Matsutake Season

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LeafErikson

Lifer
Dec 7, 2021
1,991
17,214
Oregon
Southern Oregon has some of the finest mushroom hunting in the world and matsutake mushrooms this year have been particularly abundant. I foraged for a little over 16lbs of matsutakes in under 3 hours. The best part? It’s only 15 minutes from my house.

Matsutake mushrooms love the tan oak and madrone forests here in southern Oregon. They don’t come until after the first frosts and start popping at higher elevations in November, slowly moving down in elevation as the temperatures continue to drop moving into the winter. In Japanese, ‘matsu’ means pine and ‘take’ means mushrooms so they’re literally called the pine mushroom. Their distinct aroma of almost cinnamon and pine make them easy to identify when out foraging. Smaller, less mature matsutakes develop a veil underneath the gills to protect them until they reach maturity. Matsutakes with their veils in tact are considered more desirable and the higher grades can fetch a pretty penny in Japan. These smaller matsutakes are a bit more aromatic and have a more firm texture than their larger, more mature counterparts. Here are a two pictures of high grade matsutakes before cleaning them (I just hunt to eat and dry for myself not to sell) and some other ones after cleaning them up.
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I'm not a huge mushroom fan, but on our property in NC, we have several patches of ramps and some ginseng (or seng as the locals call it) that we will forage when we are there.
We get people that ask to forage for mushrooms on our property, and I have to turn them around every time. It's not to protect the mushrooms, but I don't want someone finding the ramps or seng patches. Plus... we have to keep the revenuers out of our backyard, ha ha.

Nice score. Pictures always make me want to try them again. The taste doesn't. puffy
 

LeafErikson

Lifer
Dec 7, 2021
1,991
17,214
Oregon
Thanks for posting- I’ve always thought mushroom hunting would be fun but I think I’d need someone to teach me what’s what.
Without proper supervision I’d probably poison myself first time out. :)
These ones are perfect for a first timer because the smell is so distinct. If you’re unsure at all you’ll be able to tell instantly whether or not it’s a matsutake with your nose.
 
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