people who forage for wild mushrooms in the state of Louisiana. Reporters from The Advocate studied this subculture. They found that, with a proper guide, one can find all sorts of delectable things in our fine state, such as wild mushrooms. According to an article on the topic, mushroom aficionado Logan Wiedenfeld guided a group of intrepid food explorers on a culinary journey to find some of the most delicious mushrooms in Louisiana.
Louisiana Master Naturalists of Greater Baton Rouge were the group to explore the state for delicious foods, but there are dangers. If you are not careful, you could end up ingesting something dangerous, which is why it is recommended that, should you go foraging for mushrooms, you go with someone who knows what he or she is doing. If not, you may end up finding a mushroom that resembles something safe to eat but can actually be a deadly mushroom in disguise. Members of the group recommend that you ensure that your finds and collections are verified by an expert before ingesting them.
Not only are mushrooms good to eat, but they are also an integral part of the ecosystem in which they live. They function in a symbiotic relationship with the trees and plant life around them by helping those other organisms break down dead materials into soil, which other plants may then use to grow and become stronger, to weather the years and storms.
One should be careful in this hobby, should you pick it up. Above all, make sure that if you do go on one of these trips, that you bring an expert. Without someone with intimate knowledge of the mushroom species that you should be looking for and avoiding, you are putting yourself in danger. That being said, there are many species of mushroom that are great to eat. Have fun but be careful.
A virtual mushroom-hunting expedition is taking place tomorrow, July 8, at 6:30 p.m., should you so desire to come join the team. This virtual foraging experience will give you the fundamentals of foraging for mushrooms in a safe way through Zoom. For more information, check out the event on Facebook HERE.