Summer is the season of growth and energy. For many of us, it’s also a season of being constantly on the go — navigating dropoff and pick-up for all the kids’ camps, hitting the road for a long weekend with friends and family vacations at the beach.
The days are longer, the world seems brighter and everything seems to move faster.
Amid all that fun in the sun, find time to slow down, center yourself and reconnect with what matters. These are our favorite ways to enjoy mushrooms and soak up a bit of nature’s wisdom all summer long!
1. Watch Fantastic Fungi in the Great Outdoors
What’s better than a movie night with friends and family? Movie night in the backyard or at a campsite! String up a white sheet between trees (follow these tips) and play Fantastic Fungi as soon as the sun sets. Toss a few blankets and pillows on the ground, snuggle up and make some memories. Bonus: Pop some popcorn and drizzle on olive oil and mushroom-infused salt.
2. Grill Up Your Favorite Mushroom Burgers
Next time you’re invited to a backyard BBQ, bring along some mushroom burgers. If you’re a meat eater, try blended burgers that mix finely chopped mushrooms into your usual burger base. Or take it one step further and go fully plant- (and fungi-) based with bean and mushroom burgers.
3. Forage for Summer Mushrooms
Whether strolling through a neighborhood park or hiking the trails, chances are good that you’ll spot some familiar fungi this summer. From oysters to chanterelles, there are plenty of delicious and edible mushrooms that pop up in summer. Follow these tips for sustainable foraging, and don’t forget that safety is the #1 rule.
4. Make Umami-Rich Mushroom Salts
When you find yourself with extra mushrooms either from the forest or the farmers market, turn them into umami-rich mushroom salts. Start by slicing them thinly and dehydrating on parchment-lined baking sheets in your oven on the lowest setting. Check the mushrooms every half-hour (it should take no more than 3 hours). Let cool, then pulse them in a clean spice grinder with coarse salt. Sprinkle on everything from mushroom burgers to popcorn, grilled veggies to tofu.
5. Practice Your Macro Photography Skills
Sure, eating mushrooms is a wonderful way to appreciate them. But so is simply observing them and letting them inspire you. Get out there in nature with your macro lenses and snap your best shots of your mushroom muses. This tactic is a win-win, as it allows more people to enjoy their beauty and helps you see the intricate details that can help you learn to identify more species.
6. Teach a Mushroom Cooking Class
Learning to cook new foods can be intimidating for plenty of people. If you have a mushroom-curious friend or two, invite them over for a casual cooking class featuring fungi. Show them the basics, like cleaning and sauteing mushrooms, then move onto more advanced dishes, like Louie’s favorite pasta (see below)!
7. Cook Louie’s Favorite Mushroom Pasta, Spaghettini al Louie
Recipe by Eugenia Bone, editor of the Fantastic Fungi Community Cookbook
This simple recipe is perfect for busy nights and when you have leftover stock. Eugenia made this recipe for Louie Schwartzberg, the director of Fantastic Fungi, as a way to use turkey stock after Thanksgiving, but you can make this dish with any kind of stock. The pasta is cooked in the stock, like risotto, yielding a flavorful and silky sauce.
- 1 pound fresh mixed mushrooms (like shiitake, maitake, white buttons, cremini, and boletes)
- 4 to 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- Hot pepper flakes to taste
- 6 cups stock
- 12 ounces spaghettini
- 6 to 8 tablespoons ricotta (optional)
- ½ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Wash the mushrooms and trim off any damaged or dirty parts. Chop them into little cubes, about the size of a shelled peanut. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and a pinch of salt. Cook, shaking the pan frequently, until the mushrooms sweat, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and hot pepper flakes to taste and continue cooking until the garlic is soft and the mushrooms start to brown, another 3 minutes or so. Adjust the seasoning.
Bring the stock to a boil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Season the stock to taste. Add the pasta. It will be stiff and stick out of the stock. Be patient; gently push down the pasta and, after about 5 minutes, it will soften and collapse into the stock. Stir often, as the pasta tends to stick together. Cook the pasta in the stock for about 12 minutes, until it is al dente and has absorbed almost all the stock; the stock that remains should have thickened to create a sauce. Add a little more stock or water if the sauce gets sticky. The pasta is best served moist with stock.
Pour the pasta into a serving plate and garnish with the mushrooms, ricotta cheese if you like, and parsley.
8. Keep Your Cool with Chill Mushroom Drops
We can’t get enough of these Drops in summer. With Reishi, Shiitake, Holy Basil and Vervain, Chill is formulated to be a moment of Zen in a bottle, to support tranquility, relaxation and adrenal wellness.* They can’t do anything about the heat waves that keep happening due to climate change, but they can help you keep your cool about it all. $24.99 for 30 servings
9. Shade Your Eyes with the Fantastic Fungi Trucker Hat
Soak up the sun — but do it safely! Shade your eyes and face with our iconic cap in khaki. With an orange embroidered logo, it features an unstructured crown, fully curved visor and an open back snap closure. $27.95
10. Wear a Fantastic Fungi Reishi Cropped T-Shirt
Keep things breezy while showing the world what matters to you. Made with a cropped hem, straight silhouette and relaxed fit, this modern classic pairs perfectly with anything from high-rise jeans and cut-offs to skirts. Printed with water-based inks in a factory powered by renewable energy, so you can share your love for mushrooms – and nature – one intentional purchase at a time. $28 each