New Hampshire Mushroom Hunting
Believe it or not, New Hampshire is a hidden gem for those who enjoy foraging for fungi. Edible varieties cover every corner of the Granite State, with some being highly coveted by gourmet chefs. More often than not, once you discover the hidden world of mushrooms, a simple walk in the woods will ultimately turn into a hunt for dinner.
Mushroom hunting does not come without its risks. While there are several edible varieties in New Hampshire, there are more that can make you violently ill or even cause death if you ingest them. It is very important that you have a trained mycologist identify and explain what you’ve found before you attempt to cook your latest find. Some edible mushrooms have “look-a-like’s” and it’s always better to be safe than sorry.
So, what are some edible mushrooms you can find in New Hampshire? As with anything, there are different degrees of “edible”. Some people enjoy eating bugs, they are edible, but not always the most appetizing. Mushrooms fall into the same camp, there are a lot of edibles, but do you really “want” to eat them? For our purposes, we’ll focus on some of the more popular varieties.
Bears Head (Hericium erinaceus) mushrooms, with cascading white icicle-like soft spines, are among the most strikingly beautiful fungi in the world. These mushrooms are excellent in stews, sauces and even baked with cheese for an interesting twist.
Chanterelle’s are highly coveted by gourmet chefs for their unique taste and propensity for being dried. Flute shaped, yellow in color and abundant in the North Woods, Chanterelle’s are a common find for the hungry mycologist.
Lobster Mushrooms are not your typical mushroom, they are actually created by a fungus that attacks another mushroom turning it’s usually white exterior a reddish brown similar to the shell of a cooked lobster. These mushrooms are widely marketed in grocery stores and have a thick meaty texture.
Chicken Mushroom comes by many names, but one fact remains, it tastes a lot like chicken. Also known as the Sulphur Shelf, Chicken Mushroom can be cooked much like it’s namesake and is phenomenal in pasta dishes. Vegetarians can even use this mushroom as a meat substitute.
New Hampshire Mycologists
These are four of our personal New Hampshire favorites, but you should also check out Black Trumpets, Hen of the Woods, Hedgehog Mushroom, Edible Puff Ball, and Matsutake varieties. If you live or are spending time in New Hampshire consider a trip to the New Hampshire Mushroom company in Tamworth. These folks grow a variety of organic mushrooms and provide tours of their operation every Sunday. Need help identifying a mushroom? The helpful staff are always excited to see what people bring them and during certain seasons purchase edibles for sale to local restaurants.