There is so much to love about spring: The longer and sunnier days, the sight of green new life popping up all around — and the return of mushroom foraging! Of course, no matter what time of year you head into the forest or the fields in search of mushrooms and botanicals, you should follow a few simple rules. Sustainability and safety come first, whether you’re a new or a veteran forager.
Read on to find out our top five reasons to love mushroom foraging in spring!
1. Watching the invisible become visible.
In summer and fall, the forests seem to be filled with fungi. But in the early days of spring, it feels like winning the lottery when you catch a glimpse of a fresh crop of fruiting bodies.
Spring is the season for morels, oysters and wine caps in much of the United States. All three make for tasty dishes and eager foraging trips. (Reminder: Always consult an expert before eating anything you’ve foraged in the “wild.” Mushrooms can have many lookalikes that range from harmless to fatal.) Pick up a copy of Fantastic Fungi Community Cookbook to find new ways to enjoy mushrooms.
Tip: Can’t find the time to get outside? Rewatch your favorite scene(s) from Fantastic Fungi.
2. Reuniting with old friends.
While nothing stays the same in nature, she does give us cycles and patterns that return year after year. When we slow down enough to notice nature’s intelligence, we find connections all around us.
After a long, cold and dark winter, there’s no feeling better than spotting an old friend — especially a mushroom.
Tip: If you’re an experienced forager, bring along a friend who’s new to mushrooms (one who promises not to spill the beans on your secret mushroom hunting spots!). You’ll get to watch them discover the magic and mystery of mushrooms!
3. And meeting new ones.
Challenge yourself to identify new species in your area — or join a hiking or foraging group to deepen your knowledge while getting to know like-minded people. Remember to look before you touch and always be 100% certain when foraging with the intention of consuming mushrooms and plants.
Tip: Use an app like Seek by iNaturalist to learn which mushrooms, plants and animals are native to your region.
4. Finding joy in the little things.
A lone lady slipper orchid in the forest. A pair of fawns frolicking in a creek. An unexpectedly sunny afternoon in March. Savoring the little things — think of them as joy snacks — can go a long way in helping us find meaning and happiness in life. Keep that in mind on your next outdoor excursion.
Tip: Our new Mushroom Drops prove that good things can come in small packages. These bottles are packed with the power of mushrooms and botanicals, formulated with intention and integrity. From Gratitude and Mindful to Energy and Beauty, there’s a formula for the support you crave today!*
5. And being grateful for the journey.
Who among us hasn’t had a foraging expedition that ends in disappointment? But instead of dwelling on being empty-handed, what if we flipped the narrative and found gratitude for the journey? Time spent in nature is never wasted, after all. Fresh air, sunshine and movement are gifts enough.
Tip: Our Forager Box is a guaranteed way to bring home nature’s intelligence — and integrate the magic and mystery of mushrooms into your daily rituals and routines.
A spring recipe to try at home
Whether you come home with a foraging haul or source yours from the farmers market, this recipe is the perfect way to enjoy seasonal mushrooms.
Spaghettini al Louie
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.