Thursday, July 10, 2014

Black Trumpets

We were hiking through the woods with Michael and Teri Leigh Baird when Michael pointed to the scattered black spots, looking like holes in the dark moist forest floor.  These were the famous black trumpet mushrooms, Craterellus cornucopioides.  They are notorious for being hard to see, even if you are looking for them.  Once we learned to focus on them we found trumpets in clusters scattered all around on the damp dark soil.

Find the trumpets - Click to enlarge
Black trumpets may start life as light brown, turning black with time. They are said to be associated with oaks but there is some debate over whether they are mycorrhizal (associated with tree roots) or purely saprophytic, breaking down and recycling dead vegetation in the soil.  Either way they are usually found on moist shaded soil in the forest, sometimes associated with moss.

They are highly sought after as an edible mushroom.  Maxine Stone in our edible mushroom bible,  Missouri's Wild Mushrooms*, gives them her highest **** "choice" rating.  They can be preserved by drying which we resorted to after finding five pounds of them.  She has recipes for using them in soups and egg dishes.

MDC Nature Field Guide
More on Black Trumpets from Michael Kuo.
*Great information and recipes.   Missouri's Wild Mushrooms

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