National Mushroom Month: How to hunt and cook mushrooms in Indiana

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By: Danielle Waldron
dwaldron@flavor574.com

Tyler J. Klassen/The Elkhart Truth

September is National Mushroom Month, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.

You might not find them popping up from the earth all year long or even much in September after a dry spell, but can you still enjoy sautéing, stuffing or snacking on mushrooms all month.

Sometimes, mushrooms get a bad rap since they are, in fact, part of a fungus. Mushrooms thrive in damp, dark and cool temperatures, Better Homes and Gardens reports, and can sometimes be found outside growing on decayed plant material. 

 

The truth is, mushrooms can be really delicious when cooked correctly, contain a lot of potassium and are a lot of fun to hunt, so long as you’re not harvesting any varieties that are toxic. 

Mushroom hunting for personal use is allowed on Indiana state park grounds with no license necessary, according to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. Hunting for commercial use, however, is not allowed. Some other restrictions can apply and you should always check with park officials or the department to be sure before hunting. 

If you know what you’re looking for, some mushrooms are perfectly safe to eat. If you’re ever unsure, just toss it out. These three are popular in Indiana and safe for consumption, with a few guidelines. 

As April showers move through and days get a little longer, some folks in Michiana hit wooded areas with their eyes trained on the ground. Here’s how to make the most of it next year: 

  • Dress for the occasion, have the right tools and know the right places to look. You’ll know a morel when you see one with its three key features: pits and ridges, a hollow inside and a broad cap connected to the stem. 
  • You have a bag full of morels (if you’re lucky), now what? After you rinse and dry the mushrooms, you can fry them, sautee them or stick them in a soup
  • For some, the joy is in the journey. Finding the mushrooms is almost as enjoyable, if not more enjoyable than eating them. And even on a not-so-great day, you still get time in the woods to reflect and enjoy some peace and quiet. 

If you have a favorite spot to look for mushrooms or a favorite way to prepare them, we’d love to hear it! 

 
Follow digital producer Danielle Waldron on Twitter @DanielleWaldron
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