10 Edible Mushrooms in Maine and How To Identify Them

Finding something edible to eat outside might be fun and exciting to do. For instance, foraging mushrooms or doing identification for edible mushrooms in Maine will give you a new experience for sure.

So, if you plan to forage mushrooms in Maine, you can minimize your mistake for wrongly picking the fungi and take them home safely.

Edible Mushrooms in Maine

First thing to know is, remember the characteristics such as color, texture and the whole picture like we want to share them to you. Keeping it in your mind will help you to focus on finding the edible one there.

1. Hedgehog Mushroom (Hydnum repandum)

If you love Chanterelle then you may be like this mushroom too. Hedgehog mushroom has thick, whitish flesh with stained orange, and you can smell a fruity aroma while picking it up. The aroma is similar to Chanterelle, so it will be familiar for you while consuming it first.

edible mushrooms in maine
Hedgehog Mushroom (Hydnum Repandum)

You can forage Hedgehog mushrooms in midsummer until late fall. So, it is pretty good to spend your summer holiday by seeking mushrooms for signature delicacy in the warm month.

Outdoors, you can find hardwoods, such as Birch since hedgehog mushrooms can be found easily on that tree. Then, you can enjoy this sweet tooth mushroom by cooking it inside your soup.

2. Lobster mushroom (Hypomyces lactifluorum)

Although there is no lobster related to this fungus, you can see that the lobster mushroom shares the same color as the lobster, hence the name. Lobster mushroom or Hypomyces lactifluorum has a mild taste. If you like something strong, you can enhance its preparation before cooking it to your favorite meals.

edible mushrooms in maine
Lobster Mushroom (Hypomyces Lactifluorum)

Actually, lobster mushrooms are a mix between Lactarius and Russula because those two mushrooms are incapable of producing spores. The crust then distributes its own spore as Lobster mushroom. Although this fungi doesn’t come from its own spore, lobster mushroom is edible and safe for you to be consumed.

3. Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus)

This kind of mushroom is pretty well-known across the world. The aroma is like almond when it is fresh. Oyster mushrooms often grow on hardwoods such as sugar maple and beech. You can find it easily in fall to mid December, although this mushroom can be harvested year round because you can find them easily in supermarkets as well, because they can grow in high numbers on a tree.

edible mushrooms in maine
Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus Ostreatus)

The aroma of this mushroom is not that strong, the texture itself is easy to chew once it is cooked.

You may stir-fry this mushroom or deep fry it using batter or flour. The crunchy outside and chewy inside will give you a different sensation to enjoying an oyster mushroom by yourself.

4. Yellow morel (Morchella Esculenta)

In Maine, you can start to find yellow morels in spring to early summer. Although it is pretty uncommon in Maine to find morel mushrooms, yellow morels can be found not that difficult here. The cap of yellow morel is pretty unique because it is tiny yet the texture is like brainy.

So, some people may be hesitant to pick it up due to its appearance. But, if nothing’s wrong with the appearance, you can hunt for yellow morels in late May, in order to get a high number during foraging on the trees.

edible mushrooms in maine
Yellow Morel (Morchella Esculenta)

Also, you have to make sure there is no pesticide if you find it on an orchard tree, because most trees of orchards are sprayed with pesticide to prevent the fungi and other pests. Consuming the mushroom that has been sprayed with pesticides may harm your health.

So, you better find the old or abandoned tree to feel safer while hunting this one.

5. Black trumpet (Craterellus foetidus)

Just like its name, Black trumpet or craterellus foetidus has gray, brown, or even black flesh with a thin texture, the gray one is a bit thicker. Finding black trumpet is actually not that difficult if you know their favorite place to grow.

For instance, you can find them on moss, beeches, mixed woods and areas below the dams, such as on the swamps or ponds, and shady spots.

Black Trumpet (Craterellus Foetidus)
Black Trumpet (Craterellus Foetidus)

The key to finding this fungi is, you have to look carefully at the ground. Since most places where black trumpets grow is underneath the hummocks or moss where you often find it on the ground. Once you can find black trumpet, then you can revisit the place next time.

You can do it because black trumpet will grow in the same place for years.

6. Chanterelle (Craterellus lateritius)

In America, Chanterelle is one of the well-known edible mushrooms. Chanterelle is the same species as Black Trumpet and both of them are safe for you to be consumed. Chanterelle’s favorite spot to grow is not much different from Black Trumpet since they are the same species.

You can find chanterelle on trees or bushes and sometimes around mosses as well. If there is no tree around your environment, then there is no chance for this fungi to appear.

Chanterelle (Craterellus Lateritius)
Chanterelle (Craterellus Lateritius)

During summer, you can start to find the mushrooms by exploring eastern white pine or other trees, such as hemlock, balsam fir or oak. Never forget to look at birch, spruce or maple as well, because Chanterelles grow well in upland or lowlands.

Therefore, your chance to find this mushroom is pretty high too. If you wonder about the taste of Chanterelle, you can taste a bit fruity and similar to apricot or peach but without its sweetness.

7. Chicken of the woods (Laetiporus sulphureus)

Summer to fall might be a good idea to forage mushrooms, such as Chicken of the woods or Laetiporus sulphureus. This fungus has yellowish white flesh. It is not difficult to find this one since it is noticeable even from a long distance due to its size and colors.

Finding them out on dead or old hardwoods will give you a short time to collect them.

edible mushrooms in maine
Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus Sulphureus)

Chicken of the woods are fast growing fungus, so once you know the spot where they grow, you can harvest it and it is enough for you and your family for a meal. You can bake it, deep fried, sautee, or put it in the soup.

The taste of course is like when you eat chicken, as well as the texture, with lemony hints. So, it is time to call the vegans to consume this if you miss chewing grilled chicken.

8.Puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum)

When you see puffball mushrooms for the first time, you will remember the marshmallow! Especially the common one since the size is small, short and bumpy but there is thick stalk on it, so you will think it is chewy and sweet.

There are three edible varieties of this species yet the common puffball or lycoperdon perlatum has the size that makes it easier for you to turn it into food.

edible mushrooms in maine
Puffball (Lycoperdon Perlatum)

This wild mushroom can be found on mixed woodland and usually the mushroom grows individually but still in groups. So, once you find it out, you can meet this mushroom again nearby.

The taste is mild and a bit spongy, and make sure you proceed with the mushroom while the flesh is still white.

 9. Wood ear (Auricularia auricula-judae)

Actually, the appearance of wood ear mushrooms is not that similar to ear, but people tend to name it as wood ear mushroom. The texture is smooth, gel-like or more like rubbery texture, similar to Witches’ butter (but less jelly to look at).

The color is red-brown that is often found on a tree branch.

Wood Ear (Auricularia Auricula-judae)
Wood Ear (Auricularia Auricula-judae)

This is one of wild edible mushrooms that is already popular in Asia. It is very good for cooking soup or stir-frying. Through its iconic and irregular shape, you will face no difficulty to find this one outside, including for beginning foragers.

10. Witch’s Butter (Tremella mesenterica)

The name and the taste is not related but this mushroom is still edible and worth trying. The actual taste for this mushroom is tingle on your tongue, it is like menthol. The texture is like jelly, and if you already saw wood ear mushrooms, then you might think that they come from one species.

Witch's Butter (Tremella Mesenterica)
Witch’s Butter (Tremella Mesenterica)

The color of this witch’s butter is yellow, and you can find it easily on wood or fruits from dead wood. If you go outside on hardwood forests, you can see this fungus that excites you since the color is bright and fresh.


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FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

What mushrooms are native to Maine?

Lobster mushroom and common puffballs are native mushrooms to Maine. Those wild mushrooms can be found in northern Maine. Cooking them for food will create a signature delicacy from your kitchen.

How can you tell if a mushroom is edible in Maine?

The stem is usually tough and thick. The texture is soft and the flesh is white (mostly). If you are not sure about the mushrooms you find outside, you can capture it and find it first before taking it home.

Are wild mushrooms in Maine poisonous?

Yes, some wild mushrooms in Maine are poisonous. For instance, you can find Destroying angel, Pigskin puffball, jack-o-lantern and many more. Although there is no cause of death due to consuming those poisonous wild mushrooms, you still have to be careful about them.

Is foraging legal in Maine?

Yes, you can forage legally in Maine unless you see the sign about the permission to enter or something similar to it. In Maine, even private property or something high-water on beaches are free to forage on. But still, you have to consider picking the mushrooms properly and not too much.

Where can I find forage mushrooms in Maine?

You can go to the forest where there are plenty of hardwoods and dead or old giant trees. Mushrooms love to grow in shady areas, humid or wet spots. Also, don’t forget to visit swamps or ponds one to find them. If you meet mosses, look down and check because mushrooms are often found nearby.

Do you need a license to pick fiddleheads in Maine?

Yes, you need permission to pick fiddleheads in Maine. The time to harvest them is around late spring to early summer. So, it is better to prepare for the permission letter first before you go hunting for fiddleheads.

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