As the seasons turn towards fall,
a mystical shift occurs in the forest, and traipsing off trail across mossy hills, leaves glistening with fresh rain, and mist flowing through the trees like a forest spirit, in search of fleshy fungi, is one of the seasons highlights.
Our fungalphobic society is especially enchanted with the intoxicating attraction of the delicious, mind-expanding, mystical allure of the fungi. Buried deeply in the mythos of most American’s subconscious is a deep quiet place filled with fear, awe, repulsion, and attraction and weird fascination with the kingdom of Fungi.
At Vital Ways Institute we guide students to understanding many of the gifts of nature. And mushrooms are one of our favorites.
Forest bathing as the Japanese call it, is a way to deeply drink in all the sights, smells, and feelings in such a place-
Of the thousands of mushrooms that one encounters,
there are some who through their beauty, unusualness, flavor, or medicine call to us more than others. Here is a list of the most common edibles that we harvest in classes at Vital Ways Institute.
Agaricus augustus The Prince
Boletus edulis King Bolete, Porcini, Cep
Aureoboletus mirabilis Admirable bolete
Cantharellus spp. Chanterelle
Gomphus clavitus Pigs ears
Hericeum ssp. Lion’s mane
Hydnum repandum Hedgehog
Hypomyces lactifluorum Lobster
Laetiporous sulphureus Chicken of the Woods
Morchella esculenta Morels
Sparassis crispa Cauliflower
Tricholoma murrillianum Matsutake
By far the most commonly harvested-Chanterelles
The most commonly harvested medicinal fungi are the Conks
Remember that mushrooms like of all nature, should be respected for their medicine and well understood before one chooses to make a meal or healing broth from them. There are many more known toxic and those whose safety is not yet established than there are mushrooms that are edible and choice.
The list above is a great group to start learning and you should always consult with an expert before eating anything that you aren’t 100% sure of.
At Vital Ways Institute, we teach mushroom foraging and medicine making as part of the curriculum in each class, and we offer several mushroom education classes for the public. If you want to join a class, please reach out, and/or sign up for our mailing list.
Wishing you many happy and safe days, forest bathing, and fungus gathering.