Edible Mushrooms – Mendocino Mushroom Festival

Having eaten a beautiful and delicious mushroom meal at the Stanford Inn to celebrate our anniversary and the Mendocino Mushroom festival we had one more thing to do before leaving…

The day prior Eric and I had collected some hedgehog and chantarelle mushrooms on our guided mushroom walk.  I cleaned the mushrooms as best I could and kept an eagle eye out for worms.  I washed the mushrooms even though we were told we didn’t need to.  We took our guides advice and sauteed them in a pan with no butter or oil on a high heat.  The water within the mushrooms quickly seeped out and the mushrooms shrunk to half their size.  I dumped out most of the water and continued sauteing.  I added a touch of salt and it was the moment of truth!  Do we trust our guide?  I sent off a text message to some friends at work bequeathing them my unfinished projects and sequined office supplies and dug in.

I am happy to report Eric and I have no ill effects and truly enjoyed our unusual mushroom’s earthy but not overwhelming flavor.  It was something I have never been able to buy in a store and have certainly never foraged on my own before.  This was an excellent way to end our time in Mendocino at the festival.

The Mendocino Mushroom festival was a delight.  It wasn’t a true festival under a tent somewhere that you pay a ticket fee to enjoy.  Rather it was merely a celebration of the mushroom where festival goers can celebrate in their own way.  We spent most of our time outside enjoying nature and the beautiful weather where some could have spent large amounts of money on numerous beer/wine and mushroom pairings throughout the region.

Thank you mushroom for being such an entertaining part of our weekend.  🙂

iPhone Photos June 2015 001 (2)

iPhone Photos June 2015 002 (2)  iPhone Photos June 2015 004 (3)

Mushroom Festival – Stanford Inn Guided Mushroom Walk

Saturday we came back to the Stanford Inn for a guided Mushroom walk and talk.  A guide brought all sorts of mushrooms she had picked within the last few days to delight us with.  She took us to “Mushroom Ally” a bit of forest in the Jackson Demonstration forest.  She frequents this spot because of the types of trees that grow there which attract edible mushrooms.  Eric and I, along with a small groups of others, walked through the forest for hours admiring mushrooms you can eat and mushrooms that can kill you instantly.  They were in abundance due to recent rains.  If I wasn’t scared enough of mushrooms before I certainly am now.  The only mushrooms we were brave enough to collect were hedgehog mushrooms and chantrelle mushrooms.  (We cooked these babies up the next morning with breakfast and they were delightful!)  The guided walk introduced new types of mushrooms that we did not see the day before at MacKericher.  We saw many of the same mushrooms but a large group that only appeared in this forest due to the types of trees that grew here.  Not to mention I think the guide had a better idea of where to look.  It seems she has special mushroom vision glasses on if you ask me.  Or she just knows where to look and what these mushrooms look like since many of them are rather camouflaged.  It was delightful to be out in the cool wet forest with a purpose.  Mushroom hunting was unusual and something I had never considered before.  I would do it again in a heartbeat probably leaving all of the specimens where I found them though.  It turns out many mushrooms look alike and can only be told apart by smell, whether they are slimy or not, whether they have spines not gills, whether they bruise blue and all sorts of rules that are difficult to remember.  I will just go with photographing them in the future!


A few mushroom facts:

*Mushrooms should never be eaten raw otherwise one may develop a mushroom allergy. (Even the button ones in the grocery store we commonly put in salads.)

*Mushrooms should be cooked without oil, the water within them will cook out and then they are ready to eat.

*Almost never eat a mushroom that is orange or red.

*Most mushrooms are full of maggots, gross.

*Our guide maintains mushrooms don’t need to be washed rather just brushed off.  I washed mine anyway…

*Hollywood should make a movie about killer mushrooms if they haven’t already because they are scary and aww inspiring.


Mushrooms encountered on our walk through Jackson Forest with a mixture of true names when I can remember them and made up names when I can’t!

Gummy Jelly mushroom – edible.  Grows on dead wood.


Purple Death cap.  (One of the prettiest colored ‘shrooms out there.)


Orange coral! (Coral…tell me this doesn’t look like it belongs under water.)


Red coral! (As if orange wasn’t pretty enough red coral is all over the place…)


White Coral  (White and close to white anyway.)


Orange Buttons of Death


Pigs Ear Mushroom – edible as long as there aren’t worms! (I have to admit this one didn’t look too appetizing.)



Purple and slimy.  These babies will definitely kill you and anyone you have ever met if eaten.


Bright orange blades of grass.  Mother nature is a creative lady!