Table of Contents
- 1. Chanterelle mushrooms (Cantharellus)
- 2. Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus)
- 3. Deer mushroom (Pluteus cervinus)
- 4. Lion’s mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus)
- 5. Sparassis mushrooms
- 6. Morel fungi (Morchella)
- 7. Black Trumpet (Craterellus cornucopioides)
- 8. Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus)
- 9. Fairy ring mushroom (Marasmius oreades)
- 10. Giant Puffballs (Calvatia gigantea)
- FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Mushroom is a wild plant that you can find on the tree while you are outdoors. Most people tend to taste the mushroom since various mushrooms are edible and safe to eat. Yet, do you know what kind of edible mushrooms in Alabama that can be eaten and give a flavorful taste to your meals?
Let’s check out the edible and tasty mushrooms in Alabama below. We are pretty sure you will feel excited to find one, bring them home and cook them for your family.
1. Chanterelle mushrooms (Cantharellus)
Finding chanterelle mushrooms in Alabama and other places in the US is not difficult since this kind of mushroom is the most common one. People often use it for food. The shape is like a trumpet with yellow to deep range color. Usually, chanterelle grows on the damp forest floor directly to the ground because chanterelle loves something moist under the shade light and an area with a lot of organic matter. Summer forest will be the potential place for you to find this mushroom easily too!
Identifying chanterelle is pretty easy because you can see the size of this mushroom is generally around 5 inches for its diameter. The texture is waxy, symmetrical caps and convex. You may get this one during late summer or early fall, this is the ideal time for you to pick them up for cooking soup, sauce, or stew. Make sure you clean them up thoroughly before processing them in the kitchen.
2. Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus)
Large size of mushroom with its whitish gills grows on wood is an oyster mushroom. You can find them in order to cook them usually between October and early April. Oyster mushroom has a brown cap and this variety has similar species that are still closely related, such as pleurotus pulmonarius and pleurotus populinus (it is found on the wood of quaking aspen while oyster mushroom cannot be found there).
When people wonder why pleurotus ostreatus was called oyster it is because the smell will remind you of oyster, while the taste is pretty mild. Oyster mushrooms have a cap with diameter 3 – 15 cm, the shape is flat, kidney or fan shaped. While they are still young, the texture is greasy and the stem is hairy to velvety yet tough, and the color is pale to dark brown.
3. Deer mushroom (Pluteus cervinus)
Deer mushroom is not related to any deer actually. This mushroom grows alone, scattered during spring through fall and you can find it easily in easter North America. The cap of deer mushroom is around 4.5 – 10 cm, it is usually flat, dry when mature and a bit sticky when wet. The appearance is shiny, bald and the color is dark to pale brown, sometimes it goes to olive or gray too.
This mushroom has a gill that is free from the stem with pink or deep flesh while it is ready to pick by you. The flesh has a soft texture and it doesn’t change while you slice it. If you smell it, the odor is not too disturbing and you may remember the smell with radish while the taste goes the same.
4. Lion’s mane mushroom (Hericium erinaceus)
This adorable lion’s mane mushroom is the rarest one. This fungi grows deep in the thickest swamps. If you want to find one, you can see them hanging in the hardwood trees. The size is usually as large as volleyball, so it is pretty big to be consumed. Lion’s mane usually grows 10 to 30 feet on the ground, but sometimes you can see them on the trunk especially when the area gets flooded.
The appearance of this fungus is like a wizard’s beard, hence the name. This wild mushroom is rare and difficult to find, therefore, some people often assume that they can find Lion’s Mane mushroom, but mostly they are not. So, if you walk outdoors, and assume you find it easily, you have to identify it first before bringing it home.
5. Sparassis mushrooms
Spring and summer are the ideal times to crop this fungus. The white flesh, thick texture and usually it can grow up to 12 inches in diameter. This mushroom can be found on the ground or on trees. This edible mushroom has mild flavor and has a chewy texture.
Therefore, you can cook them for soup, stir-fries, stew, and many more. Moreover, you have to make sure before proceeding with the mushroom because the edible one is flesh with white color.
Tip: Never pick damaged mushrooms or the fungus that is already eaten by insects.
6. Morel fungi (Morchella)
This fungus is common and can be found in Alabama, but it is hard to cultivate. This mushroom has cone-shaped heads that are covered with a shape that looks like a honeycomb or some people said it looks like a human brain. Their common color is yellow or black, although sometimes they come in gray too. Usually, Morchella will grow from 2 – 8 inches and you can start to crop them in early March.
If you want to crop them, you can go to wooded areas since it is a good place for morels to grow. This fungus loves humid conditions while the soil temperature is around 55°F, therefore, you can go north in Alabama to find this morel.
7. Black Trumpet (Craterellus cornucopioides)
Although the color is dark, the flavor of black trumpet is slightly sweet. So, it fits best for cooking them as the sauce, soup or saute. Hardwood forest like oak and beech will be their favorite spot to grow, including streams, damp and dark areas. During summer and fall, you can find this fungus easily until early winter. So, they have a pretty long time to grow and you can freely find the right time to pick them up.
Craterellus cornucopioides generally grows in clusters, so it might be tricky to find them. The cap is black, dark brown, or gray with trumpet shaped of course. There are no gills, pores or teeth on this fungus. The texture of its cap is smooth and you can feel slightly wrinkled when touching it.
8. Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus)
Hunting for chicken of the woods will be fun during spring to summer since the temperature is the greatest one for them to grow beautifully. Find them on adult oak trees or any dead or adult hardwood tree, then you can pick them up easily.
This fungus doesn’t have gills and the color is orange to salmon pink on top and for the underside the color is bright yellow. The key to easily finding them is you need to find the host tree first, then you can go to see them and bring them home quickly.
To proceed with them as a meal, you have to use the young caps only since it is the soft part to cook. The flavor is rich and meaty, guess this can be the best option for a vegan!
9. Fairy ring mushroom (Marasmius oreades)
This fungus loves warm climates. That’s why you can find them easily during summer and fall. Fairy ring mushrooms are happy to grow in lawns, fields or any grassy spots. The size is not that big because they can grow in a ring. Generally, the size is around 1 – 5 cm only. The stem of this fungus is the toughest one, and it becomes the easiest way to identify whether the mushroom is edible or not to consume. You can see the cap looks like a nipple, and the color of this fungus is pale tan or white and the texture is dry and bald.
The taste of fairy ring mushroom is not that strong, so you have to add seasoning for cook them to let the flavor appear strongly. You can remove the stem and leave the cap intact to consume. Then, rinse using cold water to make sure they are clean and let them dry before cooking it.
10. Giant Puffballs (Calvatia gigantea)
Deciduous forests, fields and many more are the favorite place for giant puffballs to grow. Modest area will make this mushroom easy to grow especially during late summer until early fall. So, it will be lovely for you to have a delicious meal during fall by cooking this edible mushroom.
If you want to find them, you can see that this mushroom usually grows around 10 – 50 cm or the biggest one can reach 1.5 meters! The color inside giant puffballs is greenish one when they are mature, but you have to only pick the young one since the young one is edible.
You can identify it by seeing the flesh inside while the color is white. Never pink the mature one since it is already dangerous to consume. So, to ensure whether they are edible or not, you may cut them to see the flesh first before bringing them back home. The young mushroom has a solid white color inside, there is no silhouette of cap or gills.
Tip to consume: Giant puffball doesn’t need to be washed since it will soak up water. You may clean up the dirty part only with running water and store them in the refrigerator to keep their quality steady.
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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Do mushrooms grow in Alabama?
Yes, mushrooms grow in Alabama. You can find edible mushrooms in the forest, lawns, or even dunes. Also, you can find mushrooms all year-round outdoors.
How do I know if the mushrooms in my yard are poisonous?
Usually, mushrooms with white gills are poisonous. You have to check the mushrooms first whether there is a volva or not, because you can see the volva underground first and if there is a volva, it is better to leave those mushrooms. Also, mushrooms with a red color are usually poisonous.
Where do mushrooms grow in Alabama?
The forest, damp areas, streams, old trees outdoors and many more. For instance, you can find morel mushrooms on mountain ridge tops in Alabama. Also, you have to know the ideal time to crop it.
What mushrooms are edible in Alabama?
The most common ones are chanterelle and morel. There are various edible fungus in Alabama that you can find easily during summer and fall. Above, there are 10 edible mushrooms you can find in Alabama.
Is foraging legal in Alabama?
If you are foraging in Alabama where the area has its landowner or occupier, then it is illegal for you to forage the plants including mushrooms in Alabama. If the area is free for you to crop the plants, then you are safe to forage mushrooms there.
What mushrooms are in season in Alabama fall?
Black trumpet, fairy ring mushroom, chicken of the woods and many more can be easily found during fall in Alabama. Most edible mushrooms can be picked during fall since they are ready from summer. So, you can cook fall meals delicacy with these edible fungus.
Can you find morel mushrooms in Alabama?
Yes, you can find morel mushrooms in Alabama. This mushroom is common and easy to find. Cropping them in March is potential with size around 2 – 8 inches.