Finding The Untamed Mushroom


In May Ingebretsen’s hosted talks about urban foraging; now we are getting more dark and damp – specifically we are talking about mushrooms and mushroom foraging.

People who are experts on mushrooms and who study them are sometimes referred to as Mycologists. Mycology is

“the branch of biology concerned with the study of fungi, including their genetic and biochemical properties, their taxonomy and their use to humans as a source for tinder, medicine, food, and entheogens, as well as their dangers, such as toxicity or infection.”

Sometimes they are referred to as “the mushroom people.”

A written guide to foraging in the Midwest

On July 19, 2018 we are hosting a free event at Norway House where you can meet some mushroom people – specifically two of the writers and the photographer for the newly released book, Untamed Mushrooms: From Field To Table, a primer on stalking wild mushrooms in the woods and fields of Minnesota. The event runs from 6 to 8:30 (program & tasting begins at 6:30 pm)

Their talk will cover the 13 most easily identified edible mushrooms you can strategically discover, with essential tips for what to look for to significantly up your chances of enjoying a wild harvest.

In addition, there will be a display of some of the amazing photographs that are in the book as well as an interpretive walk through the gallery exhibit will highlight the process of documentary and recipe photography.

These “mushroom people” were recently featured on KARE 11:

Recipe and photo courtesy of the Untamed Mushrooms team (Untamed Mushrooms: From Field to Table, 2018 from the Minnesota Historical Society Press)

Of course we love mushrooms on our plates – in all sorts of different stages from raw on salads to cooked and part of soups, hot dishes and other yummy dishes. The book contains over one hundred unique kitchen-tested recipes. Here is one for Pickled Hens of the Woods.

I admit, I had no idea there was so much information out there about mushrooms or so many different mushrooms. So just how many mushrooms are there? Well according to Mushroom The Journal:

There are about 10,000 described species known from North America, but everyone agrees that there are undiscovered species. Depending on who you believe, the known species are a third to a fifth of what’s really out there. … if you went up to a state with good forests, like Wisconsin, Minnesota, or Michigan, that number probably goes to 5000.

Foraging socks for the well-dressed forager

There are also a lot of people, and I mean A LOT of people, who love mushrooms. They love to photograph them, forage for them, pick them, , study them, collect them, cook them, and write about them. In Minnesota there is a Minnesota Mycological Society. They have group forays, monthly meetings, and even offer the only Mushroom Certification Class that, according to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, you must complete in order to be able to sell mushrooms to food establishments. This October they are heading to Oregon for the annual North American Mycological Association foray.

Red Amanita muscaria mushrooms

You can learn a lot about mushrooms at the event and by reading the book Untamed Mushrooms but here is a bit of mushroom trivia:

  • Amanita muscaria — commonly known as fly agaric, or fly amanita is also known as deadly death cap because if eaten it will kill. According to Mushroom Appreciation:

Amatoxins are some of the most lethal poisons found in nature. These toxins work by slowly shutting down the liver and kidneys. Often the victim will appear sick at first, and then seem to get better. Unfortunately the amatoxins are still at work, and death may occur anywhere from a few days to a week after ingestion.

They are pretty and make for great hats and artwork but don’t eat them – even with lefse
  • Many mushrooms grow towards light, following the sun just like plants but scientists do not know how mushrooms use sunlight; only that they do.
  • The spores of mushrooms are made of chitin, the hardest naturally-made substance on Earth. There are scientists that think mushroom spores are capable of space travel and some even believe that some fungi found on Earth originally came from outer space!
  • Some mushroom spores can sit dormant for decades or even a century, and still grow!
  • Originally published in 1910, written and illustrated by Elsa Beskow

    Mushrooms are useful not only as food and medicine; some are also being used in bioremediation, to absorb and digest dangerous substances like oil, pesticides and industrial waste, in places where they threaten the environment.

Mother Nature Network recently wrote an article on how mushrooms can save the world. It includes a TED talk by Paul Stamets on six ways mushrooms can save the world:


For information about mushrooms in Sweden, click here.

For information about mushrooms in Norway, click here.

For information about mushrooms in Finland, click here.

Finding information about mushrooms in Denmark seemed to dwell on psychedelic mushrooms and mushrooms that killed tourists. But here is a bid of information on mushrooms being used in Denmark to fight cancer:

Golden Chanterelles

Event Information:

Presenters will be photographer, Dennis Becker, ( Cook, Food Stylist/Writer, Lisa Golden Schroeder, (, and Michael Karns, Wild Food/Foraging entrepenuer (

FREE at Norway House

Thursday, July 19 2018

6 to 8:30 (program & tasting begins at 6:30 pm)

About the book:  Step into nature, whether in a park, forest, prairie, or lakeland, and you are surrounded by edible wild foods–if you know where to look. Old traditions of foraging have seen a passionate resurgence of interest among midwestern chefs and home cooks intrigued by the vitality of foods growing just footsteps–or a healthy hike–from their doors. But many hesitate over collecting wild mushrooms: How do you know which ones are okay to eat? And once you do, how should you prepare them? Untamed Mushrooms opens up the field, explaining how to seek, find, and cook wild mushrooms. Gorgeous full-color photographs and expert guidance unspool the vagaries of locating mushrooms in the wild and safely harvesting them for your table. Featuring thirteen delicious mushrooms celebrated in over one hundred unique kitchen-tested recipes, this book is a guide to truly spectacular seasonal eating. Once you’ve arrived home with your woodland bounty, try Grilled Lake Trout with a Mess of Morels, Roasted Corn Soup with Mushroom Duxelles, Prairie Wheat Berry Salad with Roasted Mushrooms and Chioggia Beets, Pork Tenderloin with Black Trumpet Sorghum and Ground Cherry Salsa, Game Hens with Creamy Maitake Pasta, or Porcini-Dusted Chicken with Wild Mushroom Farrotto. Accept this official invitation to begin your own mushroom stalking adventures that will lead to some seriously delicious eating.