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Hunt for mushrooms in the coastal rain-forest

There are many seasonal ingredients found and enjoyed on the Oregon coast, but fall is for mushroom foraging in our beautiful coastal rainforest.

Around Newport, head out after a good rain to find chanterelles, slippery jacks and king boletus (also known as porcini) mushrooms plentiful and ready to eat.

State parks and public forests are great places to take a scenic hike to hunt for fungi — but make sure to check if the area requires a permit for foraging. The great news: often, permits are free, and some areas don’t require permits at all. Either way, you can find restaurant-quality ingredients for little-to-no cost.

Once you’re in the wilderness, make sure not to wander too far off the trail while foraging. It’s easy to get turned around when you’re focused on the ground rather than your surroundings.

Another important safety tip: don’t pick something to take home if you can’t identify it. A mushroom book is a great resource to bring out with you while looking for fungi, but you’ll still need to put in some investigative work to make sure you’ve got the right item. Aside from looking at the basic shape of the mushroom, smelling the mushroom can be incredibly helpful, as some have particular smells. Checking the underside of the cap is also key: the mushroom may have gills, spines or pores — and even within those, they can be very different.

A good thing to know in our neck of the woods: chanterelles and false chanterelles are most easily distinguished by their gills: real chanterelles have vein-like, forked gills that are thinner than the deep, traditional gills of a false chanterelle. It’s important to know what you’re looking at, because false chanterelles are reported by some to be poisonous — though others say they’re simply too bitter to taste good in anything.

If you know where to go and what to look for, you can bring home a bounty of delicious mushrooms with a number of uses. So get out there and try your hand at a mushroom hunt — you’d be amazed what you can find, just across the highway from the beach