Fun fact: there are about 10,000 mushroom-producing fungi species in the world, but fewer than 30 of them are edible. That certainly explains why most grocery stores and even farmers’ markets typically carry just a handful of common mushroom varieties. However, chefs around the world celebrate mushrooms for their diversity and rich, unique flavor profiles (not to mention their many health benefits
!). Wondering what you might be missing with all this fuss around mushrooms?
Enter wild mushroom foraging. If you want to experience firsthand just what the mushroom hype is all about, you have to head outside and learn for yourself. Whether you’re a first-time forager, you’re looking for new ways to spend time in The Great Outdoors
, or you simply want to take your family on a non-traditional vacation
, mushroom foraging is something everyone should try.
What is Mushroom Foraging?
Mushroom foraging, or mushroom hunting, is the art of finding edible mushrooms in the wild. With so many types of mushrooms but so few edible varieties, foraging for them isn’t quite as straightforward as it may sound. You have to know where and when to look and most importantly, you have to know exactly what you’re looking for, as many mushrooms are highly toxic if eaten.
Thankfully, there are many excellent resources out there on wild mushroom foraging. The Cleveland Clinic has an excellent guide on mushroom poisoning
, and Field & Stream offers valuable information on safe mushroom varieties
to look for.
Top Locations for Mushroom Foraging
No matter which part of the country you’re hoping to visit, there are excellent areas for wild mushroom foraging.
Located on the Pine River in northern Michigan’s scenic Manistee National Forest
, CoolWater is the perfect basecamp for wild mushroom foraging. There are both rustic and full hookup sites, as well as showers, laundry facilities, and a playground. The Pine River itself is a designated Blue Ribbon Trout Stream and offers incredible onsite fishing and canoeing opportunities.
More information: CoolWater on the Pine River
St. Louis West/Historic Route 66 KOA Holiday
Missouri, St. Louis in particular, is a prime mushroom foraging area, which makes this KOA site an ideal jumping-off point. Enjoy loads of amenities including a seasonal outdoor pool, Wi-Fi, cable TV, bike rentals, basketball courts, and Kamp K-9 dog park. There are plenty of family-friendly activities
also, including panning for gems and minerals, a huge jumping pillow, barrel train rides, outdoor movies, and more. When you want to venture out, Six Flags
and the St. Louis Gateway Arch
are both within a 30-minute drive of this RV park.
More information: St. Louis West / Historic Route 66 KOA Holiday
Shamrock Village RV Park
Thanks to the moist terrain and frequent rainfall, Oregon’s Willamette Valley is prime mushroom foraging grounds. Eugene is the perfect city to base yourself out of, with easy access to the best growing environments and hot attractions such as wineries, hiking and biking trails, breweries, and shopping. Shamrock Village offers full hookup sites, shower houses with restrooms and laundry, Wi-Fi, a recreation lounge, and a small dog park. There are also a few water- and electric-only sites located directly on the riverfront.
More information: Shamrock Village RV Park
Quick Meals to Cook With Your Mushrooms
Wild mushrooms come in an extensive range of flavors and textures, which is what makes them so appealing to foodies and chefs. Their diversity makes wild mushrooms ideal for just about any type of cooking, and the best part is that many of the best recipes are simple and quick to prepare.
Here are some fast and delicious cooking ideas to compliment your mushroom foraging.
- Sauté wild mushrooms in butter, garlic, and a few fresh herbs. To Table has a detailed guide on which mushroom varieties pair best with which herbs and how long each you should sauté each.
- Add sautéd mushrooms to burgers, pizza, steak, eggs, or salad.
- Add mushrooms to fresh vegetables or rice as a side dish.
- Make a simple but hearty mushroom soup.
With so many options, you won’t want to miss out on a delicious feast after a long day of handpicking your own ingredients!
Enjoy the Thrill of Mushroom Foraging With Cruise America
So, are you ready to try your luck at wild mushroom foraging? One great way to enhance the experience is renting an RV from Cruise America
. Not only are there 130 Cruise America rental locations
across North America, but the different RV options
have lots of modern amenities and creature comforts. That includes plenty of space for everyone, as well as kitchens with sinks, refrigerators, and gas cooktops for cooking with your freshly-foraged mushrooms! Happy hunting!