Kalispell Mushrooms 2023
A totally unexpected find in my area of Kalispell Montana has to do with mushrooms. Please note that I am not a professional forager, so feel free to take my input with a grain of salt. That being said, here are my experiences so far with wild mushrooms in northwest Montana.
First, in our first Spring at our property, we found these interesting looking mushrooms growing at the edge of our driveway. I remember my husband spotting them, and asking, “What is that?” So when I came home, I checked the photo online and they looked a lot like morel mushrooms. I then posted a picture on a local Facebook page and I was bombarded with excited people telling me those were definitely morel mushrooms, and they were quite desirable and delicious.
So after doing a little additional research, I decided to try them. I sliced them up, and cooked them in butter and carefully tasted them. Yup, they were indeed delicious and they were definitely morel mushrooms. The following Spring we found none, but the next two years provided a few. We definitely keep our eyes out for them now!
And here’s another story about morel mushrooms in my area. An 87 year old man went mushroom picking with a friend in a nearby forest. He got separated from his friend and after he did not return to his car, he was listed as missing and Search & Rescue teams went looking for him. Four days later he was found wandering around a forest service road in Canada. And guess what? He still had his bucket of morel mushrooms. He obviously wasn’t going to let go of that!
So my first mushroom find was exciting and one of the first things I do every Spring is keep an eye out for them.
And then this year, in Autumn, conditions must have been ripe for it, because all of a sudden we were seeing all sorts of mushrooms sprouting up that we don’t remember seeing before. These were growing IN the driveway. So again, I took a photo, did some online research and reached out to some local folks. This time, I found this was a mushroom called Shaggy Mane which is also quite edible and delicious.
These have been popping up all over and we’ve already had two delicious side-dishes. Of course, if you find these, it’s important to note they need to be picked when still relatively small and fresh. Why? Because as they get bigger, they start to turn to ink. Yeah, you don’t want to eat them like that. Apparently they get very bitter.
Oh, and deer seem to love these. I waited too long to try them the first time and when I went to get some, they were all eaten. All that was left were little stubs in the ground.The next time I saw them, I hurried back to take them before they were gobbled up. I’m fighting with the deer for the scrumptious mushrooms!
Also, I found these two additional mushrooms but did not eat them. I couldn’t find a good description of what they were and while I’m willing to try something that seems to be safe, I’m not crazy.
So, not only is northwest Montana full of fantastic lakes, mountains, streams, rivers, activities, restaurants, sports, coffee shops, and everything else, we have mushrooms too!
For more foodie tips (or if you can identify the bottom two photos), reach out to me! I’d love to chat.