Delectable treats spring up with autumn rains

Posted: Tuesday, September 24, 2002

The autumn rains offer a plethora of delectable mushrooms on the Kenai Peninsula. The Kenai Watershed Forum has had great response to their mushroom hunting and identification classes this fall. While many varieties such as the Shaggy Mane are edible, they are best harvested prior to the splendor of the specie photographed.

Description: The shaggy mane or lawyer's wig is so large and distinctive that with a little practice you can identify it from a moving car.

The cap of a fresh specimen is a long, white cylinder with shaggy, upturned, brownish scales. The gills are whitish, and the entire mushroom is fragile and crumbles easily. Most important, as the shaggy mane matures, the cap and gills gradually dissolve into a black, inky fluid, leaving only the standing stalk. Size 4" to 6" tall, sometimes larger.

When and Where: Spring, summer and fall, growing in grass, soil or wood chips. Often seen scattered in lawns and pastures.

Cooking Hints: Saute butter and season with nutmeg or garlic. Good in scrambled eggs or chicken dishes. Shaggy manes are delicate and should be picked young and eaten the same day.

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