Mushroom hunting is a popular activity for anyone who enjoys the characteristic taste. Mushrooms grow under specific climactic conditions–the temperature, soil content and amount of light they receive must be just right. The Mississippi State Forest is home to several species of wild mushrooms including the elusive morel mushroom, a favorite amongst chefs and mushroom connoisseurs. If you plan to visit the Mississippi Forest to pick large quantities of mushrooms for sale or personal use, make sure you have the appropriate permit.
Morel mushrooms are one of the most sought-after forest mushrooms–mushroom lovers hunt them in the spring because of their distinct flavor. Black and yellow morels are commonly marketed, and can be found anywhere where there are trees. The Mississippi Forest is one of many state parks where morels can be found. Morels are best hunted after a rainfall, when the temperatures exceed 70 degrees. The smaller black morel is a more common find than the larger yellow or golden morel mushroom.
Chanterelle mushrooms are one of the most commonly sold wild mushrooms on the market. These mushrooms are less likely to crumble when cooked which makes them an ideal ingredient for stir-fry dishes, or other dishes where the mushrooms are tossed. Chanterelle mushrooms only grow in the wild, and can be found throughout North America. Efforts to cultivate chanterelle mushrooms indoors have been less than successful.They grow in sandy soil, or decaying wood and are sought after because of their slight spicy taste.
Hedgehog mushrooms are a relatively new species of mushroom that can be found in the Mississippi Forest, and throughout North America. These mushrooms grow in coniferous forests and woodlands and are typically found in groups. The hedgehog mushroom is picked in the fall and has a thick cap with undergrowth that earn its name as the Hedgehog mushroom. Hedgehog mushrooms can be enjoyed in a variety of dishes–they are best picked when young for the optimal flavor.
Smaller caps tend to be a dark golden color, while the larger or more mature caps become light gold. When bruised, its stalky stem turns blue, a tell-tale sign you may have stumbled across this psychedelic mushroom. Ingesting these mushrooms as a food source, or otherwise, not advised.
References and ResourcesMidwest Weekends: Hunting Morel Mushrooms
Wild Harvest: Chanterelle Mushrooms
FPL: Chapter 11 - Mushrooms
Forestry Services: Mushroom Picking