IT’S MUSHROOM SEASON and fervent foragers are finding fungi fruiting in the forests.
We are uniquely blessed here on the Olympic Peninsula to have a nearly year-round supply of edible wild mushrooms, but when the fall rains finally begin, be prepared for an incredible variety: porcini, chicken of the woods, cauliflower, truffles, matsutake, lobster, chanterelle and yellowfoot, to name a few.
For those who know what to look for and have found their own secret mushroom patches, the delights of wild mushrooms are well known.
For the rest of us, we are fortunate that these special treats can be purchased at various natural food stores and farmers markets across the Peninsula.
There are hundreds of ways to prepare wild mushrooms.
Start by washing and a very gentle scrub to remove any remaining bits of the forest floor.
As a general rule, do not eat wild mushrooms raw.
Once cleaned and sliced, you can toss them into stir-fry or pasta sauce, load them onto a pizza or chop them into scrambled eggs.
One simple way to enjoy mushrooms is a mushroom and spinach sandwich.
Another was suggested to me by Preston Onkst of Wild West who forages and sells wild mushrooms at the Port Angeles Farmers Market.
Wrap a thin slice of pancetta (or bacon but pancetta is better) around a lemon-sized mushroom (or piece of a larger mushroom).
Broil for 8-9 minutes until the meat begins to crisp.
Let it cool and … wow!
Betsy Wharton is the proprietor of the Clallam Canning Co., a local purveyor of artisan pickles and other farm to jar goods. You can find her and her products at the Sprouting Hope Greenhouse at 826 E. First St. in Port Angeles. Or contact her at [email protected] canningcompany.com.