This glorious cluster of mushrooms are Oysters. A ‘safe’ edible for people not allergic to fungi. Of my top 10…this is my number 2 favorite of the wilds.
These are often refered to as Winter Mushrooms as they are found even in snowfall (there WAS snow on the ground the day I photographed these) but they can also be found in the heat of summer as long as there’s been good rainfall.
Best way to ID this species is the gill structure. These mushrooms are found growing on dead/dying hardwoods like Oak…usually a pale cream on top and underneath. Sometimes can be found in grays/violets/pinks/browns and even blue….all depending on location and time of season. Oysters will ALWAYS have a white spore print. The gills are what stand out for me…as you can see in this photo the gills aren’t all perfectly straight……often there is veining and cross-hatching. This is not ALWAYS true but when you find a pure white mushroom with a semi-stem that is thick and robust growing on mentioned host……with white spore……..it’s VERY likely an Oyster or member of it’s family.
Favorite ways to eat? Slivered and sauteed in olive oiled VERY lightly…then added to a homemade alfredo sauce and linguine. I usually add chicken to this meal as well as onions and tomatoes. Yum yum!
They can also be dipped in milk, then flour with salt and parmesean cheese and lightly fried. Gawd that is good stuff too………but so quickly disappears when made this way.
Although I collect mine in the wild, these are now available in food markets/stores world-wide.
Remember…every mushroom can be eaten but not all are safely edible. If in doubt…THROW IT OUT! I only harvest what I know for sure without ANY doubt. Although I do not know of mushrooms in my area that can be mistaken for Oysters when following all clues…I’m sure there are somewhere that are too similiar and maybe not safe.
Found in December in Kansas, USA