I was lucky enough to come across a heavy load of gorgeous shaggy mane mushrooms in a kind woman’s yard. When they emerged last year around this time, I asked to pick them but when I returned to do so, they’d all been stomped by children. I wasted no time this fall the moment they nodded through the turf.
Shaggy manes (coprinus comatus) are tasty members of the inky cap family, all of which dissolve into black goop with rapidly elapsing age. They’re common, widespread, and among the more easily identified of wild fungi, which make them a good choice for novice mushroom hunters.
The only disclaimer, besides to always make a full and complete identification (my favorite book for doing so is Mushrooms Demystified by the brilliant David Arora) is to use caution– or avoid altogether– consuming any inky caps with alcohol, as adverse reactions may occur. I have intimate experience with such reactions, and I’ll tell that story later this week. It speaks to the mystique and intrigue that seduces mycophiles, as well as the ever-present risks that are so often misinterpreted by the toadstool-wary.
I’ll be sauteing these whole or halved in plenty of butter with a sprinkling of fresh herbs and wild onions.