What to Forage in November

As temperatures stop to drop there are still plenty things to forage in Oregon. Here is a list of our favorite things to forage in November:

Spruce Tips

Conifer needles remain throughout the winter months and can be easily identified. Most conifers are edible with only a few toxic varieties. Pine, Spruce, Fir and Redwood are all both medicinal and edible. Douglas fir is the easiest to identify and most widespread in Oregon. The light green tips of the branches are the new growth called spruce tips. These spruce tips are softer and contain the most vitamin C and are the part of the tree that you want to harvest. Conifer needless are great for teas, tinctures and desserts.

Rose Hips

All roses produce hips or berry-like fruit that can be harvested from fall through winter. They contain more vitamin C than any citrus fruit! They can be eaten fresh, dried, made into teas, infusions, tinctures, syrups and dessert. To get a good idea of the flavor start by making a cup of rose hip tea. Fully ripe hips can be easily plucked from the bush.

The seeds inside are covered in tiny hairs like splinters so you want to make sure to clean them before eating them. If you are eating them fresh you can cut the tip off and squeeze the fruit out through the hole and the seeds and hairs won’t come with the fruit. If you are cooking with them, you want to cut them in half and remove the seeds that way.

Candy Cap Mushrooms

Candy cap mushrooms are some of the only sweet mushrooms. There are three different mushrooms all commonly referred to as Candy Cap Mushrooms. They are; Lactarius camphoratus, Lactarius fragilis and Lactarius rubidus. Lactarius camphoratus tastes more like curry than Lactarius fragilis or Lactarius rubidus and is very mild in comparison. Lactarius fragilis is lighter in color and has strong maple syrup smell even when fresh but becomes stronger when dried. Lactarius rubidus smells like maple syrup too but only when dried, not fresh, this may cause confusion during identification.

Lactarius rubidus when cooking smells strongly of brown sugar and maple syrup. If you’re having trouble identifying in the woods you can burn them with a lighter and they will smell strongly of brown sugar and maple syrup. They are small to medium sized mushrooms with hollow stems and slightly bumpy caps when you run your finger over the top of the cap. When identifying mushrooms always cross reference across multiple sources and never eat anything that you’re not sure of.

Golden Chanterelles

Golden Chanterelles or Cantharellus cibarius are easy to identify, very hearty and probably the most well known edible mushroom. They can range from almost white to deep yellow or orange in color. They have a convex or vase shaped cap with ridges that run down onto the stem. The stem is completely solid and paler in color at the base. When you tear them in two they look and feel like string cheese.

When cooking with chanterelles you want to dry sauté them first so that the have hearty texture and aren’t too chewy. They can can be pickled, dried or added into almost any savory recipe. When identifying mushrooms always cross reference across multiple sources and never eat anything that you’re not sure of.

Winter Chanterelles

Winter Chanterelles, Yellow Feet or Craterellus tubaeformis are small mushrooms that taste similar to Chanterelles. Their caps can range from brown to yellow in color with yellow stems. The more mature they are, the darker their caps become. They have hollow stems and wavy caps. They are small and fragile. They can be used similarly to Golden Chanterelles. When identifying mushrooms always cross reference across multiple sources and never eat anything that you’re not sure of.

Saffron Milk caps

Saffron Milk Caps, Delicious Milk Caps or Lactarius deliciosus are bright orange, crunchy mushrooms. They bruise green and when cut they drip latex. They have true gills and hollow stems. They have orange caps with blue and green patches and faint rings of darker color. They are only found in pine forests. They are common in a lot of Spanish dishes and go well with seafood. When identifying mushrooms always cross reference across multiple sources and never eat anything that you’re not sure of.

Purple Amythest Mushrooms

Purple Amythest Mushrooms, Amythest Deceivers or Laccaria amethystina are small to medium sized bright purple mushrooms. Thye have deep purple or lilac gills when young and fade to pale brown or tan when mature. Thier stems are fibrous, usually twisted and sometimes hollow. They keep their color when cooked and are described as tasty mildly nutty. When identifying mushrooms always cross reference across multiple sources and never eat anything that you’re not sure of.

Black Trumpets

Black Trumpet mushrooms or Craterellus cornucopioides can be very hard to find but regarded as some of the most prized edible mushrooms. They’re shaped like a funnel and can dark brown, gray, or black in color. The edges of the cap are rolled outwards and wavy. They’re thought to be both saprotrophic (feeding on dead organic matter) and mycorrhizal (creating symbiotic relationships with the roots of plants). Their precise ecological role is not yet fully understood. They have a smoky, rich flavor and a pleasant, fruity aroma. There are no poisonous look-alikes, making this a great mushroom for beginners to identify but as always cross reference multiple sources.

Lichen

Old man’s beard or Usnea is a Lichen that can be foraged all winter long. Lichen is a combination of a fungus and an algae that grow together and is used medicinally. Usnea can be made into tinctures, extracts and teas. Usnic acid, one of the active compounds in Usnea, may help promote wound healing and fight infection.

Dandelion Root

Dandelions are commonly used for their flowers, but the roots can be roasted and made into coffee, tea or added to hot chocolate. East to identify and extremely widespread you can forage the roots all winter long.

Hedgehog Mushrooms

Hedgehog mushrooms, sweet tooth mushrooms or Hydnum repandum have teeth on the underside of their cap rather than gills; it looks like a hedgehog back. These mushrooms are hearty, dense and can be found in old growth forests from November to December. When identifying mushrooms always cross reference across multiple sources and never eat anything that you’re not sure of.

Acorns

Acorns are a traditional food or indigenous people all over North America and are abundant in Oregon. They need to be processed before eating to leach out the tannins. There are lots of ways to do this; the most common way is to grind them into meal and soak in water for 3-7 days straining and replacing the water every day. once all the bitterness is gone, it’s ready to use. Use it as flour but remember that there is no gluten in acorns so it might change the consistency if used alone.


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